North Dakota Driver’s License Classes – And How to Get Them

North Dakota Driver’s License Classes - And How to Get Them

When getting a driver’s license, it’s important to know which one you need. 

Now, there are 5 North Dakota driver’s license classes. 

If you’re not familiar with these, then you can easily get confused. 

This is why, here, we’re going to detail each license class for you. On top of that, we’ll also walk you through the steps on how to obtain each one. 

So shall we? 

Driver’s License Classes in North Dakota

Here are the 5 driver’s license classes in North Dakota:

  • Class D
  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Class C CDL
  • Class M

What you need depends on the vehicle you operate. Let’s explore these further to determine which is right for you.

Class D

People typically have a Class D credential in mind when they talk about driver’s licenses. 

This is what you use to drive your personal vehicle to work, school, restaurants, or anywhere else. 

To be more specific, it can operate any private vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of under 26,000 pounds. You can tow a unit weighing less than 10,000 pounds.

A Class D allows you to drive emergency vehicles, RVs, and some construction equipment, too. 

Class A CDL

There are many commercial vehicle types, and depending on their weight rating, you may need a different CDL class.

Combination vehicles, like double or triple trailers and flatbeds, need a Class A CDL. These CMVs should have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of over 26,000 pounds and tow units weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

Most commercial drivers apply for a Class A CDL because it allows them to operate Class B and Class C CMVs, too — provided they have the right endorsement.

Class B CDL

If your CMV has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 pounds but isn’t a combination vehicle, it needs a Class B CDL. Large city buses, box vans, or dump trucks are examples.

A Class B CMV can tow a unit, but it must weigh fewer than 10,000 pounds.

You can operate Class C CMVs with a Class B CDL, with the proper endorsement. However, it does not authorize you to drive those in Class A.

Class C CDL

Most CMVs are larger and heavier, but that isn’t the case for all commercial vehicles. 

Some weigh fewer than 26,000 pounds and tow fewer than 10,000 pounds. If so, then a Class C CDL is needed. 

What’s more, Class C CMVs should:

  • Carry more than 15 passengers (driver excluded)
  • Transport large quantities of hazardous materials. You’ll know if your situation calls for a Class C CDL if you must display a placard.

Class M

Not everyone wants to drive a four-wheeler — some prefer only driving with two wheels. 

Well, you’ll need a Class M license if you ride a motorcycle. That’s any vehicle that meets the following:

  • You use the seat or saddle while you ride it
  • It travels on not more than three wheels
  • Its engine displacement is 49.99 ccs or more, allowing it to travel at 30 mph or faster

How to Get a Class D License in North Dakota

No matter what driver’s license class you get, you will always need to start with a Class D license.

So it’s crucial to know how to obtain this. 

In North Dakota, getting a Class D license involves different phases:

  • Earning your learner’s permit
  • Getting a minor operator’s license (for those under 16)
  • Obtaining an adult operator’s license (for those 16 and up)

Let’s break these down into steps.

Steps to Getting Your Learner’s Permit in North Dakota

  1. Apply for a learner’s permit online
  1. Schedule your knowledge test. For more convenience, you can choose to take the test online. However, online testing will cost $10, while in-person testing is only $5. 
  1. On your scheduled date, take and pass the knowledge test. 
  1. Schedule a visit to a driver licensing office.  
  1. Bring the following to the office:
    1. Your parent or legal guardian 
    2. Completed copy of the Application for North Dakota Driver’s License, Permit, or Identification Form (SFN 6763)
    3. Documents proving your citizenship, legal presence, or lawful permanent residence in the U
    4. Document proving your permanent address in North Dakota
    5. Your Social Security Number

Don’t leave anything to chance — click here to see a list of acceptable documents.

  1. Submit the necessary paperwork. 
  1. Pass a vision screening.
  1. Pay the $15 permit fee.
  1. Receive your learner’s permit.

Steps to Getting Your Minor Operator’s License in North Dakota

  1. Satisfy the requirements for your road test:
    1. You’ve had your permit for at least one year
    2. You are between 14 and 15
    3. You’ve earned 50 supervised driving hours in varying road and weather conditions
    4. You underwent a driver’s education program from a state-approved provider.
  1. Use the Drivers License Road Test Scheduler System to book your road test.
  1. Bring these to your road test:
    1. Your valid learner’s permit.
    2. Certification confirming you completed the required driver’s education course. NOTE: If your school participates in North Dakota’s Road Test Waiver Program, you may be exempt from taking the road test.
    3. Confirmation from a parent or legal guardian that you’ve completed the necessary supervised driving hours.
    4. A vehicle for the test, along with its registration and insurance documents.
  1. Pay the $5 test fee.
  1. Pass the road test.
  1. Pay the $15 licensing fee.
  1. Receive your minor operator’s license. 

