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

Frequently Asked Questions:
Hazardous Materials Endorsement

Frequently Asked Questions for the new HAZMAT requirements can be found following the overview.

Overview

The Uniting & Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act was signed into law on October 25, 2001. This Federal law addresses terrorism and national security and includes provisions that require commercial drivers who transport hazardous materials to have their fingerprints taken and successfully complete a Federal criminal history background check.

The new Federal requirements, issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in support of the Federal USA PATRIOT Act change the application process for each Commercial Driver License (CDL) holder who is applying for an initial hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement or renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement.

All Pennsylvania drivers who apply for an initial HAZMAT endorsement on their CDL or renew their CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement will be affected by these changes.

Two key dates:

  1. January 31, 2005 - New Federal requirements went into effect for customers applying for an initial HAZMAT endorsement. After January 31, 2005, applicants are required to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of appropriate immigration status, complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment," pay additional Federal fees, have their fingerprints taken and successfully complete a Federal criminal history background check.
  2. May 31, 2005 - Customers who are renewing the HAZMAT endorsement on their Pennsylvania-issued CDL or transferring an out-of-state CDL (that has a HAZMAT endorsement) into Pennsylvania will be required to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of appropriate immigration status, complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment," pay additional Federal fees, have their fingerprints taken and successfully complete a Federal criminal history background check.

In general, CDL Drivers who apply for a HAZMAT endorsement or renew their CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement will be required to:

  • Pay $60 in Federal fees, which includes a $34 Federal Security Threat Assessment fee (Federal criminal history background check) and a $26 FBI Fingerprint fee. Although these are Federal fees, the check is made payable to PennDOT; PennDOT then forwards the fees to the appropriate Federal agency.
  • Submit a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (DL-288).
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship or appropriate immigration status at a PennDOT Driver License Center
  • Have their fingerprints taken at a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Fingerprint Location
  • Receive Federal clearance from TSA before being issued a HAZMAT endorsement

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will it cost to obtain or renew a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement?

Why are these changes being made?

Who will these changes affect?

What are the changes?

Are there any other requirements?

Can CDL HAZMAT drivers renew early?

How can I renew my CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement early?

How is the Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288) obtained?

What is the purpose of the Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288)?

Where do CDL HAZMAT drivers have their fingerprints taken?

How long will the fingerprinting process take?

How often must HAZMAT CDL drivers qualify and be fingerprinted?

How will CDL HAZMAT drivers know when they should have their fingerprints taken?

Exactly how will the new process work for obtaining or renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement?

What documentation does a customer need to bring to the PennDOT Driver License Center as proof of citizenship or appropriate immigration status?

How long will the entire process take (i.e. submitting the application, having the fingerprints taken, passing the Federal criminal history background check and obtaining a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement)?

Who can apply for a HAZMAT endorsement?

I am moving to Pennsylvania and have already received my Federal approval for a HAZMAT endorsement. Will I have to apply for another Federal Security Threat in PA?

What violations would disqualify someone from obtaining a HAZMAT endorsement?

What happens to drivers who currently hold HAZMAT endorsements but under this rule do not qualify for a HAZMAT endorsement?

How does someone apply for a waiver?

What happens if the security threat assessment (Federal criminal history background check) indicates that a driver does not meet the Federal requirements?

What happens if TSA revokes the HAZMAT endorsement? Can the CDL license holder still drive?

Is there an appeal process for drivers who are disqualified?

Will a disqualified applicant be told why he/she is being rejected?

Where can I find more information about the new HAZMAT requirements?

Return to Categories Listing

Get Adobe Acrobat Some documents within the FAQs are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print. This software is provided free of charge and you may download the latest version by clicking on the ‘Get Acrobat Reader’ button.

How much will it cost to obtain or renew a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement?

TopReturn to Top

In addition to the State fees, Federal fees totaling an additional $60 will be required for applicants who apply for or renew a HAZMAT endorsement. The fees include the cost of fingerprinting ($26 FBI fee) and the cost of a Federal criminal history background check ($34). Although these are Federal fees, the check is made payable to PennDOT; PennDOT then forwards the fees to the appropriate Federal agency.

