Applying for a New CDL in Mississippi
If you've ever seen a large commercial vehicle on the highway and thought to yourself, “I want to drive something like that," know that in order to do it, you'll first need to get your commercial driver's license (CDL).
The process is a bit more involved than getting a regular license, since commercial vehicles are typically much larger and more difficult to operate than average cars and trucks. Nationally, CDL matters are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and in Mississippi, the licensing process is overseen by the MS Department of Public Safety (DPS).
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the MS Department of Public Safety 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 MS CDL?
To get your commercial driver's license in Mississippi, you must already have a valid, non-CDL driver's license. Per FMCSA regulations, applicants under 21 years old will be restricted to driving commercial vehicles within MS only.
If you already have a CDL from another state and wish to transfer it to Mississippi, you will need to schedule an appointment with your local DPS office and:
- Bring the following documents:
- Your current, out-of-state commercial driver's license.
- Your Social Security card.
- Proof of Mississippi residency. Examples include:
- Lease agreements/mortgage papers.
- Car registration or titles.
- Utility bills.
- Pay the $29 CDL fee.
- Pay any endorsement fees and/or additional license fees, if applicable.
If you have an out-of-state HAZMAT endorsement and want to transfer that to MS, you will have to retake your written exam and submit fingerprints for a federal background check.
NOTE: Transfer CDLs must be requested within 30 days of establishing residency in Mississippi.
Mississippi Commercial Learner's Permits
Before you can get your MS commercial driver's license, you'll have to get your Mississippi commercial learner's permit (CLP).
While it's not required by either the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, it is recommended to first partake in a CDL training course, to help you prepare for all of the exams you will need to take.
When you're ready, schedule an appointment with your local DPS office and be prepared to:
- Bring all relevant medical paperwork.
- Pay the $16 CLP fee.
- Complete the appropriate application for the type of CDL you want.
- Take a vision test.
- Take all written exams, including any written tests needed for endorsements.
- Submit to a driving record check.
Additional paperwork proving your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent status may also be necessary. Contact your local Department of Public Safety office for more details.
After successfully passing all tests and paying all fees, you will be issued your MS CLP.
MS CLP Restrictions
Your commercial learner's permit will be valid for 6 months. The Mississippi DPS will allow you to renew your CLP 1 time over the course of 2 years.
You will be required to hold your CLP for a specific period of time before you're able to take your skills test to obtain your full commercial driver license. While federal laws mandate a holding period of at least 14 days, this could be different for you. Check with your local Department of Public Safety office to confirm what the holding period is in Mississippi.
In the meantime, the FMCSA requires all commercial learner's permit holders to drive on public roads only, and only while accompanied by a full CDL holder.
Obtaining a MS Commercial Driver License
Once you've had your CLP for the required period of time and you feel comfortable enough driving with it, you will have to take your CDL skills test to get your full commercial driver's license.
Skills tests can be taken either at the DPS office or through a third party. Either way, you will be tested on:
- Pre-trip inspections.
- Basic vehicle control.
- On-road driving.
Your test must be scheduled at least 2 days in advance. If you fail to appear for your exam, you will need to wait 2 weeks before you can reschedule. Your test will also be cancelled if you're more than 15 minutes late.
Arrange to take your CDL skills test in the same type of vehicle you intend to drive with your MS commercial driver's license. If you cannot, you may receive a restriction on your license.
You will also need a CDL holder with the same class of license or higher to accompany you to the skills test.
Make sure to bring:
- Your Mississippi commercial learner's permit.
- The application you filled out when applying for your permit.
- A valid medical card.
- Payment for the $55 CDL fee.
Once passing all tests and paying all fees, the MS Department of Public Safety will issue your commercial driver's license.
NOTE: MS CDLs are valid for 5 years. Once it has expired, you will need to renew it. See our guide on renewing CDLs for help on how to do so.
CDL Fees in Mississippi
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety currently charges the following for CDLs and services related to commercial driver's licenses:
- Commercial learner's permit: $16.
- CDL application fee: $29.
- Commercial driver's license: $55.
- Endorsements: $5 each.
Mississippi Military CDL Waivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has developed a program to help current or recently discharged service members attain a CDL by having their skills test waived.
In order to qualify, you must apply within a specific window of leaving a military position where you were responsible for operating the same class of commercial vehicle you're applying to drive with your CDL.
You must also have no serious traffic violations in your driving history.
For more information on how to qualify and additional details on how to apply, check out our guide to the military skills test waiver for CDL applicants, then contact your local DPS office to understand how this program applies in Mississippi.
MS CDL Medical Requirements
All CDL holders are federally required to undergo medical examinations before they can receive their commercial driver license.
You will have to find a nationally registered physician to see you and help you complete a Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876). You must receive this paperwork before you apply for a commercial learner's permit.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety allows CDL applicants to submit their Medical Examiner's Certificates either:
- In person.
You will also have to go through a process called self-certification, where you declare the type of driving you intend to do with your commercial driver's license to the DPS.
For more information on CDL medical requirements, see the FMCSA's question and answer page on the subject.
CDL Classifications in MS
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established several different classifications of commercial driver license, each of which giving the holder permission to drive different types of vehicles.
Current CDL classifications include:
- Class A CDL—Allows you to drive a combination of vehicles that weigh over a certain amount, such as a tractor-trailer.
- Class B CDL—Permits you to drive a single vehicle that weighs over a certain amount, like a box truck.
- Class C CDL—Applies to all other types of commercial vehicle over a certain weight not covered by either Class A or Class B CDLs.
The type of CDL you're applying for may dictate the types of written or skills exams you have to take and how much you must pay for your commercial driver's license.
For more details, see our general guide to CDL classifications.
CDL Endorsements & Restrictions
An endorsement is an additional certification you can add to your CDL that will allow you to drive a greater number of vehicles. You can obtain an endorsement by taking additional tests and paying extra fees.
Some endorsements you may be able to receive from the MS DPS will allow you to drive:
- HAZMAT vehicles.
- Double or triple trailers.
- School buses or other passenger vehicles.
- Tank vehicles.
You could also have a restriction placed on your commercial driver license, which would limit the number of vehicles you're permitted to drive. You might receive a restriction if you:
- Couldn't drive the proper vehicle at your skills test.
- Can't operate a manual transmission.
- Can't operate an air brake system.
You can typically have a restriction released from your CDL by taking additional tests or paying extra fees.
Check out our guide to endorsements and restrictions for more information.