Applying for a New CDL in West Virginia
Does the open road call your name? Would you like to make money just for cruising down it? You can, if you get your West Virginia commercial driver's license (CDL).
The process includes not only following the licensing rules overseen by the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but also the national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the WV 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.
WV CDL Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a West Virginia commercial driver's license, you'll need to:
- Meet the appropriate age requirements—at least:
- 18 years old to drive within WV only—called intrastate driving.
- 21 years old to operate motor vehicles outside of West Virginia.
- Have at least 1 year of experience driving; 1 year of holding a Class E or D license if you are 18 years old.
- Be a West Virginia resident.
You'll also need to show the WV DMV proof of your:
- Social Security number (SSN).
- West Virginia residency.
- Legal status in the United States.
WV Commercial Learner's Permit
Just like getting a permit before your regular driver's license, your journey to your CDL starts with getting a permit—your commercial learner's permit (CLP).
The process can be a bit involved, so you may want to take a CDL training course to help ensure you're as successful as possible, although this step is not required by either the FMCSA or the WV Division of Motor Vehicles.
When you're ready to begin, you'll need to gather:
- The proper identification documents.
- Visit the DMV's license and ID page for acceptable proof.
- Your medical paperwork—see below for details.
- A completed Application for Commercial Driver's License (Form DMV-CDL-1).
- The appropriate fees:
- $25 testing fee.
- $10 per endorsement.
- Licensing fee (see below), which varies by age and license duration.
You can submit the above information to the West Virginia DMV either:
- In person, at the Driver Services window located in Kanawha City:
- 5707 MacCorkle Ave. SE
- Charleston, WV 25304
- By mail to:
- P.O. Box 17010
- Charleston, WV 25317
Once the DMV processes your information, you'll receive a letter with the testing site where you'll need to go to take all of the written exams for the class of CDL you're applying for, plus for any endorsements you hope to add to your license. At this point, you'll also have to submit to a driving record check.
When all of the above is finished, you'll officially be issued your commercial learner's permit—congratulations!
Your CLP will be valid for 180 days, and you can renew it once within 2 years before taking your skills test.
CLP Restrictions in West Virginia
While earning a CLP is a big step toward getting a CDL, there are a few different rules that you'll have to follow while practicing with it.
- Hold your commercial learner's permit for at least 14 days before taking your skills exam.
- Practice while driving on public roads only.
- Be accompanied by a full CDL holder licensed to operate the same type of vehicle, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules.
Your West Virginia commercial learner's permit will be valid for 180 days, and you can renew it once within 2 years of earning it.
Getting Your West Virginia CDL
To turn that CLP into a West Virginia commercial driver's license, there's only one step left: the skills exam.
All skills exams in West Virginia are conducted by third-party testers. To find a site where you can take the test near you, check out the list of all WV third-party testers in the state's commercial driver license manual.
Before you schedule an appointment, keep in mind that you'll need to:
- Wait at least 14 days after receiving your CLP.
- Arrange to take the test in the same type of vehicle you want to drive with your CDL.
Don't forget to bring your:
The test itself consists of several parts, including the:
- Pre-trip inspection.
- Basic vehicle control.
- On-road test.
Once you've aced each section, you'll be given paperwork proving you passed. Bring it to your local Division of Motor Vehicles office, where you'll be charged a CDL fee, then officially issued your own commercial driver's license!
CDL Fees in West Virginia
The West Virginia DMV charges the following fees for commercial driver's licenses and related services:
- CDL testing fee (to earn your CLP): $25.
- Endorsements: $10 each.
- Skills test: $100.
You'll also be charged a fee for your commercial driver's license, which depends on:
- Your “calculated age."
- How many years the license will be valid.
The WV CDL Manual explains how to determine your calculated age and the associated fees.
CDL Medical Certification
Before you can get your commercial learner's permit, you'll have to be considered physically fit for the job. This involves a process where you self-certify the type of driving you'll be doing (interstate vs. intrastate) and determine whether you are excepted or non-excepted from the medical requirements necessary for most CDL drivers.
To do so, you'll need to complete a:
- WV Commercial Driver Licensee Medical Self-Certification Affidavit (Form DMV-CDL-3).
- Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876) completed by a FMCSA-approved doctor.
Again, it's important to have all of your medical paperwork filled out before you begin the CDL application process.
For more information about how to self-certify and the medical program in general, you can check out the FMCSA's guide to CDL medical requirements.
Military CDL Test Waivers in West Virginia
The FMCSA and WV Division of Motor Vehicles have developed a program to help some service members receive their commercial driver license more easily, by waiving the skills test.*
To qualify, you'll need to:
- Be currently enlisted OR within 6 months of your honorable discharge.
- Have experience driving commercial vehicles or the military equivalent.
To apply, you'll need to:
- Fill out the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form CDL-ST-WVR).
- Your commanding officer will need to help you complete it.
- Make a copy of your current military ID or discharge papers.
Bring the above paperwork with you to the DMV when you apply for your commercial learner's permit. For questions and further details, call the DMV's CDL office at (304) 926-3801.
* NOTE: Eligible applicants will still need to pass all written exams and pay all applicable fees.