Tom Corbett, Governor Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation

Obtaining a Commercial Driverís License

A Commercial Knowledge Test Authorization and/or Learner's Permit can be issued to an individual, 18 or older who does or does not possess a valid Non-commercial Driver's License (an individual may apply for a Pennsylvania Commercial Learnerís Permit even if they've never possessed a Non-commercial Driver's License), new residents (link to new resident info center)who have never been licensed, new residents who have been licensed in another state but whose driverís license has been expired for more than 6 months.


Step 1: Acquire a DL-31CD and a Pennsylvania Commercial Driver's License Manual

Step 2: Go to a Driver License Center with the following:

  • A completed application
  • Valid Pennsylvania Driver's License,
  • Proof of identity and residency
  • Social Security card,
  • If your name has change due to marriage, divorce or court order, please bring your original documents to a Driver License Center showing the change.
  • A check or money order made payable to PennDOT for the appropriate fees (cash is not accepted at the Driver's License Centers).

Step 3: Submit Form DL-31CD to upgrade your driving privilege from a Non-commercial Driverís License to a CDL, along with a DL-11CD to self-certify the type of driving in which you intend to engage.

Step 4: Upon processing a request for a CDL Learner's Permit, if any of the requested privileges require both a Knowledge Test and Road Test, a Knowledge Test Authorization will be issued. The Knowledge Test Authorization does not allow you to begin on-the-road practicing. Once you successfully complete the Knowledge Test, the Driver License Center will issue you a CDL Learnerís Permit(s). The combined length of the Knowledge Test Authorization and the CDL Learnerís Permit will be one year. EXAMPLE: If you take three months to pass the knowledge test, the corresponding skills permit will be valid for nine months. We will still refer to the process as applying for a permit.

Step 5: Before you may take the Road Test for a Commercial Driver's License, you must have held a Commercial Learner's Permit for 15 days for the class of vehicle you intend to drive and the requisite endorsements. You may schedule your Road Test as soon as you have the permit, but the actual date for the skills testing to be performed must be outside the 15-day window.

Step 6: If you wish to apply for a hazardous materials endorsement you must successfully complete a Federal Security Threat Assessment and have your fingerprints taken at an approved fingerprint location.

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