Renewing Your CDL in California
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Your California commercial driver's license (CDL) must be renewed. Changes in state and federal law have forced changes in the process, especially for those who hold a hazardous materials endorsement.
How to Renew Your CDL
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send you a renewal notice specifying which renewal options are open. The options are renewing by mail or by appearing in person at a local DMV office. CDL holders with a HAZMAT endorsement must renew in person.
For a Class A, B, or C commercial licenses, the renewal fee is $45. There are additional fees to add an endorsement or remove a restriction, as well as further testing.
Applicants—both new and renewing—are required to provide proofs of:
- Citizenship, lawful permanent residency, or legal presence. AND
- California residency.
Check with the state's commercial licensing requirements page for a list of acceptable citizenship and residency documents.
Renewing a Hazmat Endorsement
A major change to the CDL requirements is that if you currently hold a hazmat endorsement, you must undergo a background check conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The USA Patriot Act requires this to better control hazardous materials, for public safety.
Schedule an appointment with a TSA agent to initiate the process. Do this online.
To get information on how to get hazmat endorsements to begin with, be sure to read our Applying for a New CDL page.
The DMV requires all CDL holders to submit a medical certification every 2 years, so if it's been that long for you, you'll have to make an appointment a physician registered with the FMCSA. The doctor will have to fill out a Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876) and a Medical Examination Report (Form MCSA-5875)
Your employer must pay for the exam if you need a CDL to do your job; and if you're getting the exam after you already have the job.
If You Carry Passengers
If you drive a school bus, pupil activity bus, youth bus, general public paratransit carrier, or farm labor vehicle, your Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876). must be signed by either a medical doctor, chiropractor, licensed physician’s assistant, or a registered advanced practice nurse.
New Federal Requirements
You must self-certify your type of vehicle operation with the California DMV. This means you must self-certify one of the following driving categories:
- Non-Excepted Interstate.
- Excepted Interstate (Not issued in CA).
- Non-Excepted Intrastate.
- Excepted Intrastate (Not issued in CA).
Medical Examination Report
You must submit this medical form when applying for a CDL OR other special vehicle classes (e.g. school buses or farm vehicles) in CA.
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