There are all kinds of driver’s license classes in Connecticut.
If you’re not familiar with them, you might get a bit confused.
What class do you get for a regular driver’s license?
What’s the difference between Class A, B, and C?
What is a Drive-Only license?
What about a Real ID?
Don’t fret. We’re here to answer all those questions and more.
Today, we’re going to go through a complete guide on the Connecticut driver’s license classifications. We’ll even tell you how to get each type.
So let’s begin!
Types of Driver’s Licenses in Connecticut
All the license classes fall into only 2 categories — Commercial and Non-Commercial
Let’s take a look at the classes in each category.
Connecticut Commercial Licenses
In this category, you get:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
A Class A CDL is the highest commercial driver’s license in the state.
It’s needed to drive a combination vehicle with a minimum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds. You must also be towing a unit weighing 10,000 pounds or more.
Class A vehicles include a semi (tractor-trailer), big rig, or 18-wheelers. Double or triple trailers and tractor-trailer buses fall into this category as well.
A Class A CDL also allows you to operate Class B and Class C vehicles.
You need a Class B CDL to operate a single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. If it’s a combination vehicle, it must tow a unit weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
Some examples of Class B vehicles are straight trucks, segmented buses, or dump trucks with small trailers. You can also operate Class C vehicles, but not those considered Class A.
Lastly, you have the Class C CDL. You need it to operate any single vehicle weighing less than 26,001 pounds. It can be used for one of these reasons:
- Transporting 16 or more passengers, including the driver
- Transporting more than 10 passengers, including the driver, and is used to bring students younger than 21 to or from school
- Moving hazardous materials that require a placard for your vehicle
Connecticut Non-Commercial Licenses
Let’s move on to the non-commercial category. Here, you get these classes:
- Class D
- Real ID
This class is the most familiar type of license. You must have one to drive any vehicle that isn’t a commercial motor vehicle.
It’s what you need to operate sedans, SUVs, and pick-ups. It’s also the necessary license if you drive a motorcycle.
Unlike other states, you don’t need a separate license to drive a motorcycle in Connecticut. However, an M endorsement is necessary.
This type of license is similar to a Class D but is specifically for individuals 16 years and older who fall under one of these categories:
- Cannot establish legal presence in the U.S.
- Does not have a Social Security number
Connecticut’s Drive Only program ensures that all individuals behind the wheel know state traffic rules and undergo a road test. It increases the overall safety of Connecticut’s roadways.
As the name implies, it only allows you to drive. You cannot use it for federal identification and voting purposes.
A REAL ID is also known as a verified driver’s license. Starting May 3, 2023, you’ll need to have it to board an airplane without your U.S. passport.
It’s best to get one if you don’t have a valid U.S. passport or passport card. It’s also necessary if you visit military bases and secure federal facilities. And yes, it does allow you to drive.
How to Get a Class D License in Connecticut
Connecticut has a graduated licensing program. Before you can get an unrestricted Class D license, you first need a permit.
Here are the steps to getting a learner’s permit in Connecticut:
- Make an online appointment. Connecticut’s DMV does not entertain walk-in applicants. You’ll also need to pay a $40 testing fee covering the vision, knowledge, and road tests.
- Gather the required documents. Bring the following with you when you go to your appointment:
- A completed R-299 application form.
- A filled out Certificate of Parental Consent if your parents or guardian cannot accompany you to your appointment.
- A non-driver photo ID to verify your identity. If you don’t have this, you can bring any of the following:
- Two forms of identification, one of which must be a primary ID based on this list.
- Proof of your Social Security number.
- Two documents that prove your residency in Connecticut. You can check acceptable forms here.
There are some situations wherein you need to show additional information. These include:
- A document proving legal presence in the U.S. for foreign-born applicants.
- A document proving a change of name (if applicable)
- Pass the vision test.
- Pass the knowledge test.
- Pay the $19 permit fee.
- Get your learner’s permit. Its validity lasts 2 years or until you turn 18, whichever comes first. You can drive with a learner’s permit as long as a licensed driver 20 or older supervises you.
And here are the steps to get a Class D license in Connecticut:
- Complete driver’s education training. The table below outlines your options:
|Driver’s Education||Via a commercial driving school or a secondary school||Via home training|
|Classroom training||30 hours(including the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices and 2 hours of parent or guardian training)||22 hours(The 8-hour Safe Driving Course must still be taken through a local high school or a commercial driving school.)|
|Behind-the-Wheel Instruction||40 hours||40 hours(Your parents or guardians must log your driving hours using the Instructor Log form.)|
- Make an online appointment for your road test. You can do this through the DMV’s online appointment system.
- Don’t forget to bring the following to your road test:
- A valid learner’s permit
- If you completed driver’s ed through a commercial driving school or a high school, you must have held the permit for at least 120 days.
- If you completed driver’s ed through home training, you need to have had your permit for at least 180 days.
- A CS-1 Driver Certificate showing you completed the 8-hour Safe Driving course. A licensed driving school should be the one to issue and send an electronic copy directly to the DMV.
