Applying for a New CDL in Louisiana
If you want to drive a semi-truck, school bus, or other large vehicle for a living, you'll have to get your commercial driver's license (CDL). The process looks a bit different than getting a regular driver's license, since operating commercial vehicles is typically more difficult than driving average cars and trucks.
CDL regulations are created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and in Louisiana, the rules are enforced by the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV).
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the LA Office 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.
Who Can Get a Louisiana CDL?
FMCSA regulations stipulate that any commercial driver license applicant must already have a valid non-CDL driver's license.
Anyone under 21 years old will be restricted to driving commercial vehicles within the state where his or her commercial driver's license was issued (called interstate commerce).
If you have a CDL from another state and wish to transfer it to Louisiana, you will need to visit your local Louisiana OMV office and:
- Bring your current CDL.
- Bring all of the medical and ID requirements for a LA CDL (see below).
- Provide proof of insurance for any vehicles you've already registered in Louisiana.
- Submit to a vision exam.
- Pay the required fee for your LA commercial driver's license.
If you have a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement and wish to transfer that, as well, you will also have to re-take the proper written exam at the OMV.
LA Commercial Learner's Permits
Before you can apply for a CDL in Louisiana, you'll have to get your commercial learner's permit (CLP).
Additionally, while not required, it is recommended to first look into taking a CDL training course to help with all of the exams you will have to take and pass.
Once you feel ready to apply for your Louisiana CLP, schedule an appointment with your local OMV office.
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles requires you to bring to this appointment:
- Your driver's license.
- The proper medical forms.
- Your Social Security card or a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating your Social Security number (SSN).
- Proof of insurance on any personal vehicles you own in Louisiana.
- Proof of Louisiana residency. Examples include:
- Voter registration card.
- Tax receipts.
- Lease agreement.
- For more examples, visit the OMV's acceptable proofs of residency.
- The $15 license fee – cash only.
You will also have to submit to a driving record check, where your record for the past 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be under review.
Finally, you need to take and pass all of the written exams for the type of commercial driver license you're applying for. Once you do, you'll be issued your commercial learner's permit.
LA CLP Considerations
Your Louisiana commercial learner's permit will be valid for 60 days. However, you'll be permitted to apply for your full commercial driver's license after having your CLP for 14 days.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations restrict learner's permit holders to driving on public roads only, and only when accompanied by someone with their CDL.
Obtain a LA Commercial Driver's License
To get your full CDL in Louisiana, you'll have to take the second part of the process, the skills test, through a third-party examiner.
Third-party skills tests cost $100 if you bring your own vehicle. If you need to rent a vehicle, that will be an additional cost at the discretion of the provider. For more information, see the list of Louisiana Third-Party Examiners.
After successfully passing the test, you will be issued a Certificate of Successful Completion in a sealed envelope. Keep the envelope sealed. Tampering with it could result in the invalidation of your test.
Bring the results back to your LA OMV office and pay the $61.50 CDL fee.* The office will then issue your full commercial driver license.
*NOTE: The fee is $76.50 for Orleans parish residents.
LA CDLs for Military Members
The FMCSA has established a program that may allow you to bypass the skills test in Louisiana if:
- You're currently in the military and operate of a military vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle.
- You left the service less than 1 year ago where you operated a military vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle.
While qualifying applicants will have their skills tests waived, they will still be required to pass all written exams and pay all appropriate fees.
See our guide to the veterans CDL skills test waiver for more information.
Louisiana CDL Medical Exams
Other than passing the exams, you must be considered physically fit to receive your CDL. When you go to your local Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles location to apply for your commercial learner's permit, you will have to bring with you:
- A Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876), completed and signed by both you and your physician.
- A signed and completed Medical Examination Form (Form MCSA_5875).
You will also have to declare the type of driving you intend on doing with your CDL, in a process called self-certification. To do so, you'll also need to bring in a completed Supplemental Form for CDL Application (Form DPSMV 2211).
See the LA OMV's guide to self-certification for more details.
Commercial Driver License Classifications
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established several classes of commercial driver licenses, depending on the type of vehicles they allow you to drive, including:
- Class A CDLs—Allow you to drive multiple vehicles over a certain weight, such as a tractor-trailer.
- Class B CDLs—Let you drive a single vehicle over a certain weight, like a box truck.
- Class C CDLs—Covers all commercial vehicles not addressed by Class A or Class B CDLs.
You may want to research each type of classification more thoroughly before applying for your commercial driver's license, as you may need to take slightly different tests at the Office of Motor Vehicles for each license type. See our guide to CDL classifications for more information.
CDL Endorsements & Restrictions
An endorsement is an additional certification on your CDL that allows you to drive a greater amount of vehicles. To get an endorsement, you will have to take and pass additional tests at the OMV.
You can get multiple endorsements that will allow you to drive vehicles such as:
You can also have a restriction placed on your commercial driver's license, which would limit the number of vehicles you can drive. This often happens if you take your road skills test in a vehicle type other than that permitted for your particular CDL class, or you fail certain aspects of your medical exams.
Restrictions can typically be taken off of a commercial driver's license by passing additional tests or filling out certain paperwork.
See our guide to endorsements and restrictions for more information.
CDL Fees in Louisiana
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles currently charges the following fees for CDLs and related services:
- Commercial learner's permit application fee: $15.
- Third-party skills tests: $100.
- DOES NOT INCLUDE vehicle rental costs.
- Commercial driver's license fee: $61.50.
- Fee for Orleans parish residents: $76.50.
- Endorsements: $7.50 each.
- DPSMV 2211