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Acceptable Documentation for CDL Drivers

If you are licensed as a non-commercial driver in Pennsylvania and want to obtain a CDL, you would apply for your permit(s) using a DL-31CD (PDF), Application for Commercial Learner's Permit. In addition, you must also self-certify the type of driving in which you intend to engage using a DL-11CD (PDF).

As of December 21, 2015, all CDL renewals and new applicants are required to apply in person unless the below required documents have already been presented to PennDOT on or after December 21, 2015. The following original identity documentation will be acceptable:
  • Birth certificate with a raised seal (U.S.-issued by an authorized government agency, including U.S. territories or Puerto Rico)
  • Passport;
  • Naturalization documents or current immigration document; 

NOTE:  Non-U.S. birth certificates will not be accepted.  No other birth documents will be accepted.
If the name on your citizenship or naturalization document(s) differs from your current name, you must provide an original marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order document.

The only requirement to prove citizenship or legal presence for permanent residents and citizens will only need to be done once as a notation will be made on your record confirming the verification was made and the date it was made.

Additionally, FMCSA rules require residency documents to be provided by all new CDL applicants, CDL holders renewing their license, and any CDL holder that changes his or her address. Proof of residency can be accomplished by providing one of the following:
  • Tax Records;
  • Lease Agreements,
  • Mortgage Documents,
  • W-2 Form,
  • Current Weapons Permit,
  • Current Utility Bills (water, gas, electric, cable, etc.),
  • Your Renewal Notice;
  • Current License
When completing an application for the permits needed to upgrade your non-commercial driver's license to a CDL, you will need to pay an increased annual license fee and a photo fee, in addition to the permit fees for any privileges requested. The increase fee required as part of your higher annual fee will be prorated based on how many years, full or partial, are remaining on your current non-commercial driver's license.
The fee for your CDL permit(s) will be based on how many privileges you apply for as part of your application. There are fees for each class, endorsement and restriction removal.
If you were never licensed before, you are not eligible to apply for a commercial learner's permit. Federal regulations require commercial learner's permit applicants to have an underlying driver's license.

Applying for a PA CDL When Not Licensed in PA or Another State

If you are a new resident and wish to apply for a Pennsylvania CDL, you must surrender all valid commercial driver's licenses issued to you by any other state(s). The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires that no person shall have more than one valid driver's license at any time. Pennsylvania can prohibit issuance of driver license products to an out-of-state address. New Resident Information Center


Step 1: 

 Acquire a DL-180RCD (PDF) and a DL-11CD (PDF)

Step 2: 

 Go to a Driver License Center with the following:
  • Valid Out-of-State Driver's License,
  • Proof of identity and residency
  • Social Security card,
  • If your name has change due to marriage, divorce or court order, please bring your original documents to a Driver License Center showing the change.
  • A check or money order made payable to PennDOT for the appropriate fees (cash is not accepted at the Driver's License Centers).