Montana Department of Justice
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Commercial Driver Licensing

New & Out-of-State Applicants | Commercial License Types & Classes | Commercial License Fees | Commercial License Endorsements | Military Waiver | Renewals | CDLIS MVR | Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Commercial driver license (CDL) knowledge tests are given at all driver exam stations. The driver exam station schedule lists which stations provide commercial road tests for Class A, B and C licenses. Some driver exam stations require appointments; for these stations you can schedule your CDL knowledge test through online appointment scheduling. Once you have your CDL learner permit, you can use online appointment scheduling for your pre-trip, skills and road tests at some exam stations. See the driver exam station schedule for locations that have online scheduling. To schedule pre-trip, skills, and road tests at other exam stations, contact the MVD Customer Care Center at 1-866-450-8034.

Please be prepared to pay for your license with cash or check (U.S. funds only) since credit cards are not accepted.

Information on regular, non-commercial class D licenses, learner permits, and motorcycle endorsements is available on the Driver Licensing page.

Commercial drivers need to be familiar with the Montana Commercial Driver License Manual and with new medical certification requirements.

New and Out-of-State Applicants

Commercial driver license (CDL) applicants who do not have a regular, class D Montana driver license or who are transferring an out-of-state license must provide:

  • the required documents
    • proof of identity
    • proof of Montana residency
    • proof of authorized presence
    • proof of Social Security number
  • valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC)

Commercial driver license (CDL) applicants who do have a regular, class D Montana driver license must provide:

It is advised that new applicants use the CDL Manual and CDL Requirements Guide to prepare for testing.

Types and Classes of Commercial Licenses

Type 1 Certification allows a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce, and costs $10 per year, plus the 50-cent fee for mailing the license renewal reminder.

Type 2 Certification allows a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate (only within the state of Montana) commerce, and costs $8.50 per year, plus the 50-cent fee for mailing the license renewal reminder.

Class A License allows the holder to operate any combination of vehicles, including:

  • a vehicle exceeding 26,000 GVWR that is towing a trailer over 10,000 pounds
  • articulated buses with a GCVWR exceeding 26,000 pounds
  • any vehicle authorized to be driven under Class B, C or D

Note: Pre-trip, skill and road testing must be completed in the type of vehicle comparable to the vehicle that you intend to drive.  Drivers testing in a towing unit that has a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds will receive an NT restriction (the trailer must have a GVWR of 10,001 to qualify for Class A testing).  The NT restriction indicates that you are not valid to operate a semi-tractor trailer.

Class B License allows the holder to operate:

  • a vehicle exceeding 26,000 GVWR that is towing a trailer at/or under 10,000 pounds GVWR
  • a school bus, or any bus or other vehicle hauling 16 or more passengers, including the driver
  • all vehicles under Class C or D

Class C License allows the holder to operate:

  • a single vehicle under 26,000 pounds
  • a vehicle that hauls hazardous materials in an amount sufficient to require placarding under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 391
  • a school bus, or any vehicle that hauls 16 or more passengers, including the driver

Commercial License Fees

Fees for Intrastate Commercial Driver Licenses*

Customer Age (years) Driver Licensing Fee Total Fee with a Motorcycle Endorsement Length of CDL (years)
18 $26.00 $27.50 3
19 $17.50 $18.50 2
20 $9.00 $9.50 1
21-70 $43.00 $45.50 5
71 $34.50 $38.50 4
72 $26.00 $27.50 3
73 $17.50 $18.50 2
74 $9.00 $9.50 1
75 & older $34.50 $38.50 4

Fees for Interstate Commercial Driver Licenses*

Customer Age (years) Driver Licensing Fee Total Fee with a Motorcycle Endorsement Length of CDL (years)
21-70 $50.50 $53.00 5
71 $40.50 $42.50 4
72 $30.50 $32.00 3
73 $20.50 $21.50 2
74 $10.50 $11.00 1
75 & older $40.50 $42.50 4

*If you currently have a valid MT Class D license and it does not expire within six months, deduct a total of $0.50 from your total license fee.

Commercial License Endorsements

Special endorsements are required before a person with a CDL may transport passengers and certain types of cargo in a commercial motor vehicle. The following endorsements are required under Montana law and federal motor carrier safety regulations:

  • Hazardous Materials – security background check required. See the Hazardous Materials chapter in the Commercial Driver License Manual
  • School Bus – “S” endorsement
  • Tank Endorsement
  • Passenger
  • Double/Triple Trailer
Security Background Check Required

The Department of Justice may not renew, upgrade or transfer a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement until it receives notice from the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that the driver has passed a security background check.