For customers renewing a CDL with an H or X endorsement, the State renewal fee is $79.50 ($99.50 if the license includes a Class M). With the additional Federal fees, the total cost to renew and retain a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement is $139.50 ($159.50 if the license includes a Class M).

Why are these changes being made?

TopReturn to Top

PennDOT is required to implement these changes as part of the USA PATRIOT Act, a Federal law that addresses terrorism and national security. These additional Federal requirements are being implemented to make sure all commercial drivers who transport hazardous materials do not pose a security threat to our national transportation system.

Who will these changes affect?

TopReturn to Top

Commercial drivers who wish to transport hazardous materials requiring vehicle placards under Federal Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) regulations will be affected by this rule and will be required to successfully complete a Federal criminal history background check prior to receiving a HAZMAT (H or X) endorsement. This includes all drivers who apply for an initial HAZMAT endorsement or renew their CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement.

What are the changes?

TopReturn to Top

  • January 31, 2005 - Customers who apply for an initial HAZMAT endorsement are required to comply with the new requirements. Chart A lists the previous requirements for applying for an initial HAZMAT endorsement, and compares them to the requirements that went into effect on January 31, 2005.

Chart A - Requirements for Applying for an Initial HAZMAT Endorsement

Requirements for obtaining an initial HAZMAT endorsement before 01/31/2005

Requirements for obtaining an initial HAZMAT endorsement on 01/31/2005 and after

  • Submit a permit application
  • Pay the Pennsylvania fee
  • Pass the HAZMAT knowledge test
  • Submit a permit application
  • Pay the Pennsylvania fee
  • Pass the HAZMAT knowledge test
  • Appear at a PennDOT Driver License Center and provide proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of appropriate immigration status
  • Complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288)
  • Pay Federal fees totaling $60; check made payable to PennDOT (includes TSA Security Threat Assessment application fee of $34 and $26 FBI fingerprint check fee)
  • Appear at a Pennsylvania State Police Fingerprint Location to be fingerprinted for the Federal Security Threat Assessment (Federal criminal history background check)
  • Await clearance from the Federal Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), before being issued a HAZMAT endorsement

  • Effective May 31, 2005 - Customers who are renewing or transferring an existing (issued from another state) CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement must comply with the new requirements. Chart B lists the requirements before May 31, 2005, for renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement and compares it to the requirements that go into effect on May 31, 2005. Individuals who renew prior to May 31, 2005, will not be subject to the additional Federal requirements and additional Federal fees until their next renewal.

Chart B - Requirements for Renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT Endorsement

Requirements for Renewing a CDL with HAZMAT endorsement before 05/31/2005

Requirements for Renewing a CDL with HAZMAT endorsement on 05/31/2005 and after

  • Pass the HAZMAT recertification knowledge test
  • Submit a renewal application and pay the Pennsylvania renewal fee
  • Pass the HAZMAT recertification knowledge test
  • Appear at a PennDOT Driver License Center and provide proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of appropriate immigration status
  • Complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288)
  • Pay Federal fees totaling $60; check made payable to PennDOT (includes TSA Security Threat Assessment application fee of $34 and a $26 FBI fingerprint check fee)
  • Appear at a Pennsylvania State Police Fingerprint Location to be fingerprinted for the Federal Security Threat Assessment (Federal criminal history background check)
  • Await clearance from the Federal Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • Submit a renewal application and pay the Pennsylvania renewal fee

Are there any other requirements?

TopReturn to Top

The Federal self-reporting requirement remains in effect. Since September 2, 2003, CDL drivers with a HAZMAT endorsement who do not meet the new Federal requirements must voluntarily surrender their HAZMAT endorsement. Pennsylvania drivers must complete an "Application to Replace/Correct a Commercial Driver's License" (Form DL-80CD), and check off "HAZMAT endorsement" in the "Drop Privilege" portion of the form. The application will need to be notarized. A fee of $13.50 is required for a duplicate CDL; $18.50 if the CDL has a Class M endorsement. PennDOT will issue a replacement CDL without the HAZMAT endorsement.

