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.

New Medical Certification Requirements

Please Note: Failure to comply will result in the CDL license being downgraded immediately to a regular operators' license.

  • As of May 21, 2014, all Department of Transportation medical exams must be performed by "Certified" medical examiners. A complete list of Certified Medical Examiners can be found on the National Registry website, https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov
  • Starting April 20, 2016, FMSCA requires both CDL drivers and Certified Medical Doctors to use the New Medical Examiners Certificate and New Medical Examiners Report. If the DOT physical was prior to this date, we will accept previous medical cards for Self Certification. All Certified Doctors have been informed.
  • All CDL holders will be required to show their Medical Examiner's Certificate and Medical Examination Report Form for all transactions of non-excepted drivers.

You must present your new Medical Card or Certificate to the DMV online or in person within 15 days of issuance. Submit a Medical Card or Certificate to the DMV online

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 suspensions or revocations

Applying for a CDL with CDL Tests / Out of State CDL Transfer

  • You must list your Social Security Number on the application, have proof of status (see examples in the first paragraph), and either a RI driver's license or an out of state CDL. Customers transferring an out of state CDL must additionally bring a Medical Card and two proofs of residency.
  • 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 onto other testing. 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

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 Applicant must show a valid Medical Card to obtain a permit if they are Self-Certified in a non-excepted status.

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 commanding officer.