Applying for a New CDL in Alaska
Have you always loved hitting the open road? Do you like sitting at the helm of a giant, powerful vehicle? Driving big rig trucks, tankers, and other commercial vehicles might be the job for you.
To do it, you're going to need an Alaska commercial driver's license (CDL), which you can only get by following both the national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the state licensing process in Alaska overseen by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the AK Division of Motor Vehicles now mandates new CDL applicants complete an entry-level driver training course through an authorized provider. You’ll need to complete this training prior to applying for your first commercial driver’s license, upgrading your existing CDL class, or applying for a HAZMAT, school bus, or passenger endorsement.
AK CDL Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for an Alaska commercial driver's license, you'll need to:
- Be an AK resident.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Drivers under 21 years old will only be permitted to operate commercial vehicles within Alaska—called intrastate driving.
- Have had a driver's license for at least 1 year.
You will also need to provide proof of your Social Security number (SSN). To do so, you can bring any of the following to the AK DMV:
- You Social Security card.
- Only non-laminated cards will be accepted.
- Any documents that include your name and SSN that were issued by:
- The Social Security Administration.
- The U.S. Department of Treasury.
- The Internal Revenue Service.
AK Commercial Learner's Permits
Before you can get your CDL, you'll have to get your Alaska commercial learner's permit (CLP).
It is also recommended to take a CDL education course before starting your application. It's not required by either the FMCSA or AK Division of Motor Vehicles, but it's a way to help ensure you're as successful as possible on your CDL mission.
- Bring your driver's license and proof of SSN (see above).
- Have any required medical paperwork with you.
- Complete an Application for Alaska Driver License, Permit or Identification Card (Form 478).
- Take and pass the vision test.
- Pay the $15 CLP fee.
When you've accomplished all the above, the DMV will issue your official commercial learner's permit. Congratulations!
CLP Restrictions in Alaska
Just like the permit you got to drive a regular car or truck, a commercial learner's permit comes with its own set of rules.
While using your CLP, you'll only be allowed to drive on public roads, and only with a full CDL holder licensed to drive the same class of vehicle you're in, per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules.
Your commercial learner's permit will be valid for 180 days, but you'll have to wait at least 14 days after you get it to take the skills test that will earn you your full commercial driver's license.
If you still don't feel ready when your permit expires, you'll be able to resubmit your forms to renew it for another 180 days, but you will only be able to renew your CLP once.
Getting an AK Commercial Driver License
After at least 14 days have passed and you feel ready, it's time to take the skills test: the last step toward earning your commercial driver's license.
The process varies based on whether you're near a populated town or you live in a rural area.
Standard CDL Applications
If you live in or near one of Alaska's cities or suburban areas, schedule an appointment with your local Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles office, and don't forget to bring with you:
- Your commercial learner's permit or written test scores.
- The $25 testing fee.
- Proof of your Social Security number. (See above for examples.)
- 2 documents proving your identification. Examples include:
- Your birth certificate.
- Your U.S. passport.
- A military identification card.
- Check out the full list of examples put together by the AK DMV.
You'll also have to arrange to take the test in the same class of vehicle that you want to drive with your commercial driver's license. If you don't, you'll receive a restriction on your license.
Make sure the vehicle you take to your skills test has:
- 2 license plates.
- Vehicle registration.
- Proof of insurance.
The skills test you need to take consists of several parts, including:
- A pre-trip vehicle inspection.
- A basic controls test.
- An on-road driving test.
When you've completed all of the above, you'll have to pay the licensing fee ($120 for a standard CDL, and $120 for a REAL ID-compliant CDL) to the Division of Motor Vehicles, and then it's time to celebrate, because you'll be an official CDL holder!
Applying in Rural Communities
If you live in an area considered a “ rural community" by the Alaska DMV, you'll be able to apply for your CDL a bit differently. The license you qualify for is called the “Off-Highway Commercial Driver License."
The Division of Motor Vehicles will accept your application by mail, so initially*, you'll only need to go as far as the post office. What you'll need to prepare for them is:
- Your Commercial Driver Medical & Self Certifying Verification (Form 413).