Can CDL HAZMAT drivers renew early?

TopReturn to Top

Yes, you can renew up to six months in advance of your CDL expiring. It is important, however, that you pass the HAZMAT recertification knowledge test before renewing your CDL. If you renew before passing your HAZMAT recertification knowledge test, your CDL license will be issued without the HAZMAT endorsement.

How can I renew my CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement early?

TopReturn to Top

If you haven't received your renewal notice from PennDOT, you can complete an "Application to Renew Commercial Driver's License" (Form DL-143CD) and mail it, along with your renewal fee, to PennDOT. This form is also available at any PennDOT Driver License Center. Be sure that you pass your HAZMAT recertification knowledge test before submitting your renewal.

How is the Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288) obtained?

TopReturn to Top

Customers who have an existing CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement will receive a DL-288 in the mail included with their recertification notice. Customers who are applying for an initial HAZMAT endorsement may also obtain the form at any PennDOT Driver License Center.

What is the purpose of the Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288)?

TopReturn to Top

The application is for TSA to conduct a security threat assessment. Basically, the assessment is a Federal criminal history background check that involves a check of citizenship status, FBI records, a criminal history records check, an immigration check, and an intelligence-related check. These checks occur on the Federal level, not the State level. All drivers who are initially obtaining or renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement must successfully pass the security threat assessment (Federal criminal history background check) before issuance of a HAZMAT endorsement. TSA notifies PennDOT whether or not the customer successfully completed the security threat assessment.

Where do CDL HAZMAT drivers have their fingerprints taken?

TopReturn to Top

Customers will be required to have their fingerprints taken at a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Fingerprint location. A complete listing of the PSP Fingerprint locations, with the hours of operation, is available from the Pennsylvania State Police.

After passing the HAZMAT knowledge test, providing proof of citizenship status and submitting the DL-288 and Federal fees at a PennDOT Driver License Center, customers will receive a fingerprint authorization letter and a listing of the PSP Fingerprint Locations, with hours of operation.

How long will the fingerprinting process take?

TopReturn to Top

The fingerprinting process will take approximately 30 minutes.

How often must CDL HAZMAT drivers qualify and be fingerprinted?

TopReturn to Top

Every time a HAZMAT endorsement is initially issued or renewed, the driver must appear at a PennDOT Driver License Center to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or appropriate immigration status. Individuals must also complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288) with the Federal fees ($60), and have their fingerprints taken for the Federal criminal history background check.

How will CDL HAZMAT drivers know when they should get their fingerprints taken?

TopReturn to Top

PennDOT will include the new Federal requirement information with the HAZMAT recertification knowledge test notice that is issued to drivers renewing their CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement. This recertification is mailed approximately seven months before the CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement is to expire

Exactly how will the new process work for obtaining or renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement?

TopReturn to Top

For customers who are obtaining an initial HAZMAT endorsement on their CDL, here is how the process will work:

  1. Customer submits a HAZMAT application (Form DL-31CD) and pays the Pennsylvania fees
  2. Customer passes the HAZMAT knowledge test at a PennDOT Driver License Center
  3. Customer provides documentation at the PennDOT Driver License Center to prove U.S. citizenship or appropriate immigration status (see next question for acceptable proof of citizenship documents). At the same time, the customer will complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288) and pay $60 in Federal fees in the form of a check made payable to PennDOT. PennDOT forwards customer information to TSA and Federal criminal history background check begins.
  4. Customer then appears at a PSP Fingerprint Location to have fingerprints taken.
  5. After PennDOT receives clearance from TSA that customer passed the security threat assessment (Federal criminal history background check), he/she is issued a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement.

