Commercial Driver License

Indiana Commercial Driver's License

An Indiana CDL allows the holder to operate commercial motor vehicles or combinations of vehicles with declared gross vehicle weight ratings in excess of 26,000 pounds; vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people, including the driver; and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials. CDL requirements are stricter than any other Indiana driver's license and are based upon stringent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. To get a CDL you must be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, and be at least 18 years old if you will be transporting property within state lines or at least 21 years old if you will be transporting people. You must have held a valid driver's license for at least one year. You must also hold a CDL learner's permit.

For information on a non-domiciled CDL, please see the Non-Domiciled CDL section below.

Obtaining a Commercial Driver's License

Knowledge and Skills Examinations

To obtain a CDL in Indiana, you must pass a knowledge exam and a CDL skills exam in a vehicle representative of the class of CDL you will receive. The CDL skills exam must be taken at a BMV-authorized examination site and consists of a pre-trip inspection exam, a basic control skills exam and the road trip exam. Authorized examination sites electronically transmit the skills exam results to the BMV to increase security and accuracy.

The Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), all knowledge exams, and CDL skills exams are valid for 180 days. Renewal of a CLP may require retaking the knowledge exam.

Medical Examination

When applying for your first CDL or CLP in Indiana, you must provide a valid Medical Examination Report (MER) and Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC). To maintain a valid CLP or CDL, you must provide a valid MER and MEC prior to the expiration of your current MER and MEC on file with the BMV.

Is your medical examiner certified to administer a CDL medical examination? The BMV only accepts the MER and MEC if completed by a medical examiner certified by the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

For information on the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, visit the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners Rules and Regulations.

As of April 2016, the current FMCSA-approved MER Form, MCSA-5875 and MEC Form, MCSA-5876 provided to you by the FMCSA Certified Medical Examiner must be provided to the BMV for updating your medical status. Failure to provide these documents will result in the medical status of “Not Certified” and the downgrade of any CLP or CDL to base license privileges only.

Indiana applicants must provide both the MER and MEC.

Use one of the following options to submit the completed MER and MEC:

  • Fax to 317-974-1613
  • Submit document to any BMV branch
  • Mail to:
    Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: CDL Programs
    100 North Senate Avenue, IGCN, Room N 481
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

If you have questions regarding your MER and MEC or want to know the status of your forms, view your Driver Record using your myBMV account or contact the BMV at 888-692-6841.

Truck Driver Training Schools

The BMV coordinates the licensing and oversight of all driver education schools and instructors. Whether you are interested in driver training programs, Ride Safe Indiana (RSI)-authorized motorcycle operator safety education courses, or truck driver training courses, you can now find information on all of these areas on myBMV.com. Select the appropriate link(s) to find the specific driver training information that you need.

For information and questions regarding truck driver training schools and instructor licensing please contact the CDL Programs department by email at BMVCDL@bmv.in.gov.

Non-Domiciled CDL 

If you are applying for a non-domiciled CDL, all qualifications for a CDL apply and you must provide an employment authorization document. A non-domiciled CDL may be issued to an individual who has certain lawful temporary status. You do not qualify for a non-domiciled CDL if you are from Mexico or Canada.

Transferring a CDL From Out of State

The BMV will conduct a driver record search using the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) for all license holders transferring to Indiana from another state. If your CDLIS Pointer (Driver History) from your prior state of record is not available, or your CDLIS Pointer is incomplete, there will be a delay in processing your application for a license in the State of Indiana.

The BMV will contact the licensing officials in the state(s) where the license was previously held to complete this process. When the BMV has received the required information, the applicant will be contacted by the BMV to return to the license branch to complete processing.

You must meet all requirements to transfer a driver’s license and pass the general knowledge written exams to transfer a CDL to Indiana. If you have a hazardous materials endorsement on your current CDL, you will be required to pass that knowledge exam and have acceptable threat assessment approval to be issued the endorsement on an Indiana license.

Renewing or Replacing a CDL

A CDL issued in Indiana is valid for four years. You may renew your CDL at any BMV branch up to one year before the license expires.

To replace a CDL, you will need to visit any BMV branch and present certain documents of identification.

Re-Applying For a CDL

If you voluntarily surrender or relinquish your CDL and would like to re-apply for commercial driving privileges after one year, you must obtain a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP), pass all necessary knowledge exams and CDL skills exams, and provide a valid MER and MEC (unless these are already on file with the BMV).

Military CDL Skills Examination Waiver Program

The BMV may waive the required CDL skills exam for select veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with specific drive training, and for those who were truck drivers during their military service, when they apply for an Indiana CDL after issuance of a CLP.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) FEES

Your commercial driver's license (CDL) expires on your birthday and a late fee will be charged if the license is renewed after that date. If your birthday falls on a day when BMV branches are closed, such as a Sunday or a Monday, your license will remain valid until the end of the next business day.

Endorsements and Restrictions

Hazardous Materials Endorsement

In order to comply with the threat assessment measures required by the U.S.A. Patriot Act, all individuals who hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement must have their fingerprints recorded.

If you do not currently hold or need to renew a hazardous materials endorsement, you will need to complete the threat assessment and pass the hazardous materials knowledge examination before the endorsement can be issued or reissued to you. If you are moving to Indiana from another state and have a hazardous material endorsement on your out-of-state CDL, you may need to complete a new threat assessment and pass the hazardous materials knowledge examination. The threat assessment approval is valid for five years. More information on the threat assessment is available on the Transportation Security Administration's website.

