California CDL Requirements

In State Driving Age:
Driving Between States Age:
Hazardous Age:
Exams Required:
  • Vision
  • Health
  • Written Test
  • Driving Test
IDs Required:
  • Driver's License
  • Birth Certificate

All California commercial drivers have to already have a regular class A noncommercial driver’s license to be eligible to apply for a commercial one. This ensures the driver has basic driving skills required of everyone on California roads. The applicant will also need to have a thumbprint taken as well as submit to a file photograph.

California’s commercial driver’s license is issued with the same requirements that the federal government imposes on interstate drivers for safety. In terms of age requirements a driver has to be at least 18 years of age to even apply for a related permit and must be 21 years of age to cross state lines or to work as a passenger vehicle driver or a hazmat driver.

Further background checks are required. A person’s social security number as well as his identity and immigration status needs to be verified with government documentation. Commercial drivers of all types have to submit to history reporting, allowing the state to determine if the driver has worked commercially in a different state in the previous ten years. If so, under federal law the driver has to then submit a 10-year history report with his license application. Further, anyone who will be or has handled hazardous material as a commercial driver also has to be reviewed by the Transportation Security Administration or TSA for a hazmat endorsement.

Finally, the commercial license applicant must pay a 5-year application license fee, provide medical examination report, and successfully pass both a commercial driving test as well as vision test administered by the state motor vehicle department. The applicant will get three chances to pass the driving exam correctly before having to start the whole application process all over again.

When the applicant is approved and all requirements are met, a 90-day interim license will be immediately approved and provided. The permanent 5-year license will be sent in the mail to the address provided by the applicant. The applicant can begin driving immediately with the interim license, but he should keep the paperwork on hand if inspected at any time.

Other California CDL requirements include a medical certificate, a vision test, and proof of age (birth certificate). Applicants must pass a written skills test. The written test covers information found in the California CDL Manual

As far as California re-licensing information is concerned, individuals are expected to renew their license before the expiration date. Once expired, individuals cannot renew and must take all appropriate tests to receive the license once again.

Search for a Trucking Job

Select a state: