New Hampshire CDL Requirements (A Complete 2023 Guide)

New Hampshire CDL Requirements

So, you want to become a commercial driver in New Hampshire — that’s awesome!

But first, you need to go through all the steps to acquire your CDL. 

That’s where we come in. 

Here, we’re going to give you a complete New Hampshire CDL requirements guide. In this guide, we’ll talk about EVERYTHING — from what CDL class or endorsement you need, to the requirements, the steps, and more. 

And with this, you’ll know exactly what to do. 

So shall we? 

CDL Classes in New Hampshire

As is the usual in every state, New Hampshire has 3 CDL classes. These are:

  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Class C CDL

Let’s break these down in detail to determine the one YOU need. 

Hold up!

It’s important to note that the following vehicles don’t need a CDL to operate: 

  • A recreational vehicle
  • Farm vehicles used within a 150-mile radius of the farm
  • A fire department’s emergency vehicles
  • Military vehicles

Okay, let’s continue. 

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL allows you to operate a combination CMV with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of at least 26,001 pounds with a towed unit weighing at least 10,000 pounds.

Since Class A is the highest CDL, you can operate Class B and Class C CMVs with this. It gives you the most flexibility and may open up more opportunities as a commercial driver.

Class B CDL

As for Class B CDL, it can operate heavy, straight CMVs with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or heavier. It may also tow a unit, but that must weigh fewer than 10,000 pounds. 

Examples of Class B CMVs are box vans, dump trucks, and sizable city buses.

And, although you can’t drive a Class A CMV with this, you can operate those in Class C.

Class C CDL

Finally, a Class C CDL allows you to operate CMVs that don’t fit the descriptions of either Class A or Class B CMVs. In other words, it operates a CMV that has a GVWR of fewer than 26,0001 pounds and tows a unit (if any) lighter than 10,000 pounds. 

Class C CMVs always meet one of the following:

  • Manufacturers designed it to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver).
  • It meets the definition of a Tank vehicle.
  • It is used to haul hazardous materials in large quantities that must have placarding 

CDL Endorsements in New Hampshire

Should you add an endorsement to your CDL?

Endorsements indicate that you received specialized training for specific vehicles or loads.

Now, there are 5 endorsements available in New Hampshire. If you plan to drive any of the vehicles or carry any of the loads mentioned below, you have to get the corresponding endorsement. 

  • T endorsement  — for double or triple trailers
  • H endorsement  — for hazardous materials
  • N endorsement  — for tank vehicles
  • S endorsement  — for school buses
  • P endorsement  — for passenger vehicles

Each endorsement has its own separate knowledge test, while others have a separate skills test. 

Another thing you should note about endorsements — the NH DMV only allows commercial learner’s permits to have N, S, and P endorsements. You can apply for the rest once you have your CDL. 

CDL Requirements in New Hampshire

So you already determined your CDL class and whether or not you need an endorsement. Next, you’ll want to ensure you comply with NH DMV’s eligibility requirements for a CDL. 

Here’s the list of requirements — see which ones you can check off:

  • Must have a valid New Hampshire-issued driver’s license
  • Must have active driving privileges when you apply
  • Must be of legal age
    • 18 to drive intrastate
    • 21 to cross state lines or carry hazardous materials
  • Must be compliant with the FMCSA’s medical requirements
  • Must be a citizen, a permanent resident, or have permission to work in the U.S.
  • Must be a resident of New Hampshire
  • Must be proficient in English (enough to speak and read)

So, were you able to check off everything? If all the boxes are marked, you’re good to go!

If not, go and work on those first. 

How to Get A CDL in New Hampshire

There are two parts to getting a commercial driver’s license in New Hampshire:

  • Getting a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
  • Getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Let’s walk you through all the steps. 