For customers who are renewing their CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement, here is how the process will work:

  1. Customer passes the HAZMAT recertification knowledge test at a PennDOT Driver License Center.
  2. Customer provides documentation at the PennDOT Driver License Center to prove U.S. citizenship or appropriate immigration status (see next question for acceptable proof of citizenship documents). At the same time, the customer will complete a Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288) and pay $60 in Federal fees in the form of a check made payable to PennDOT. PennDOT forwards customer information to TSA and Federal criminal history background check begins.
  3. Customer then goes to a PSP Fingerprint Location to have fingerprints taken.
  4. PennDOT receives clearance from TSA that customer passed the security threat assessment (Federal criminal history background check).
  5. Customer submits renewal application and pays Pennsylvania renewal fee ($79.50, or $99.50 if the license has a Class M)
  6. Customer is issued a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement

Given this sequence of events, renewal needs to be done after receiving clearance from TSA that the customer has passed the security threat assessment, to avoid loss of hazmat driving privileges.

What documentation does a customer need to bring to the PennDOT Driver License Center as proof of citizenship or appropriate immigration status?

TopReturn to Top

For a U.S. Citizen, Federal regulations require customers to provide one of the following:

  1. U.S. Passport
  2. Certificate of birth that bears an official seal and was issued by a State, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States
  3. Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-545 or DS-1350)
  4. Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  5. Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)

For a Lawful Permanent Resident, Federal regulations require customers to provide one of the following:

  1. Permanent Resident Card, Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)
  2. Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport
  3. Temporary I-551 stamp on Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with photograph of the bearer
  4. Reentry Permit (Form I-327)

How long will the entire process take (i.e. submitting the application, having the fingerprints taken, passing the Federal background check and obtaining a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement)?

TopReturn to Top

Drivers should allow 90 days from the day they have their fingerprints taken for PennDOT to receive notification from TSA that they passed or failed their security threat assessment (Federal criminal history background check). Given this timeframe, it is critical for drivers who are renewing to begin the recertification process as soon as possible to avoid any interruption in their ability to transport hazardous materials.

The HAZMAT recertification knowledge test notice is mailed to customers approximately seven months before their license is due to expire. Drivers should appear at a PennDOT Driver License Center and pass their knowledge recertification test within 30 days of receiving the notice. (If you do not receive your notice, please contact PennDOT.)

After passing the HAZMAT recertification knowledge test, the driver will immediately need to provide the PennDOT Driver License Examiner appropriate proof of citizenship status, their completed Federal "Application for Security Threat Assessment" (Form DL-288) and a check made payable to PennDOT in the amount of $60 for the Federal fees required. The driver will then be given a Fingerprint Authorization Letter and a listing of PSP Fingerprint Locations. The driver should be fingerprinted within 30 days (sooner if possible). From this point, TSA will make their assessment and should advise the driver and PennDOT within 90 days that he/she passed or failed the security threat assessment (the Federal criminal history background check). Regardless of whether or not PennDOT (and the driver) receive notification from TSA that an assessment has been made, PennDOT will send a renewal application to the driver approximately three months prior to the expiration of their license. If a customer renews and the testing and/or the Federal criminal history background check is not successfully completed, he/she will not be able to retain the HAZMAT endorsement.

Who can apply for a HAZMAT endorsement?

TopReturn to Top

In general, an individual must be a U.S. citizen or in an appropriate immigration status; must not have a disqualifying criminal offense; must not have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution; and must not pose a threat of terrorism or a threat to national or transportation security.

I am moving to Pennsylvania and have already received my Federal approval for a HAZMAT endorsement. Will I have to apply for another Federal Security Threat in PA?

TopReturn to Top

No, provided your approval has not expired. You will need to provide written verification from your prior state that you have received approval from Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to hold a HAZMAT endorsement indicating the date of TSA's approval and/or your HAZMAT endorsement expiration date.

What violations would disqualify someone from obtaining a HAZMAT endorsement?

TopReturn to Top

Some violations disqualify a driver for a specified timeframe, and others are lifetime disqualifications.