Steps to Getting Your Adult Operator’s License in North Dakota

If you have a minor operator’s license, your credential automatically loses its restrictions when you turn 16. That means it turns into an adult operator’s license (or Class D license) without you needing to do anything.

However, if you:

  • Already turned 16 when you received your learner’s permit and have had it for at least 6 months…
  • Are 18 and applying for your first driver’s license…

You need to follow these steps to get a Class D license in North Dakota: 

  1. (OPTIONAL): If you’re starting at 18, you can choose to get a learner’s permit to get supervised driving experience.
  1. (OPTIONAL): Complete driver’s education from a state-approved driver training school.

NOTE: You’re not required to undergo the program, but receiving a certificate from a school participating in the Road Test Waiver program may allow you to skip the road test. 

  1. Book a schedule for your road test through the Drivers License Road Test Scheduler System.
  1. On the day of your appointment, ensure you arrive early at the Driver License Site. Don’t forget to have the following with you:
    1. (16-17-year-olds) A parent or legal guardian
    2. (16-17-year-olds) Your valid learner’s permit
    3. A registered and insured vehicle for the road test
  1. Pay the $5 testing fee.
  1. Pass the road test.
  1. Pay the $15 licensing fee.
  1. Receive your Class D license. 

If you want an even more detailed guide, check our article on “How to Get A Driver’s License in North Dakota”. 

How to Get a Class A, B, and C CDL in North Dakota

The good news is that the CDL process is the same, no matter what class you’re planning on getting. 

For CDLs, your entire journey has two stops. 

First, you must get your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). Once you’ve held it for some time, you can start working on your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Let’s detail the steps.

Steps to Getting Your CLP in North Dakota

  1. Decide on your CDL class and endorsement.
  1. Meet all the eligibility requirements:
    1. You must be at least 18 years old — 21 years old if you want to drive across state lines. 
    2. You must have a Class D license.
    3. Your driving privileges must be active.
    4. You must meet all Federal Medical Certificate Requirements.
    5. You must be proficient in English.
  1. Have the following documents proving the following:
    1. Your identity (it must have your complete name, birth date, and legal status)
    2. Your Social Security number
    3. Your residence in North Dakota

Click this link for a list of documents you can use.

  1. Schedule your CDL knowledge test. 
  1. While there, apply for your CLP and submit the necessary documents.
  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Pay the CDL knowledge test fee of $5. 
  1. Pass the CDL knowledge test.
  1. Pay the $15 CLP fee (an additional $3 for any endorsements).
  1. Receive your CLP.

Steps to Getting Your CDL in North Dakota

  1. Have your CLP for at least 14 days.
  1. Undergo the required ELDT program from an FMCSA-accredited provider.
  1. Schedule your CDL road test by calling 1-855-633-6835.
  1. On your appointment, ensure you have the following:
    1. Your valid CLP
    2. Your class D license
    3. A CMV for your road test
  1. Pay the CDL road test fee of $5.
  1. Pass all three parts of the CDL road test.
  1. Receive your CDL.

If you want more details, then check out our “How to Get a CDL in North Dakota”. 

How to Get a Class M License in North Dakota 

If you drive a motorcycle (either with two or three wheels), you’ll need to go through these steps to get a Class M license:

  1. Prepare documents proving the following:
    1. Identity and lawful presence
    2. Social Security number
    3. North Dakota residence

This link gives you a comprehensive list of acceptable documents.

  1. Download a copy of SFN 6763 (the Application for North Dakota Driver’s License, Permit, or Identification Form) and fill it out.
  1. If you’re under 16, enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course.
  1. Schedule a visit for your motorcycle knowledge test.
  1. Do the following on your visit:
    1. Submit the application form and your supporting documents. NOTE: Ensure that a parent or legal guardian goes with you (they must sign the sponsorship segment of the application form for drivers under 18).
    2. Present the completion card from your Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course if you’re younger than 16. NOTE: If you haven’t completed the program at the time of your application, you can show proof of enrollment.
    3. Pay the $5 testing fee.
    4. Take and pass the motorcycle knowledge test.
  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Pay the $15 motorcycle permit fee. 
  1. Get your motorcycle permit and hold it for 2 months before applying for a Class M license.

Remember, you must abide by these restrictions when riding a motorcycle with a permit:

  1. Schedule your motorcycle road test by calling 1-855-633-6835.

NOTE: If it’s been less than a year since you completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course, you may waive your road test.

  1. Pass the motorcycle road test.
  1. Receive your Class M license.

Even with a Class M license, don’t forget the restrictions. Remember, these vary depending on your age. The table below details it:

The Wrap Up

There you go — all the North Dakota driver’s license classes explained, as well as the details on how to obtain them. 

Remember, having the correct license is essential. Regardless of which you need, now you know how to get it.

Follow the steps we’ve shared one by one and you’re good to go.

Good luck!

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