Commercial Driving License (CDL)

New Proof of Status Requirement

The Rhode Island DMV will be implementing the following for all Domiciled CDL drivers:

Beginning April 1, 2016, all CDL drivers must provide Proof of Status as a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, as well as proof of Rhode Island residency, when renewing a CDL, applying for a CDL, updating a CDL or transferring a CDL from another state. This is required by 49 CFR 383.71.

Acceptable Documentation for U.S. Citizen:

  • A valid, unexpired U.S. passport;(Please note, if you have obtained or renewed your passport within the last 6 months, please bring an additional Identity Document, as your passport may not verify with the national database)
  • Certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual's State of birth, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS.

Acceptable Documentation for Lawful Permanent Resident:

  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card, issued by USCIS or INS.

If you are unable to provide Proof of Status as a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Residence, you must provide:

An unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by USCIS or an unexpired foreign passport accompanied by an approved I-94 form documenting the applicants most recent admittance into the United States. Proof of Rhode Island residency must also be presented. This is required by 49 CFR 383.71(f)(2)(i). Applicants under this section will receive a "non-domiciled" CDL.

*Only original documents are accepted.

Eligibility Requirements for a CDL

  • You must be at least 21 years old. However, you can receive a license valid for intrastate (within state) travel at age 18.
  • You must hold a valid operator's license for at least two years, with no disqualifying suspensions or revocations

Out of State CDL Transfer

  • To transfer a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), you must have your out-of-state commercial driver's license or a certified motor vehicle record (driving history record), a birth certificate or passport, proof of residence, and a valid medical certificate.

CDL Permit

Applicants must apply for a CDL instruction permit before receiving a Commercial Driver's License. You will receive the instruction permit after completing your written exam.

  • The written tests are given at the Cranston DMV only from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. You must start with and successfully pass the General Knowledge exam before you can move on to other testings. For those testing for School Bus, you must first take and successfully pass the Passenger exam before taking the School Bus exam. You must pass all required written CDL tests before taking the skills test. If you fail a test, you must wait five business days before taking the test again. After passing all tests required, you must apply for the permit necessary to take the skills test. A valid Medical Card must be on file with the DMV for your permit to be processed.
  • Only the applicant is allowed inside the exam room.
  • All Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLP) are valid for one year from the date of issuance.  Once your CLP expires, you will be required to retake all knowledge/written exams for the license class you wish to obtain. 

CDL Military Skills Test Waiver

The NEW CDL Military Skills Test Waiver form must be used by service members who are currently licensed and who are/were employed for one year in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). This waiver allows a qualified service member to apply for a CDL without taking a skills test. CDL knowledge (written) test(s) cannot be waived. The form must be signed by a commanding officer.