- A registered and insured vehicle with the supporting documents (a valid Motor Vehicle Registration Certificate and a Connecticut Insurance Card).
- Your qualified trainer must be present if you’re under 18. He’ll need to sign a form stating you’ve fulfilled all driving education and practice requirements.
- For those licensed in other countries, you must present your out-of-country license. An approved translator must translate it to English if it’s in another language.
- Pass the road test. If you fail, you need to wait for 14 days to retake it. You will also need to pay the testing fee again.
Remember to reschedule your road test if you cannot make it. Failure to appear means an automatic fail.
- Pay the licensing fee. Upgrading your permit to a Class D license costs $84 online, in person, or through the mail. You’ll receive your new license in the mail within 20 days.
The DMV restricts your driving privileges if you haven’t turned 18. When you do, the DMV lifts those restrictions.
How to Get an M Endorsement in Connecticut
Remember, you don’t need a separate license to operate a motorcycle in Connecticut. Instead, you just need to get an M endorsement for your Class D license.
Here’s how to do that:
- Get a motorcycle learner’s permit
- Get a motorcycle endorsement
To get your motorcycle learner’s permit, follow these steps:
- Gather the following:
- Your valid Connecticut Class D license
- A driver’s license application form (R-229)
- A signed Certificate of Parental Consent (2-D) if your parent or guardian cannot be with you during the knowledge test.
- Schedule your knowledge test through the DMV’s portal. You must also pay a $40 testing fee.
- Go to the DMV office on your appointment date and bring the necessary documents.
- Pass the vision test.
- Pass the knowledge test
- Pay $16 for your motorcycle learner’s permit.
Remember that if you’re driving with a permit, you have to observe the following restrictions:
- It’s only valid in Connecticut and only during daylight.
- You cannot carry passengers.
- You cannot drive on a limited-access highway.
- You must always wear protective gear for your vision and head.
Once you have your permit, you can apply for an M endorsement.
- Complete a DMV-approved Rider Education Program for Motorcycle Safety consisting of classroom and skills training.
- Go to a DMV Hub office and get your endorsement. You’ll either get an “M” endorsement or an “M” endorsement with a “3” restriction added to your license. You must pass the novice course on a 2-wheel motorcycle to lose the restriction.
How to Get Class A, B, and C Licenses in Connecticut
Regardless of which commercial license you need, the process of getting it is the same. Like a Class D license, you need a Commercial License Permit (CLP) first.
Here are the steps:
- Get a copy of a CDL application form and fill it out. You have to request for it online.
- Complete the following through the DMV website:
- Self-certify your driving type
- Upload your medical certificate to the Online Medical Certification System
- Schedule your knowledge test
- Go to the DMV office to take your knowledge exam. Don’t forget to bring the necessary documents.
- Pay for the knowledge test(s). The general information portion costs $16. You pay $5 for each endorsement test you take.
- Pass the knowledge test. These include general information on your CDL type and any endorsements you may need.
- Pay the $20 permit fee to get your CLP term, which remains valid for a year. You must complete your CLD application during this period. If not, you’ll have to redo everything.
Once you have held your CLP for 14 days, you are now eligible to apply for a CDL. Here are the steps:
- Complete the required CDL Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from one of DMV’s registered providers.
- Email a completed Request for a CDL Exam for a Private Citizen form to email@example.com and wait for them to send you a schedule for your road test.
Note: Military members (or if you separated from them within the last 12 months) and reservist military personnel may be excepted from the skill test portion if they meet the requirements.
- Pass your road test. Remember you must bring your own commercial vehicle.
- Return to the DMV office after 2 business days and claim your CDL.
How to Get a Drive-Only License in Connecticut
The process for getting a Drive-Only license is identical to that of a Class D license.
The difference lies in the documents you need to submit. These are the documents you need to bring when you go for your knowledge exam:
- Two documents to prove your identity, one of which must be from the Primary List. You can see the complete list of acceptable IDs here.
- Proof that you live in Connecticut. You must show two documents saying you’ve lived in Connecticut for at least 90 days.
- A document showing your name was legally changed (if applicable)
The rest of the steps are the same. You must also make an online application, get a learner’s permit and take a road test.
How to Get a Real ID in Connecticut
There are only 4 steps to get your REAL ID in Connecticut:
- Check your eligibility for the REAL ID. It’s not available for everyone — only U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply.
- Prepare the necessary documents. These usually consist of the following:
- Two documents proving your identity
- Your Social Security number
- Two documents proving your residency in Connecticut
For non-U.S.-born customers, you need to show proof of legal presence in the U.S. You must also present documents showing your name was legally changed (if applicable).
- Bring all your documents to a DMV branch or partner office (like DMV Express) and pay the $30 fee.
- Receive your new ID in the mail.
The Wrap Up
Now you know all the Connecticut driver’s license classifications.
Whatever license you’re interested in getting, you have all the information you need here.
And even if you aren’t getting any new licenses, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with them so you can help others.
We hope this article has been a great help!