Applying for a New CDL in Kansas
Driving a commercial vehicle is a great way to make a living—but to do so, you will first have to earn your commercial driver's license (CDL). The process is a bit more complicated than getting a regular driver's license, since commercial vehicles are larger and typically more difficult to operate.
Nationally, CDL regulations are put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and in Kansas, the licensing process is overseen by the KS Department of Revenue (DOR).
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the KS Department of Revenue 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 Kansas CDL?
According to FMCSA regulations, to be eligible for a commercial driver's license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Already have or be eligible to obtain a regular Kansas driver's license.
If you are under 21 years old, you will only be allowed to drive commercial vehicles intrastate—that is, within Kansas.
You will also have to prove your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency. Typically, you can use documents like a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization to show this, but requirements vary by state.
Contact your local KS Department of Revenue office to ask which additional paperwork they'll want to see from you.
Commercial Learner's Permits In KS
Before you're allowed to get your commercial driver's license, you'll need to earn your commercial learner's permit (CLP). A CDL education course could be very helpful to take beforehand, but it's not required by either the Kansas DOR or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
When you feel ready to start the process, schedule an appointment with your local Department of Revenue office, and:
- Bring documents* that prove your:
- Social Security number.
- U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency (see above).
- Bring the appropriate medical documents.
- Take a vision test.
- Pass all written exams needed for your class of CDL.
- Submit to a driving record check.
- Pay the $13 commercial learner's permit fee.
- Includes photo and permit fees; see below for a specific breakdown.
*NOTE: The Kansas DOR requires you to bring in 1 document that includes your photo. You may also use a non-photo ID IF it includes BOTH:
- Your full name.
- Your birth date.
Contact the DOR office near you for specific examples of acceptable documents.
Kansas CLP Restrictions
Just like with a regular driving permit, having a commercial learner's permit restricts you from doing some things while on the road.
You'll need need to hold your CLP for a certain period of time before you can take the skills test to get your full commercial driver's license. Federally, that waiting period is 14 days, but this might be different for you in Kansas. Contact your local Department of Revenue office for more details on state-specific requirements for your KS commercial learner's permit.
The FMCSA also requires everyone with a CLP to operate commercial motor vehicles only when a full CDL holder is with them in the vehicle, and only on public roads.
How to Get a Kansas Commercial Driver's License
When you've had your CLP for the appropriate period of time (see above for details), you can take the skills test to earn your full commercial driver's license.
You'll have to schedule your skills test in advance with the KS DOR office near you. Keep in mind that the skills exams typically take up to 1 1/2 hours to complete.
The exams include a:
- Pre-trip inspection.
- Basic operating skills test.
- Basic driving skills test.
Make sure to bring:
- Your Kansas driver's license.
- Your commercial learner's permit.
- The $18 CDL fee, PLUS applicable testing and photo fees.
- See below for a breakdown of fees and your total cost.
- A $10 fee for each endorsement you want to add, if applicable.
You'll also have to arrange to take the test in the same type of vehicle you plan on driving with your CDL, or else you might get a restriction placed on your license.
After passing the exams and paying the fees, you'll be able to turn that CLP into your CDL.
Commercial Driver License Fees in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Revenue charges the following fees for your commercial driver's license and other aspects of the licensing process:
- Commercial learner's permit: $13.
- Consists of:
- $5 permit fee.
- $8 photo fee.
- Consists of:
- Commercial driver license: $41.
- Consists of the following:
- Photo fee: $8.
- Written exam fee: $15.
- Skills test fee: $15.
- License fee: $18.
- Consists of the following:
- Endorsements: $10 each.
- Written exam retest fee: $1.50.
- Skills exam retest fee: $10.
- Replacement CDL: $16.
Fees are subject to change, so you may want to double-check with your DOR office before making your appointment.
CDL Medical Requirements in KS
When applying for your CDL in Kansas, you'll need to get medically certified before you schedule your first appointment with the Department of Revenue.
Part of that process involves completing a Kansas Commercial Driver's License Holder—Medical Self Certification (Form CDL MedCert1). There are directions included with the form to help you fill it out, and the Kansas DOR has also created an FAQ page for additional questions.
You may also have to complete some federal medical forms. You can reference this FAQ page put together by the FMCSA for help.
Still, additional medical requirements vary by state, so make sure to ask your local DOR office before you come in to apply for your commercial learner's permit.
KS Military CDL Skills Test Waivers
If you have some experience driving a commercial military motor vehicle or Armed Forces equivalent, you may be able to spare yourself some time and money and have your CDL skills test waived.
The KS DOR offers this waiver to those with the proper experience who:
- Are current service members.
- Have been employed by the military in the past 12 months.
You'll have to fill out the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form CDL-SK TST WVR) and bring it with you along with all other required documents when you apply for your commercial learner's permit.
Check out our guide to the skills test waiver program for more information.
NOTE: Even if you qualify for the waiver, you will still have to take your written exams and pay all the proper fees.
What is a Kansas CDL?
Commercial Driver License Classifications
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created several classifications of commercial driver license, which will allow you to drive different types of vehicles. Those categories currently include:
- Class A CDL—Lets you drive multiple vehicles over a certain weight, like a tractor-trailer.
- Class B CDL—Allows you to drive a single vehicle over a certain weight, such as a box truck.
- Class C CDL—Permits you to drive any other type of vehicle over a certain weight not covered by Class A or Class B commercial driver's licenses.
For more information on why these categories exist and how they could affect your commercial driving career, check out our guide to CDL classifications.
Kansas CDL Endorsements & Restrictions
An endorsement is an extra certification you can get that will allow you to drive a greater number of vehicles—provided that they fall under your CDL classification.
You can earn an endorsement from the Kansas Department of Revenue by taking extra written or skills tests and paying additional fees. Endorsements allow you to drive vehicles such as:
To drive a HAZMAT vehicle in Kansas, you'll also have to undergo a security threat assessment, which includes:
- A criminal history check.
- An intelligence-related check.
You can also have a restriction placed on your CDL, which will limit the number of vehicles you can drive. You might receive a restriction if you:
- Can not operate a full air brake system.
- Take your CDL skills test in the wrong type of vehicle.
- Can not drive a manual transmission.
Typically, you can have restrictions removed from your commercial driver's license, if you take additional tests, fill out extra paperwork, and pay new fees.
See our guide to endorsements and restrictions for more information.