Commercial drivers who renew a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement, transfer their out-of-state CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement, or who want to add a hazardous materials endorsement to an existing CDL must:

  1. complete a separate TSA HAZPRINT security application required under federal law
  2. have their fingerprints taken
  3. pass a hazardous materials knowledge test

The TSA security threat assessment (background check) must be completed prior to applying for the renewal of a Montana CDL, transferring an out-of-state CDL, or adding a hazardous materials endorsement.

Transportation Security Administration Agent

In Montana, the security check procedures are not performed at a driver exam station. Instead, the driver must first complete the TSA HAZPRINT security application online at the TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program or by telephone through the TSA agent’s Driver Service Center at 877-429-7746 toll free. After the TSA HAZPRINT application has been completed, a driver must have his or her fingerprints taken at the office of an agent hired by the TSA.

For a list of the TSA agent offices in Montana, visit the TSA’s Hazardous Material Endorsement Enrollment website.

Drivers are required to provide two forms of acceptable identification to the TSA agent as part of the fingerprint collection process. The list of acceptable identification documents has changed. Check the TSA website for more information.

For additional information about security background check requirements, see the TSA website.

Fee – The fee for the fingerprint and separate security background check application process is $86.50. The driver can pay the fee by credit card when completing the online or phone application process. Payment may also be made by money order, payable to Integrated Biometric Technology, LLC, when the driver’s fingerprints are taken at the TSA agent’s office.

Once the driver and state receive the results of the security threat assessment, the driver can take the hazardous materials endorsement knowledge test at a driver exam station. If the driver passes the knowledge test, the licensing transaction can be completed.

Transferring Out-of-State CDLs with Hazmat Endorsement

CDLs with a hazardous materials endorsement cannot be transferred until the driver has completed the security threat assessment. A commercial driver who wishes to transfer his or her license to Montana must also complete the security background check unless, at the time of transfer, the driver provides information that he or she met the security background check requirements in another state and that state verifies that fact when contacted by the department. However, if the security background check does not allow for at least a three-year Montana CDL to be issued, a new certification is required.

School Bus “S” Endorsement

A person who drives a school bus, or who transports pre-primary, primary or secondary school students for school-related activity trips in a commercial motor vehicle other than a school bus, must have a CDL with the school bus “S” endorsement.

The S endorsement applies to the operation of any commercial vehicle or school bus that carries 16 passengers or more, including the driver, and is used to transport pre-primary, primary or secondary students from:

  • home to school
  • school to home
  • to and from school-sponsored events

A bus used as a common carrier is not considered to be a school bus.

To qualify for an S endorsement, school bus drivers must pass a written and driving test. Drivers must first take the written test. Once you pass the written test, you can schedule your driving test at any driver exam station.

Renewal Options

To keep your driving privilege valid, the renewal may be completed six months before your commercial license expires (usually on your birthday). The license can still be renewed three months after its expiration, but your driving privilege expires at midnight on the expiration date and is not valid until the renewal is processed. You must provide a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC). Starting January 2, 2015: When you renew, you must take your certified birth certificate (issued by a U.S. jurisdiction) or a U.S. passport to the exam station to comply with state and federal authorized presence laws.

Type of Exam Station Renewal Options
Full-service driver exam station You must renew in person.
Rural, limited-service driver exam station You must renew in person by first paying for your license at the county treasurer’s office and getting a pre-paid receipt, which you present to the driver examiner.
If you are a Montana resident who is temporarily outside the state and will not return before the expiration of your Montana driver license You may renew by mail. However, after renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver exam station.
If you live in a county that does not provide driver license services (Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure, and Wibaux) You may:

  • renew in person at a full-service driver exam station; or
  • renew at a rural station by first paying for your license at the county treasurer’s office and getting a pre-paid receipt, which you present to the driver examiner; or
  • renew by mail. However, after renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver exam station.

Renewing in Person
  1. If you do not have your expiring license with you, you must provide proof of identity and, if your name has changed, documentation of name change.
  2. Be prepared to pay the $50.50 fee for a five-year commercial (Class A, B, or C) license with cash or check (U.S. funds only). Credit cards are not accepted.
    OR
    In rural locations with limited driver license services, you must bring your pre-paid receipt from the county treasurer’s office.
  3. You will be given a temporary license and receive your new license in the mail within approximately two to four weeks.

