Commercial Driver License (CDL) - how to apply

​The interactive driver licensing guide is a helpful tool for those looking for information on commercial driving.​​​

  1. Study the appropriate section(s) in the Commercial Driver's M​anual​ before taking your test(s). All applicants for a CDL must pass the General Knowledge test.
  2. Topic / Test subject ​Questions CDL manual
    B/C - General Knowledge​50Section 1-3
    A - Combination Vehicles​20Section 6
    Restrictions ​ ​
    ​Air Brakes​25​Section 5
    ​Endorsements ​ ​
    ​P - Transporting Passengers​20Section 4, also​ Section 2
    ​T - Doubles and Triples​20​Section 7, also Sections 2, 5 and 6
    ​N - Tank Vehicles​20​Section 8, also Sections 2, 5, 6 and 9
    ​H - Hazardous Materials​30​Section 9
    ​S - School Bus​25​Section 10
    ​F - Farm Services​10 ​Farm Service Manual

    Note: Beginning February 7, 2022, Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) is required for most CDL applicants. Please take a moment to see if this education requirement is required for your CDL. ​

  3. Take and pass the appropriate knowledge test(s) for the vehicle you plan to drive.
    • All knowledge tests are free. No appointment is necessary. Be sure to allow enough time to complete your test prior to when the DMV customer service centers is scheduled to close. CDL knowledge tests take at least 1 to 1½ hours.
    • Passing grade is 80% or more correct answers.
    • You must present a valid Class D license at the time of testing.
    • Applicants for a Hazardous Materials (H) endorsement must show Proof of Citizenship or Legal Status in the U.S. at the time of testing.
    • All 1st time Hazardous Materials (H) applicants will need to complete Entry Lev​el Driver Training (ELDT) prior to knowledge testing at DMV.
  4. Obtain your Commercial Driver Learner permit (CLP)
    • ​Complete a Wisconsin Driver License Application MV3001.
    • Complete a Commercial Driver Certification: Tier of Operation MV3230.
    • Present your valid Federal Medical Card​.
    • Provide Proof of Citizenship or Legal Status in the U.S. at time of application.
    • Pay the required fee(s). Additional fees are required for the H endorsement background check and fingerprinting​​.​​
    • Your CLP will be valid for 180 days. You may renew it.
    • Use your CLP to practice driving with a qualified instructor or CDL driver holding a valid license at or above the level of your permit.
    • You must hold the permit for 14 days prior to taking the road test(s).
    • In most cases, applicants will need to complete Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) prior to scheduling a road test.
  5. Schedule and pass the pre-trip, backing test and skills test(s) with an approved third party tester​.

  6. Add the CDL classes and endorsements to your Class D lic​ense.

Note: You must pass a medical examination and hold a valid Federal Medical Card to drive in intrastate or interstate commerce in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CFR 391, Subpart E. You must show your Federal Medical Card to the DMV at the time of licensing to avoid restrictions on your license. See CDL medical requirements.

You must complete form MV3230, which tells the DMV where you operate commercially.​​​​


​​​Driver Eligibility Unit
Email Wisconsin DMV email service​​​