2024 Virginia CDL Requirements Guide

If you meet the requirements for a driver’s license, have a clean record, and are able to pass a battery of tests, you can get a Virginia CDL license.
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you want to apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in the state of
, you need to be at least 18 years old, possess a valid driver’s license with a clean record, and be able to pass the Virginia Commercial Learner’s Permit test.
If you want to know more about what it takes to get your Virginia CDL, then you’ve come to the right place.
can tell you about the whole process.

What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Virginia? 

Like most states, Virginia doesn’t just hand out CDLs willy-nilly. You have to go through an entire
process regulated by the DMV
, which involves providing identification documents, passing tests, and meeting both medical and training requirements. On top of that, you should have a
clean driving record
and access to a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with which to take your road skills test.
Of course, the specific requirements you’ll have to meet are determined by the class of CDL that you’re applying for, as well as the particular vehicle you’ll have to drive.

Virginia CDL classes

The three types of CDL in Virginia (and every other state) are Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each class has its own type(s) of vehicles that the CDL holder is expected to drive:
  • Class A: Allows the holder to operate vehicles that have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,000 pounds where the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the towed vehicle is over 10,000 pounds
  • Class B: Allows the holder to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR exceeding 26,000 pounds or a combination of vehicles where the towed vehicle is less than 10,000 pounds 
  • Class C: Allows the holder to operate commercial vehicles intended to transport either 16 to 23 passengers or hazardous materials that don’t fall under Class A or Class B categorization.
To give an example, a Class A CDL would cover large, heavy vehicles like tractor-trailers and livestock carriers, while a Class B would cover smaller vehicles like construction trucks and school buses. A Class C, meanwhile, would allow the holder to drive smaller buses, medical transport vans, or HAZMAT vehicles (with an endorsement).


Currently, there are six kinds of endorsements that determine which specific vehicles a CDL holder can operate. These endorsements are federal and do not include any state-promulgated endorsements (of which Virginia has none). They include:
  • H for transportation of hazardous materials 
  • N for tank vehicles
  • P for passenger vehicles 
  • S for school buses
  • T for towing two or three trailers over a specific weight
  • X for transportation of hazardous materials in a tank vehicle
Note that some of these endorsements—like H—mandate that you take extra tests and meet additional criteria.
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Minimum age requirement

The minimum age requirement for CDL holders depends on the job description. The minimum age to drive a commercial vehicle within state lines (intrastate commerce) is 18 years. Conversely, you’ll have to be 21 or older and receive an H or X endorsement to be able to cross state lines (interstate commerce).

Medical requirements

Getting a physical from a DOT-accredited doctor is another part of the CDL application process. In order to pass, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:
  • Blood pressure less than 140/90 (160/100 or better)
  • Blood sugar kept under 200 without insulin injectors
  • Minimum of 20/40 vision in both eyes with or without corrective lenses (glasses and contacts allowed during test)
  • Good cardiovascular health
  • Able to distinguish colors, particularly red, yellow, and green (special lenses allowed during test)
  • Able to hear a forced whisper from at least five feet away (hearing aids allowed during test)
  • Able to pass a drug test
If you’re going to be driving interstate, you’ll also need a certificate from a DOT-recognized physician that proves you’ve met the minimum medical requirements. A list of approved doctors can be found

ELDT requirements

Unless you received a CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement before February 7, 2022, you’ll have to abide by new regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in regards to
Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)
Per these new regulations, applicants are required to find an accredited training provider within the
FMCSA database
and complete an instructional program with them before taking any skill tests or the H knowledge test.

How to apply for a CDL in Virginia

If you’re gunning for a Virginia CDL, the first and foremost requirements are a current, valid
Virginia driver’s license
as well as a
clean driving record
If your driving record contains any outstanding traffic violations, your eligibility for a CDL could be delayed or even permanently revoked, depending on the violation. If your license is suspended—in Virginia or any other state—you won’t be able to apply for a CDL. 
Furthermore, if you’ve been convicted of
multiple DUI violations
or have been found guilty of using a commercial vehicle in the manufacture or transportation of illegal drugs, you will be completely banned from ever holding a CDL in Virginia.
If your driving record is squeaky clean and your driver’s license is valid, you’ll still have to jump through a few hoops during your application. For instance, you’ll first have to apply for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before being eligible for a full CDL. 
The requirements are different depending on whether or not the applicant has ever held a valid Virginia driver’s license or ID card. For those who do, all you need in order to apply is your Virginia driver’s license, a
federally-required document
, and a completed
CDL application
. If you haven’t possessed a Virginia driver’s license or state ID card, you’ll need to provide the following:
  • One proof of identity
  • One proof of legal presence
  • Your Social Security card or proof of SSN
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • One proof of your eligibility under federal requirements
  • If applicable, you will need to bring your current driver’s license if you intend to exchange it for a Virginia driver’s license
  • If applicable, you will need to bring proof of name change if your name appears differently on your proof documents 
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documents, bring them to your
local DMV
along with the $3 application fee. 
Much like a standard learner’s permit, you must hold onto your CLP for a certain length of time before being eligible for a full CDL. Luckily, the timeframe is much shorter for a CLP—only 14 days
During this probationary period, you will be allowed to operate a commercial vehicle of the class and type shown on your permit so long as a similarly-licensed CDL holder who is at least 21 years of age is with you. Your CLP is valid for one year but cannot be renewed.
Once the 14-day period is up, you’ll be eligible to upgrade your CLP into a CDL, so long as you’re able to pass the ensuing battery of tests. Begin by making an appointment at your DMV, then make sure to bring your filled-out CDL application and all the documents needed for your CLP with you when you go. The application for a CDL is a bit higher at $64, but endorsement fees are only $1 a year.
Next, you’ll be fingerprinted and have your photo taken, then you’ll have to pass a vision screening. After that, the written testing begins:
  • General CDL knowledge exam
  • Endorsement exams (if applicable)
  • Class A Combination Vehicle exam (if applicable)
  • Vehicle with Air Brakes exam (if applicable)
All tests are taken on a computer and must be passed with at least 80% accuracy in order to move on to the road skills test. The test itself will be composed of both multiple choice and matching questions. 
And so, we’ve finally come to our main event—the driving test. You can use the DMV’s list of
CDL testing locations
to get in touch with your nearest testing facility and schedule your road skills test. The exam usually lasts around 90 minutes, and there is a $50 fee for missed appointments. 
Remember that you have to bring your own CMV—specifically, the type of vehicle in which you want to be licensed—and that it has to pass a vehicle inspection before you can use it in your exam.
Your road test will cover:
  • Pre-trip inspection (don’t forget!)
  • Starting the vehicle 
  • Left and right turns
  • Off-set backing
  • Straight-line backing
  • Lane change
  • Use of lanes
  • Merging
  • Right-of-way
  • Intersections
  • Parallel parking
  • Traffic signs and signals
  • Railroad crossings
  • Curves
  • Roadside stop/start
  • Upshifting and downshifting (if applicable) 
This is a general overview of what you can expect from a CDL driving exam, but your instructor might have a few tricks up their sleeve! The main thing is to be calm and extremely aware of your surroundings—and study and practice hard beforehand, of course. 
Once this process is complete, congratulations! You are now the bearer of a genuine, bonafide Virginia CDL.

How long is a CDL valid in Virginia? 

Your Virginia CDL is valid for eight years and typically expires on your birthday. The renewal fee is the same as the original application fee—$64—plus the additional $1 for any endorsements you may have. The Virginia DMV will send you either a written or digital reminder 90 days before your CDL is set to expire.
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