How to Get A New Hampshire CLP 

Here are the steps to getting a New Hampshire CLP:

  1. Schedule your CDL knowledge exam through the NH DMV’s online appointment system. 
  1. While waiting for your schedule, work on the following:
    • Decide on your CDL Class and endorsement (if any)
    • Ensure your eligibility (you can check the previous section for a checklist of requirements)
  1. On your scheduled visit, bring the following: 
  1. Pass the vision test.
  1. Pass the CDL knowledge exam(s).
  1. Pay the necessary fees:
    • CLP fee: $20
    • Endorsement: $10 each
  1. Get your CLP.

Your CLP remains valid for 180 days, so use this time to get driving experience. However, remember that a licensed commercial driver (at least 25) must be beside you. If you’re operating a school bus, they must be at the seat directly behind yours. 

Also, remember that you don’t have full driving privileges yet. Keep the following restrictions in mind:

  • You cannot operate a CMV carrying hazardous materials.
  • You can only drive a tank vehicle if it’s empty.
  • You cannot transport passengers if you have a P or S endorsement. The only exceptions are licensed CDL-holders, auditors, examiners, and inspectors.

How to Get A New Hampshire CDL

Here are the steps to getting your New Hampshire CDL:

  1. Hold your CLP for 14 days or longer. Just remember, it’s only valid for 180 days. 
  1. Complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program from an FMCSA-approved provider.

NOTE: All drivers applying for a commercial license must undergo the ELDT program if any of the following applies: 

  • You’re a first-time applicant for a Class A or Class B CDL
  • You’re upgrading a CDL Class (for example, from a Class B to a Class A)
  • You’re a first-time applicant for an S, P, or H endorsement
  1. Schedule your CDL skills test through a DMV office (click here to see all locations) or by calling (603) 227-4020.
  1. On your appointment, bring the following:
    1. A completed Commercial Driver License Application form
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Your valid CLP
    4. A CMV appropriate for your CDL class
    5. The CMV’s registration certificate and insurance card
  1. Pass all three parts of the CDL skills test:
    1. Pre-trip inspection
    2. Off-road driving test
    3. On-road driving test
  1. Pay the $60 licensing fee.
  1. Get your temporary CDL. Your official CDL will arrive by mail within 60 days.


You’re now officially a licensed commercial driver in New Hampshire. Hurrah!


Let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions about CDLs in New Hampshire. This way, you get even more information. 

How much does it cost to get a CDL in New Hampshire?

Let’s start with this — getting a CDL isn’t going to be cheap. 

In total, you’ll probably spend around $7,200.

The CDL permit and license fees are constant at $20 and $60, respectively. However, how much you pay for endorsements depends on how many you get (it’s $10 each).

The most significant variable is the cost of a trucking school. Rates vary between providers, but it averages at $7,000.

Do you need a CDL for air brakes in New Hampshire?

Only if your vehicle requires a commercial license. For example, if you have a pickup that has air brakes, you don’t need to get a CDL because you can drive it using a standard license.

If you operate a CMV with air brakes, then you must apply for an air brake endorsement and pass the knowledge test. 

How many questions are on the CDL permit test in New Hampshire?

The general CDL knowledge test (which all applicants must take) has 50 questions. You must get at least 40 right to pass.

Remember, though, that if you apply for an endorsement, it will have a separate exam.

Does NH require a DOT number?

New Hampshire does not require a DOT number for vehicles used for intrastate commerce.

However, you will need one if:

  • You use your CMV for interstate commerce.
  • You transport enough hazardous materials that your vehicle requires placarding.
  • Your vehicle’s GVWR or GCWR is 10,001 pounds or heavier.
  • You use it to transport eight or more passengers for compensation.
  • You don’t use it to earn, but the vehicle’s design accommodates more than 15 passengers, including the driver.

What does a New Hampshire DOT physical include?

Be prepared to undergo the following when taking your DOT Physical:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Blood pressure/pulse rate
  • Urinalysis
  • Physical exam

The Wrap Up

And that concludes your complete guide to New Hampshire CDL requirements. 

So, are you more confident about getting your CDL? Having the necessary information goes a long way when working towards something.

Don’t rush. 

Take it one step at a time. And pretty soon, you will have your official CDL in your hands. 

Good luck!

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