Commercial driver license (CDL) written tests are given at all driver license stations. The driver license station schedule lists all station locations and hours of operation. All driver license stations require appointments for CDL testing; you can schedule your CDL written test through appointment scheduling. Once you have your Commercial Learner Permit, use the online appointment scheduling to make your appointment for your skills tests, (pre-trip, basic control, and road test).

Note: not all stations provide commercial road tests, and some stations only provide road tests for specific classes. Appointment scheduling will only offer road test appointments at stations that accommodate the class your are applying for.

You can also schedule by calling the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) Customer Care Center at 1-866-450-8034.
Please be prepared to pay for your license with cash, check, or credit card (U.S. funds only).

Information on standard driver licenses (Non-CDL) and ID cards is available on the Driver Licensing & ID page, as well as information on replacement licenses, motorcycle endorsements, learner permits, and adding a veteran designation to you CDL.

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

Renewals

You can renew your commercial driver license up to six months in advance of its expiration.
If your license expires, there is a three month grace period before you are required to reapply as a new applicant and retake all the tests. However, your license is no longer valid after it expires.

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 driver license exam station to comply with state and federal authorized presence laws.

Type of Exam Station Renewal Options
Full-service driver license exam station You must renew in person.
Rural, limited-service driver license exam station You must renew in person by first paying your commercial driver license renewal fee at the county treasurer’s office and getting a pre-paid receipt. Take this receipt with you to your renewal appointment.
If you are a Montana resident who is temporarily outside the state and will not return before the expiration of your Montana commercial driver license You may renew by mail. However, after renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver license 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 by mail. However after renewing by mail, your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver license 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 all applicable fees with cash, check, or credit card (U.S. funds only).
    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 hard copy license in the mail within approximately two to four weeks.

New and Out-of-State Applicants

CDL applicants who do not have a Montana standard driver license (Non-CDL) or who are converting an out-of-state CDL 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).

CDL applicants who do have a Montana standard driver license (Non-CDL) must provide:

  • proof of Social Security number.
  • proof of authorized presence.
  • valid MEC.

You must pass all applicable written tests before you can schedule a road test. Once you have passed the written tests, you will be issued a learner’s license, which you must have for 14 days before you can take a road test. All driver exam stations require appointments for CDL testing; you can schedule your CDL written test through appointment scheduling.

It is advised that new applicants use the CDL Manual and CDL Requirements Guide to prepare for testing. Road tests require specific documents.

Types and Classes of Commercial Licenses

Type 1 Interstate allows a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce, and costs $10 per year, plus the $0.50 renewal notification.

Type 2 Intrastate (Montana only) 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 $0.50 renewal notification.

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

  • a vehicle exceeding 26,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) that is towing a trailer over 10,000 pounds.
  • any vehicle authorized to be driven under Class B, C, or D.

Note: Pre-trip, skills test, and road testing must be completed in the type of vehicle comparable to the vehicle that you intend to drive.  Drivers testing with non-fifth wheel connections (such as a pintle hook) 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.
    • all vehicles under Class C or D.


Class C License allows the holder to operate:

  • a single vehicle under 26,001 pounds and transports one of the following:
    • a vehicle that hauls hazardous materials in an amount sufficient to require placarding under Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49 CFR 391.
    • a school bus, or any vehicle that hauls 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

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 (DOJ) may not renew, upgrade, or convert a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement until it receives notice from the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that the driver has passed a finger-print based security threat assessment (background check). 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.

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 855-347-8371 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.
After the official result of the assessment is received, the applicant must also pass a hazardous materials written test at the driver license exam station.

School Bus “S” Endorsement

A school bus endorsement is required for vehicles that are designed or used to transport sixteen or more passengers, including the driver, that are pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school sponsored events. School bus drivers must also have a passenger endorsement.

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

Commercial License Fees

Fees for Intrastate CDL*

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 $36.50 4
72 $26.00 $27.50 3
73 $17.50 $18.50 2
74 $9.00 $9.50 1
75 & older $34.50 $36.50 4

Fees for Interstate CDL*

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

 Renew by Mail

To be eligible to renew your Montana CDL 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 CDL 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.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen (mail renewals not allowed for foreign nationals per MCA 61-5-111)

You cannot renew by mail if you have a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement without dropping the endorsement. To keep this endorsement, you must renew in person.

Renewals completed by mail are valid up to five years. Your next renewal must be completed in person at a driver license station.

How to Renew a CDL by Mail
    1. Download the instructions page and Mail-in Renewal Commercial License (form 21-199A-CDL)
    2. Complete and enclose:
      • Mail-in Renewal Commercial License form
      • a photocopy of your valid MEC (formerly known as a DOT medical card)
    3. Enclose a check or money order for the amount listed in the Commercial License Fee chart above.
    4. Mail the completed packet to:
      Motor Vehicle Division
      ATTN: Mail-In
      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 CDL without skills testing. Qualification is determined by the commanding officer, who typically certifies the qualification before the service member is discharged.

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

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

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

You can find more military resources on the military services page.

Montana Commercial Driver License Information System Motor Vehicle Record (CDLIS MVR)

What is a Montana CDLIS MVR?

CDLIS MVR is a complete Montana commercial driving record including all the medical demographic information that is found on a commercial driver MEC.

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

The Montana CDLIS record contains all of the medical data from the MEC. The standard Montana commercial driving record has limited information about the MEC (ie: Medically certified or Not medically certified, and the MEC expiration date).  Both records have the complete driving history.

Who can obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR?

Only the driver themselves, 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 (CFR) 49 CFR Part 391.51 require employers to maintain a file on all their commercial drivers that includes all the medical data from the driver’s MEC. The only way employers can obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR  is by contacting the Montana CDL helpdesk.

How does a driver or employer obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR?

Contact the MVD CDL Helpdesk:

[email protected]
(406) 444-3244

The helpdesk can provide the appropriate form and fee information.

Contact the Motor Vehicle Division

MVD Headquarters, Driver Services Bureau, Vehicle Services Bureau (formerly Title & Registration Bureau), and Operations & Customer Support.

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