Applying for a New CDL in Georgia
If you want to drive a semi-truck, school bus, or other type of commercial vehicle in Georgia, you'll first have to get your GA commercial driver's license (CDL). The process is a bit more complex than getting a regular driver's license, since commercial vehicles are larger and often more difficult to operate.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the regulations for getting and maintaining a CDL, and in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) oversees the issuance of commercial driver's licenses.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the GA Department of Driver Services 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.
Who Can Get a CDL In GA?
To apply for a Georgia commercial driver license, you must:
- Already have a valid, regular Class C Georgia driver's license.
- Be at least 18 years old.*
*NOTE: Drivers under 21 years old will only be allowed to drive intrastate—that is, within Georgia. See the Endorsements & Restrictions section below for more information.
Georgia Commercial Learner's Permits
Before you get your GA CDL, you'll have to get your Georgia commercial learner's permit (CLP). You might want to look into a CDL training course to help you prepare for the exams.
Make an appointment at your local Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Customer Service Center.
While there, you'll have to:
- Submit to a driving record.
- The past 10 years of your record will be checked in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
- Pass all written exams required for the type of CDL you want.
- Complete the CDL Application (available at your DDS office).
- Undergo a vision exam.
You'll also have to bring the appropriate paperwork and documents with you, including:
- Your medical certification (see below).
- Your Georgia driver's license.
- The $35 application fee.*
- The $10 CLP fee.**
- Proof of your:
- Social Security number.
- U.S. citizenship/lawful status in the United States.
- Call your local DDS office for examples of qualifying documents.
*NOTE: Application fees are waived for veterans and school bus drivers who bring a completed CDL Application Fee Exemption Certification For Public School Bus Drivers (Form DDS-1233).
**NOTE: If you do not pass the written exams, you will have to pay the CLP fee again if you schedule to retake the tests.
Transferring CDLs And HAZMAT Endorsements
If you're transferring your out-of-state commercial driver license, you'll need to bring it to your appointment to surrender it to the GA DDS.
If you plan on transferring your HAZMAT endorsement, or applying for a new one, you will also need to have a background check done by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and bring those results to your DDS appointment.
CLP Restrictions In GA
After you've successfully completed all of the above, you will be issued your Georgia commercial learner's permit.
The document is good for 12 months, but you will be allowed to apply for your full CDL after having your permit for 14 days.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration restricts any driving with your CLP to public roads, and you must be accompanied by a full commercial driver's license holder.
Getting a GA Commercial Driver's License
Once the required amount of time has passed and you feel comfortable driving with your CLP, you can apply for a CDL.
You'll have to schedule a skills/road test at one of the GA Customer Service Centers where that service is offered:
You can use the Online Appointment portal to schedule an appointment.
If you can't arrange to have the test taken in the same type of vehicle you plan on driving with your CDL, there may be a restriction added to your commercial driver's license.
You will need to bring with you:
- Your commercial learner's permit.
- Your valid Georgia driver's license.
- The $32 CDL fee.
- The $50 testing fee.
If you can not pass your skills exam on the first try, you will have to reschedule and pay another testing fee. You will also lose your testing fee if you don't appear at your scheduled appointment or fail to reschedule less than 1 business day in advance.
Georgia Military CDL Holders
Some Georgia veterans and military members may be eligible for a skills test waiver. To qualify, you must:
- Be active duty.
- Have been honorably discharged less than 1 year ago.
- Have at least 2 years' experience operating a commercial motor vehicle or equivalent vehicles in the military.
To apply, you and your commanding officer will have to fill out the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver (Form CDL-SK TST WVR).
Bring the form with you to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, along with:
- A valid military license, if applicable.
- An active military ID, if applicable.
- The rest of the paperwork necessary at a CLP appointment.
- See above for details.
*NOTE: Qualifying service members will still have to pass all written exams and pay the appropriate fees.
For more information, check out our guide to the military CDL skills test waiver.
GA CDL Self- Certification & Medical Requirements
To drive a commercial vehicle, you need to self-certify the type of driving you’ll be doing. This will determine whether you’re non-excepted—federally required to keep a current medical certificate on file with the DDS.
To certify, complete a Commercial Driver Self-Certification (Form DDS-1207) and submit it in person to any DDS office. You are ONLY required to self-certify once, unless you need to change your driving status.
If you’re a non-excepted driver, you must schedule an appointment with a certified medical examiner and complete your:
- Medical Examination Report Form (Form MCSA-5875).
- Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876). This must be filled out by the examiner.
Submit your medical documents:
- In person at your local DDS office.
- By faxing them to: (770) 918-6271.
- By using the DDS online portal.
- Mailing them to:
Department of Driver Services
P.O. Box 80447
Conyers, GA 30013
Georgia CDL Classifications
There are several different classes of commercial driver's licenses designated by the FMCSA, which regulate the type of vehicle the holder may drive.
CDL classifications include:
- Class A CDL—Allows you to drive multiple vehicles over a certain weight, like a tractor-trailer.
- Class B CDL—Used to drive a single vehicle over a certain weight.
- Class C CDL—Covers all other vehicles not regulated by Class A or Class B CDLs.
You will likely have to take different knowledge or skills exams depending on the type of CDL you apply for.
CDL Endorsements & Restrictions
An endorsement is an additional certification that will allow you to drive a greater amount of vehicles, such as:
You will have to take additional written tests and pay additional fees to get an endorsement on your commercial driver's license.
A restriction is placed on your license to limit the amount of vehicles you can drive. Some reasons you may receive one include if you:
- Take an exam in a different vehicle than your CDL class allows.
- Do not pass certain medical qualifications.
In Georgia, you will also have a restriction placed on your commercial driver's license if you are under 21 years old. It will prohibit you from operating a commercial vehicle outside of GA.
Once you reach that age, you may bring your CDL to the Georgia Department of Driver Services to have that restriction removed removed.
See our guide to endorsements and restrictions for more information.
Georgia Commercial Driver's License Fees
The GA DDS currently charges the following fees for CDLs and services related to commercial driver licenses:
- Commercial learner's permit:
- Application fee: $35.
- Permit fee: $10.
- Commercial driver's license:
- Road skills test fee: $50.
- License fee: $32.
- CDL endorsements: $5 each (if added after issuance).
- CDL-SK TST WVR