Commercial Driver Licenses

What you need to know about Commercial Driver Licenses.


There are new Federal Requirements to obtain a CDL License.
Information on Applying for a Commercial Driver License (CDL).

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires every state to meet the same minimum standards for commercial driver licensing. The standards require drivers to get a Commercial Driver License (CDL) to operate any of the following commercial motor vehicles:

  • A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) in excess of 26,000 pounds.
  • A combination of trailer and towing unit which exceeds 26,000 pounds GVWR with the trailer in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
  • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • Any size vehicle which transports hazardous materials which requires a Hazmat placard.

Drivers are required to pass different knowledge and road tests depending on the Classifications and Endorsements they apply for and the type of license they currently hold. Before applying for a CDL license, drivers should thoroughly review the Commercial Driver Manual and Commercial Driver Manual Supplement, which can be downloaded or is available at any DMV office.

Apply for a Commercial Driver License (CDL)

Due to new Federal Requirements CDL License applicants are required to attend federally approved Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). This training must be completed before the applicant is able to schedule a Skills Test. For more information on ELDT, please visit: FMCSA, and FMCSA FAQs.

Applicants who wish to apply for a Commercial Driver License Permit must schedule an appointment for a CDL Permit Knowledge Test. The following are requirements for all applicants requesting a Commercial Driver License:

  • Completed Commercial Driver License Application (DSMV 312)
  • Current New Hampshire Driver License
  • Valid Medical Certificate (unless exempt)
  • Appropriate Fee
  • Vision Test
  • Knowledge Test when all required knowledge tests are passed you will be issued a CDL Permit
  • Completion of Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) (please visit FMCSA for a list of certified trainers)
  • Skills Test may only be scheduled if applicant has a valid CDL Permit and has completed Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)
  • You may be required to bring additional documents to your specific appointment. Please review the list below:
    • Permanent Residents/Refugees/Asylees/VISA and Work Authorization Card Holders should review the required documents for Non US citizens.

CDL Basic Controls Skills

The CDL skills video describes the skills portion of the CDL skills test.

Length: 5:42 | Transcript: CDL Basic Controls Skills

CDL Vehicle Inspection Test

The CDL Pre- Trip video describes the vehicle inspection process.

Length: 19:23 | Transcript: CDL Vehicle Inspection Test
Lower Body:

Add Endorsements to a CDL License

Drivers who have a valid New Hampshire CDL license and who wish to add additional endorsements must pass a vision test and the appropriate knowledge test for the endorsement. Applicants may make an appointment to visit any DMV office with the following information:

  • A current valid New Hampshire CDL license.
  • An application for CDL.
  • Please visit the CDL Endorsements page for a detailed list of requirements based on the type of endorsement you are adding.

Once the required knowledge tests have been passed, the applicant will be scheduled for the appropriate road skills test if applicable. Drivers applying for a hazmat endorsement must receive a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) Fingerprint Clearance before applying.

Transfer a CDL License from another State

Written tests are generally not required to transfer a valid out-of-state CDL to a New Hampshire CDL with the same class and endorsements except in the case of Hazmat endorsements. Drivers transferring a Hazmat endorsement must be fingerprinted prior to coming to the DMV and take the Hazmat knowledge test.

Renew a New Hampshire CDL License

To renew a New Hampshire Commercial Driver License, please make an appointment to visit any DMV office with the followoing information:

All applicants for CDL renewal must pass the vision test, and based on their endorsements, there may be the following additional requirements:

  • Hazardous Material (Hazmat): Renewal of a Hazmat endorsement requires:
    1. Clearance from TSA via fingerprinting prior to coming to the DMV and then;
    2. Passing the Hazmat knowledge test.
  • School Bus Certificate: Renewal of a school bus certificate requires:
    1. Proof that you have been trained and are currently on a school bus company roster for the current school year.
    2. Passing the school bus certificate knowledge test.

Military CDL Skills Test Waiver

Eligible military members and veterans who are trained in the operation of heavy vehicles can apply for a waiver of the CDL skills test and may obtain a New Hampshire CDL by passing the written exam(s). To be eligible for the road test waiver, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be actively serving in the military or be a veteran within 12 months of honorable or general discharge.
  • Be a New Hampshire resident.
  • Produce a Commanding Officer's certification on form DSMV 609.
  • Successfully pass the required CDL knowledge exams.
  • List all driving offenses during the past two years for both military and civilian licenses.

Applicants must not have any alcohol-related or major driving offenses during the previous two years on both civilian and military licenses. The Division of Motor Vehicles reserves the right to disqualify applicants based on information obtained during the application process.

To apply for the waiver, service members or recent veterans can download the waiver application and bring the completed waiver, a copy of the Military Qualification Record and Military License to the nearest DMV office or you may mail the completed form to the Concord DMV with a copy of the Military Qualification Record and Military License.

The submitted waiver application and supporting documentation will be reviewed to verify that qualifications are met as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) and New Hampshire laws and rules. You will be contacted once the review is completed and a knowledge test appointment may be made upon approval of the application.