  1. A driver will be disqualified from holding a HAZMAT endorsement on a CDL if he/she was convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity within the previous seven years or was released from prison in the last five years for any of the following crimes: (a) Assault with intent to murder; (b) Kidnapping or hostage taking; (c) Rape or aggravated sexual abuse; (d) Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon; (e) Extortion; (f) Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud; (g) Bribery; (h) Smuggling; (i) Immigration violations; (j) Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq., or a State law that is comparable, other than the violations listed in (j) of the following paragraph (Permanently Disqualifying Criminal Offenses); (k) Robbery; (l) Distribution of, intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance; (m) Arson; (n) Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these crimes.
  2. A driver will be permanently disqualified from holding a HAZMAT endorsement on a CDL if he or she was convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity for any of the following crimes: (a) Espionage; (b) Sedition; (c) Treason; (d) A crime listed in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 113B - Terrorism, or a State law that is comparable; (e) A crime involving a transportation security incident; (f) Improper transportation of a hazardous material under 49 U.S.C. 5124 or a State law that is comparable; (g) Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive device; (h) Murder; (i) Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these crimes; (j) Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq., or a State law that is comparable, where one of the predicate acts found by a jury or admitted by the defendant, consists of one of the offenses listed in (d) or (h) of this section.
  3. A driver will be disqualified from holding a HAZMAT endorsement on a CDL if he/she is wanted or under indictment in any civilian or military jurisdiction for a felony listed in the previous two paragraphs until the want or warrant is released.

All of the crimes are disqualifying, whether entered in civilian court or military court.

What happens to drivers who currently hold HAZMAT endorsements but under this rule do not qualify for a HAZMAT endorsement?

TopReturn to Top

Drivers who do not meet the Federal requirements were required to voluntarily surrender their HAZMAT endorsement by Sept 2, 2003. Effective immediately, drivers who currently hold a HAZMAT endorsement are subject to a name-based FBI criminal history records check. Under certain circumstances, drivers who have been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a disqualifying criminal offense, or who were adjudicated as mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution may apply for a waiver. If a driver does not meet the Federal requirements, he/she may still have a CDL but is no longer permitted to transport hazardous materials.

How does someone apply for a waiver?

TopReturn to Top

Granting a waiver is at the sole discretion of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as it is TSA who oversees the entire waiver process, not PennDOT. Information regarding the process for applying for a waiver can be found on TSA's website.

What happens if the security threat assessment (Federal criminal history background check) indicates that a driver does not meet the Federal requirements?

TopReturn to Top

If TSA determines that an individual poses a security threat, TSA will direct the State to revoke the individual's HAZMAT endorsement. If TSA discovers that an individual has outstanding criminal or immigration violation warrants, that information will be transmitted to the proper authorities.

What happens if TSA revokes the HAZMAT endorsement? Can the CDL license holder still drive?

TopReturn to Top

Yes. Only the HAZMAT endorsement is revoked. The driver will need to apply for a replacement license. A commercial driver may still maintain a CDL license, but the HAZMAT endorsement will be removed.

Is there an appeal process for drivers who are disqualified?

TopReturn to Top

Applicants who have been told they are disqualified have the ability to appeal to TSA. They may appeal the disqualification on the grounds of mistaken identity or other information, such as a reversed conviction. Individuals may also apply for a waiver in which they acknowledge being convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity for a disqualifying criminal offense, or acknowledge being adjudicated as mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, but request to receive a HAZMAT endorsement based on other information or circumstances.

TSA must respond to an appeal or requested waiver. If no appeal or waiver is granted, TSA will notify PennDOT that the driver is disqualified from holding a HAZMAT endorsement. If an appeal or waiver is granted, TSA will notify PennDOT that the driver is qualified for a HAZMAT endorsement.

Will a disqualified applicant be told why he/she is being rejected?

TopReturn to Top

TSA will send notification to the driver.

Where can I find more information about the new HAZMAT requirements?

TopReturn to Top

PennDOT's Driver & Vehicle Services HAZMAT web page will be updated as further information on the USA PATRIOT Act and Security Threat Assessment becomes available. Information is also available by contacting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at patriotact@dhs.gov or by phone at (866) 289-9673.

State of PA Website Home Forms and Publications Shopping Cart PA State Agencies Online Services Shopping Cart