- For more information on medical requirements, see below.
- A Application for Driver License, Permit or Identification Card (Form 478). To complete the document, you'll also need to:
- Take a vision test.
- Provide copies of certain information to prove your SSN and where you live. Examples will be listed on the form.
- Pass a written exam administered by your local proctor.
- The applicable fee.
Mail the above to the Alaska DMV at:
State of Alaska
Division of Motor Vehicles
3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503
* NOTE: You will still have to visit an Alaska DMV office to take your skills test.
CDL Fees in Alaska
The Alaska DMV currently charges the following for CDLs and related services:
- Commercial learner's permit: $15.
- CLP renewal: $5.
- CDL road test: $25.
- Commercial driver's license: $100.
- CDL renewal: $100.
CDL Medical Requirements
Before you can apply for your CLP, you'll have to be deemed physically fit for the job of commercial vehicle driver.
The AK DMV determines this by requiring all applicants to submit a Commercial Driver Medical & Self Certifying Verification (Form 413).
Check out the DMV's certification guide to help answer any questions you may have about filling out the form.
Depending on which answers you give in your self-certification form, you may also need to submit a Medical Examiner's Certificate. The FAQ page compiled by the Division of Motor Vehicles will help you figure out if you need this extra paperwork.
Military CDL Test Waivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles have come up with a program to help some veterans and current service members more easily get a CDL by waiving the skills test.
To qualify, you'll need to:
- Be at least 21 years old with a valid driver's license and EITHER:
- An active service member.
- Have been discharged by the military within 1 year of applying.
- An active service member.
- Have a current, valid non-commercial driver's license.
- Have at least 2 years of military commercial driving experience.
- Have a good driving record for at least 2 years immediately prior to application.
To apply, you and your commanding officer will need to complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form 416).
NOTE: If you receive the waiver, you will still need to pass all written exams and pay all applicable fees.
Replacement Alaska CDL
If you need a replacement CDL, your application options will depend on whether you're in or out of state. If you are:
- In state: Apply online or in person at your local DMV office.
- Out of state: Apply for a temporary CDL by fax, mail, or online.
- Follow the instructions below for "Out-of-State Temporary CDL."
Remember, it's illegal to operate your commercial truck without your CDL. For identification protection purposes, consider reporting your lost commercial license to your local law enforcement agency.
Conveniently, the Alaska DMV allows you to request a replacement CDL using their online request for duplicate system as long as:
- You're at least 18 years old.
- You are NOT requesting a name change.
- Your CDL wasn't revoked, cancelled, or suspended.
- You went in person to your local DMV office, IF you've previously requested a duplicate CDL.
If you meet the criteria above and use the online system, the AK DMV will e-mail you a temporary CDL to print and carry until your duplicate license arrives by mail, usually about 2 weeks following your online request.
If you don't meet the criteria for using the DMV's online system, you'll need to go in person to your nearest Alaska DMV office to request a replacement CDL by:
- A completed Application for Alaska Driver License, Permit, or Identification Card (Form 478).
- Primary and secondary documents to prove your identity.
- The $15 duplicate license fee.
- Passing a vision test.
- Taking a new picture for your CDL.
Out-of-State Temporary CDL
If you're an Alaskan resident who's out-of-state when your commercial driver's license goes missing, you can request temporary credentials by fax, mail, or online to use until you're back in Alaska. Temporary CDLs are valid for 180 days and CANNOT be extended beyond 30 days of the license's expiration.
To request a temporary commercial driver's license using the Alaska DMV's online temporary license request system, your:
- License must NOT have been cancelled, revoked, or suspended.
- Most recently issued commercial driver's license must have been an Alaskan CDL.
- AK DMV records must match your information with the Social Security Administration.
To apply for a temporary AK CDL:
- By fax to: (907) 465-5509.
- By mail to:
- State of Alaska
- Division of Motor Vehicles
- 3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 101
- Anchorage, AK 99503
Once you're back in Alaska, you can request an official CDL replacement by following the steps for "In-State Replacement" above.