Applying for a New CDL in New Hampshire
If you'd like to drive a commercial vehicle in New Hampshire, you'll first need to apply for a commercial driver's license through the NH Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The state's processes largely abide with the CDL rules and regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Applying for a brand new CDL can seem overwhelming, but this guide is here to walk you through the entire process and get you behind the wheel of that big rig as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the NH Division 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.
Eligibility Requirements for CDLs in NH
If you want to apply for a New Hampshire commercial driver's license, you must:
- Be at least:
- 18 years old to drive intrastate (within New Hampshire only).
- 21 years old to drive interstate (crossing state lines) or with a HAZMAT endorsement.
- Have a NH Class D operator driver's license*.
* NOTE: If you're transferring your CDL from another state, you may also be required to present proof of identity and residency.
NH Commercial Learner's Permit
Once you've determined you're eligible to apply for a New Hampshire CDL, you can go to your local Division of Motor Vehicles office and get your commercial learner's permit (CLP).
At the DMV you'll be required to:
- A completed Commercial Driver License Application (Form DSMV 312).
- Your current driver's license.
- If you're transferring from out of state, proof of identity and residency may be required.
- Self-certification and medical paperwork (see below).
- Pass written CDL knowledge exam(s), specific to the classification and endorsements of your desired NH commercial driver's license.
- Taking a CDL education course is a great way to prepare for the DMV's written CDL tests.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pay your appropriate CDL fee, PLUS the $20 CLP fee.
Upon successful completion of the required vision and written tests, you'll receive your commercial learner's permit and an official form saying that you've passed all of the necessary written exams—do not lose this.
Congrats! You're about halfway to getting your New Hampshire CDL.
Before you begin to practice driving a commercial vehicle, it's important to know about the restrictions that come along with your commercial learner's permit.
You're required to hold your commercial learner's permit for at least 14 days before requesting to take your behind-the-wheel road exam. While holding a CLP, you're only allowed to practice driving on public roads if:
- The vehicle you're practicing in is of the same class as specified on your NH commercial learner's permit.
- You're accompanied by a supervisor who holds a CDL with the same classification and endorsements as your CLP.
Your CLP is valid for 180 days and can be renewed once within 1 year of receiving your initial commercial learner permit. During that time, you might consider enrolling in some behind-the-wheel CDL training to prepare for the DMV's road test.
Get Your NH Commercial Driver License
As long as you've had your New Hampshire CLP for at least 14 days, you can call the Division of Motor Vehicles at (603) 227-4000 to schedule your CDL road test appointment. You can only take the behind-the-wheel exam at select DMV locations, so make sure to plan ahead.
Before leaving the house for your road test appointment, make sure you have:
- A slip confirming your appointment time.
- The official form stating that you passed all of the necessary written CDL exams.
- Your NH driver's license and commercial learner's permit.
The DMV's road skills test will consist of the following:
- Pre-trip vehicle inspection.
- Identify and inspect the internal and external parts of your commercial vehicle.
- Off-road test.
- Perform low-speed maneuvers like reversing, parking, and navigating a cones course.
- On-road test.
- Test of your ability to drive safely in any situation you might encounter while on public roads (e.g. intersections, railroad crossings, highway driving).
If you don't pass the DMV road skills test on your first attempt, it's okay. You'll just need to go in person to any DMV location to schedule another behind-the-wheel CDL exam. You will also need to pay a retesting fee of $20.
Once you pass you'll be the proud new owner of a New Hampshire commercial driver's license!
CDL Fees in New Hampshire
The fees associated with applying for a New Hampshire CDL must be paid at the time of your commercial learner's permit application, and are as follows:
- Commercial learner's permit: $20.
- Commercial driver license:
- Class A—$60.
- Class B—$60.
- Class C—$60.
- Endorsements—$10 each.
The DMV accepts the following forms of payment:
- Credit card.
- Personal check or money order made payable to “State of NH - DMV".
CDL Self-Certification & Medical Card
All New Hampshire CDL applicants are required to provide the Division of Motor Vehicles with self-certification and a medical certificate. Both of these will be included on a statement of license status that you'll need to complete and give to the DMV when you apply for your CLP.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial drivers must self-certify before getting out on the road. Essentially, this means you have to specify how you're going to operate your commercial vehicle.
You'll need to indicate whether you're traveling interstate (across multiple states) or intrastate (only within New Hampshire). Then, you'll need to determine whether you're an excepted or non-excepted driver. Excepted drivers are usually those employed by a state or federal agency.
Take a look at the FMCSA's self-certification FAQ page for more information on how to discern which category you fall into.
CDL Medical Card
If you've determined that you're a non-excepted driver, then you'll need to include a copy of your medical card while filling out your statement of license status.
If for some reason you do not meet the minimum medical requirements, you can still apply to drive a commercial vehicle as long as you're:
- Driving intrastate only.
- Not transporting hazardous materials.
Simply fill out the Application for Waiver of Physical Deficiency (Form DSMV 558) and send the completed form to:
New Hampshire Department of Safety
Division of Motor Vehicles
23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305
You'll receive a mailed response to your application, either approving or rejecting your request for a medical waiver. If you're approved, bring the written response with you to the DMV when you go to apply for your CLP.
NH Military CDL Testing Waivers
If you drove a commercial vehicle while in the military, you could be eligible to waive the Division of Motor Vehicles' road skills test.
To be qualified for the military skills test waiver you must:
- Currently be in the military OR honorably discharged no more than 12 months prior to your New Hampshire CDL application.
- Have driven a commercial vehicle in the military within the 12 months prior to applying for your CDL.
- Be a resident of NH.
- Not have any major or alcohol-induced driving incidents within the 2 years prior to CDL application.
In addition to the required application and fees, bring to the DMV a completed Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form DSMV 609) signed by your commanding officer, along with your military ID or New Hampshire driver's license.
- DSMV 312
- DSMV 609)
- DSMV 558
- Application for Waiver of Physical Deficiency
- Submit this form if you have a medical condition that still allows you to operate commercial vehicles on an intrastate basis when applying for a new or renewal NH commercial driver's license. Must be completed by a medical professional.