Fingerprinting Service Locations

Fingerprinting services are not available at Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branches. Instead, all hazardous materials endorsement applications and fingerprinting services are conducted at TSA-approved enrollment centers

Indiana drivers can apply for a hazardous materials endorsement online https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/#hme-home or by contacting the Enrollment Center at 855-347-8371. You must complete the application before being fingerprinted. Once you have been approved for the hazardous materials endorsement, you may visit a license branch to complete your renewal process.

Enrollment centers strictly enforce the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) HME Threat Assessment Program’s identity and citizenship/immigration documentation requirements. The name the applicant provides at enrollment must match what is on his or her documents unless there is a court-ordered document that links the different names. Please note that the common combinations of (1) driver’s license and (2) Social Security card or DOT medical card are no longer a valid combination of items to bring for enrollment. Many drivers have been through the TSA security threat assessment before and may not be aware of the new document requirements. Please review the requirements before visiting a site to be fingerprinted.

Types of Commercial Driver's License Endorsements

The following endorsements apply only to individuals with commercial driver's licenses:

  • Endorsement H – Hazardous materials
    The driver is allowed to transport any material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under sub-§ F of 49 CFR § 172 or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR §73. The person must also complete a Transportation Safety Authority background screening.
  • Endorsement N – Tank vehicle
    The driver is allowed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis. A commercial motor vehicle transporting an empty storage container tank, not designed for transportation, with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more and which is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer, is not considered a tank vehicle.
  • Endorsement P – Passenger transport
    The driver is allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • Endorsement S – School bus
    The driver is allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle used to transport pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events.
  • Endorsement T – Double or triple trailers
    The driver is allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle with two or three separate trailers attached.
  • Endorsement X – Tank vehicles and hazardous materials
    The driver is allowed to transport hazardous materials and tanker vehicles as specified above under the H and N endorsements.

Motorcycle Endorsement

  • Endorsement L – Motorcycle Endorsement
    The driver has satisfactorily completed motorcycle skills and knowledge testing required by the State of Indiana. This endorsement allows the driver to legally operate a motorcycle on Indiana roads.

Commercial Driver's License Restrictions

These restrictions are in addition to any driver's license restrictions and are added to a driver's commercial driver's license based on the driver passing the required commercial driver's license knowledge exams or skills tests. The following is a list of restrictions that may be added to a commercial driver's license:

  • E – Automatic transmission CMV
  • K – CDL Intrastate Only (operating intrastate commerce)
  • L – No Air Brake CMV
  • M – No Class A passenger vehicle
  • N – No Class A and B passenger vehicle
  • O – No Tractor-Trailer CMV
  • P – No Passengers in CMV Bus
  • Q – Bus only
  • R – Valid for Restricted Agricultural CDL Privileges Only when presented with Seasonal Validation Document
  • T – Hazmat prohibited
  • X – No cargo in CMV tank vehicle
  • Z – No Full Air Brake-equipped CMV

Forms and Applications for CDLs

Frequently Asked Questions about CDL

When Do I Need a CDL?
You will need to obtain a CDL if you operate a commercial motor vehicle that:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds; or
  • Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
  • Is any size and is carrying hazardous materials which require placarding

How Do I Obtain a CDL?

  • Have a valid Indiana operator’s license;
  • Have a valid United States Social Security number;
  • Be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • Pass a DOT physical examination;
  • Pass a skills test in a vehicle class you intend to operate after acquiring a CLP; and
  • Obtain a commercial driver’s license learner’s permit and pass one or more of the written knowledge exam.

A CDL skills exam must be taken at one of the authorized CDL driving skills exam sites. There you will demonstrate your knowledge and skills of operating a commercial motor vehicle.

If a driver’s CDL has been expired, disqualified, canceled, revoked, invalidated or voluntarily surrendered for more than one year, the holder must pass all knowledge and skills exams prior to issuance of the CDL license [140 IAC 7-3-17.5(d)]. 

The DOT Physical Examination forms are available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/medical. Copies are also available at any Indiana BMV branch.

Companies and individual drivers can check the processing status of a DOT physical examination form by calling 888-692-6841 and selecting option number three.

Military CDL Skills Waiver Program

The BMV may waive the required skills test for select veterans or active duty personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces who were/are truck drivers during their military service if the applicant applies within one year of discharge and meets all requirements.

All military applicants must pass the required written test(s); prove that they are regularly employed (or were regularly employed) in a military position requiring operation of a CMV within one year; and certify that during the two years immediately preceding the application for an Indiana CDL they met the following requirements:

  • Has not had more than one license (except for a military license);
  • Has not had any license suspended, revoked, or cancelled;
  • Has not had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for the disqualifying offenses contained in § 383.51(b);
  • Has not had more than one conviction for any type of motor vehicle for serious traffic violations contained in § 383.51(b);
  • Has not had any conviction for a violation of military, state, or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with any traffic accident, and has no record of an accident in which the applicant was at fault; and
  • Was operating a vehicle representative of the CMV the driver applicant operates or expects to operate.

Please follow these steps to apply:

  • Visit a BMV branch, pass required written tests(s) and have Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) issued.
  • Complete, save, and print the "Certification for Military CDL Skills Test Waiver" form. Secure the signature of the applicant’s Commanding Officer, or responsible person in the applicant’s military chain of command, attesting to the applicant’s military driving experience; and
  • Provide copy of DD214 or proof of currently active duty; and
  • Provide letter from commander stating applicant has operated a CMV for at least two years immediately preceding discharge from the military; and
  • Provide a copy of military CDL.

Use one of the following options to submit the completed application packet..

  • Fax 317-974-1615;
  • Drop documents off at any BMV branch; or
  • Mail to:

Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Attn: CDL Programs
100 North Senate Avenue
IGCN, Room N 481
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Applications will be processed and the applicant will be contacted once the submitted documents are verified.