Applying for a Commercial Driver License

Federal law requires commercial drivers to pass the knowledge tests for the appropriate driver license, including assessments, to obtain a commercial learner permit.

A commercial learner permit is valid for 180 days and is eligible for one renewal, which is also valid for 180 days.

Applicants must also hold a commercial learner permit for 14 days before undergoing the commercial driver license skills test.

Permit holders must:

  • Be at least 18 years old (21 for operations in interstate commerce or hazardous material endorsement)
  • Possess a valid Class A, B or C driver license
  • Be accompanied in the front seat by a licensed commercial driver license operator of the same class, or higher, including endorsements

The N.C. Commercial Driver License Manual describes the minimum state and federal requirements and testing information for obtaining a commercial learner permit or commercial driving license.

Although the manual will help an individual pass the required tests, it is not a substitute for a truck-driver training program. Formal training is the most reliable way to learn the many special skills required for safely driving a large commercial vehicle and becoming a professional driver in the


Qualified applicants must successfully complete required tests and take the following required documents to a N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license office.

Note: NCDMV also offers an N.C. REAL ID driver license, which requires additional information and requirements.

North Carolina issues commercial learner permits and licenses from a central location and mails them to applicants within 20 days. Applicants receive a Temporary Driving Certificate to use until their permit arrives.

Proof of Clear Driving Record

At time of application, an individual must certify that:

  • Their license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked
  • They do not hold more than one driver license

NCDMV automatically runs a background check against the Problem Driver Pointer System and the Commercial Driver License Information System databases to check the applicant's driving history in other states.

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