Renewing by Mail

To be eligible to renew your Montana commercial driver license by mail, you must either:

  • Be a Montana resident who is temporarily outside the state and will not return prior to the expiration of your Montana driver license OR
  • Live in a county that does not provide driver license services—Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure, and Wibaux.

You cannot renew your CDL through the mail if you have a hazardous materials endorsement. To keep this endorsement, you must follow the procedures in the Hazardous Materials Endorsement section.

Renewals completed by mail are valid for five years. Your next renewal must be completed at a driver exam station.

How to Renew a Commercial License by Mail

To be eligible to renew your Montana commercial driver license by mail, you must either:

  • Be a Montana resident who is temporarily outside the state and will not return prior to the expiration of your Montana driver license, or
  • Live in a county that does not provide driver license services—Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure, and Wibaux.

Federal regulations (49CFR 383.71) and Montana statute (MCA 61-5-105) requires all commercial driver license applicants (new, renewal or upgrade) to be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident.

Starting July 8, 2015, all CDL drivers will need to provide proof of authorized presence in order to be issued a commercial driver license, including Montana CDL renewals.  There will be no exceptions. 

You cannot renew your CDL through the mail if you have a hazardous materials endorsement. To keep this endorsement, you must follow the procedures in the Hazardous Materials Endorsement section.

Renewals completed by mail are valid for five years. Your next renewal must be completed at a driver exam station. 

Your application cannot be processed unless ALL instructions are followed completely

      • $50.50 for an Interstate CDL renewal or
      • $43.00 for an Intrastate (Montana Only) renewal
      • an additional $2.50 if you have a motorcycle endorsement and would like to retain it

If you will be 71 years of age or older by the time your current CDL expires, please see payment schedule below for the appropriate fees.

Optional: A self-addressed stamped envelope to have the temporary CDL mailed back to you.  It will take approximately 1 to 2 weeks to receive the temporary copy CDL and 2 to 4 weeks to receive the hardcopy CDL.

Fees for Interstate Commercial Driver Licenses

Customer Age(years) CDL Fee Total Fee with a Motorcycle Endorsement Length of CDL(years)
71 $40.50 $42.50 4
72 $30.50 $32.00 3
73 $20.50 $21.50 2
74 $10.50 $11.00 1
75 & older $40.50 $42.50 4

 

Fees for Intrastate Commercial Driver Licenses

Customer Age(years) CDL Fee Total Fee with a Motorcycle Endorsement Length of CDL(years)
71 $34.50 $38.50 4
72 $26.00 $27.50 3
73 $17.50 $18.50 2
74 $9.00 $9.50 1
75 & older $34.50 $38.50 4

 Mail the completed packet to:

Motor Vehicle Division
Montana Department of Justice
302 N. Roberts
P.O. Box 201430
Helena, MT 59620-1430

Military CDL Skills Test Waiver

This waiver allows a qualified military service member to apply for a commercial driver license (CDL) without skills testing. Qualification is determined by the commanding officer, who typically certifies the qualification before the service member is discharged.

The CDL knowledge test cannot be waived. School bus, passenger, and hazardous materials endorsements cannot be transferred.

The Application for Military Skills Test Waiver may be used by service members who are currently licensed and who are or were employed within the last 12 months in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

For more information, visit the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) website for military waivers.

Montana CDLIS Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)

What is a Montana CDLIS MVR?

CDLIS MVR stands for Commercial Driver’s License Information System Motor Vehicle Record. It is a Montana commercial driving record with all the medical demographic information that is found on a commercial driver’s Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

How is a Montana CDLIS MVR different from the standard Montana Commercial Driving Record?

The two records contain the same information, except the CDLIS record also contains the medical data from the Montana commercial driver’s Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC). The standard commercial driving record has limited information about the driver’s medical status (certified or not certified and the MEC expiration date).

Who can obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR?

Only the driver on the record or the motor carrier who employs or will employ the driver.

What is the purpose of a Montana CDLIS MVR?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR Part 391.51) require employers to maintain a file for all their commercial drivers that includes a copy of the driver’s Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC).

Eventually, doctors will submit the MEC directly to the state and the driver will not be issued an MEC. The only way employers can obtain the information from the MEC is to request a CDLIS driving record from the state driver license agency where the driver is licensed.

How does an authorized party obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR?

Contact the MVD’s CDL Helpdesk:

cdlhelpdesk@mt.gov
(406) 444-3244

The helpdesk can provide the appropriate form and fee information.

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