Obtaining a CDL

When ready to apply for your first CDL, come to a local Secretary of State branch office to:

  • Show proof of Social Security number (Social Security card, payroll check stub, W-2 Form).
  • Show proof of Legal Presence in the United States
  • If you are applying for a hazardous materials endorsement, you must present proof of the following:
    1. Federal Security Threat Assessment
    2. U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Complete an application which includes a statement certifying that you meet medical and driver qualifications.

    If you have had any change in your physical condition since your last driver license renewal which may affect your ability to drive, you may need a special form from the branch office for your physician to fill out before you can apply for your license.
  • Meet driver record eligibility requirements as determined by Secretary of State branch office personnel. 
  • Pass the required knowledge and vision tests. You must pass all required knowledge tests to obtain a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP). This allows you to practice driving under supervision of a driver who has a CDL for the type of vehicle you wish to drive. A CLP is also required for taking the CDL skills tests.  If you do not pass a knowledge test on your first attempt, you must wait one day to retake the test.  There is a one-day wait period for any subsequent retest.
  • Pay your CDL fees.
  • Schedule your CDL skills test.
  1. You must wait 14 days prior to taking the skills test and converting your CLP into a full CDL.
  2. Your skills test must be scheduled at least 2 days in advance of when you are eligible to test.

You must take the skills tests through an approved driver testing business. Driver Testing Businesses are public and private agencies authorized by the state to conduct CDL skills tests. You should contact a tester well in advance of when you want to test.  Once you have passed your CDL skills tests, you must return to the Secretary of State branch office to:

  • Pay a correction fee to add CDL privileges to your license.
  • Receive your CDL.

Related Documents
Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual PDF icon