Virginia CDL Requirements (A Complete 2024 Guide)

Virginia CDL Requirements

Hoping to become a commercial driver in Virginia? 

This post is for you! 

Every commercial driver needs the right commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Moreover, they need to know about endorsements and restrictions, too. 

Well, we’re here to give you all the information.

We’ll first talk about the CDL classes, endorsements, and restrictions. We’ll then move to the steps to getting your CDL. 

So are you ready to learn about the Virginia CDL requirements?

Let’s dive right to it!

CDL Classes in Virginia

In Virginia, there are 3 CDL classes: 

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

It’s important to know which one you need as this will determine what type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) you can operate. 

Class A CDL

This CDL is for combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. The vehicle(s) being towed should have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. 

CMVs requiring a Class A CDL are usually truck tractors, semi-trailers, or truck and trailer combinations. 

Also, since Class A is the highest CDL form, you can use it to operate Class B and Class C CMVs. 

Class B CDL

Class B CDLs are for single vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds. It may also include combination vehicles, but the towed vehicle should be 10,000 pounds or less. 

CMVs in this classification are straight trucks and large buses.

Class B CDL holders can operate Class C vehicles but not Class A ones. 

Class C CDL

The last classification is for single vehicles that have a GVWR of fewer than 26,000 pounds. If towing, the towed vehicle/unit should not weigh more than 10,000 pounds. 

However, most vehicles (commercial or not) fall under this weight category. 

Well, to determine if you need a Class C CDL instead of just a regular driver’s license, the vehicle should fulfill one of these purposes: 

  • Carries 16 or more passengers including the driver
  • Transports hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding

CDL Endorsements in Virginia

Besides your CDL class, you may have to get an endorsement. 

Endorsements prove that you have special knowledge about operating a certain CMV or carrying a certain load. 

Let’s look at the available endorsements in Virginia…

  • Hazardous Materials (H) – allows you to transport hazardous materials that are required to be placarded.
  • Tank Vehicle (N) – allows you to operate vehicles that transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks with a rated capacity of 119 gallons each.
  • Passenger (P) – allows you to operate vehicles that are designed to carry 16 or more people.
  • School Bus (S) – allows you to operate a school bus.
  • Double and Triple Trailers (T) – allows Class A CDL holders to operate double and triple trailers.
  • Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (X) – allows you to operate tank vehicles that haul hazardous materials and wastes that are required to be placarded.

Without these endorsements, you cannot operate certain CMVs or transport certain loads. 

CDL Restrictions in Virginia

If there is any restriction on your CDL, you are not allowed to break it. 

Here are the 11 Virginia CDL restrictions and why you get them:

  • No Manual Transmission (E) – used a vehicle with an automatic transmission during the skills test. The driver is not allowed to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a manual transmission.
  • Intrastate Only (K) – for applicants that certified in their application that they are for operating Non-Excepted Intrastate or Excepted Intrastate. A K restriction means that the driver is not allowed to operate interstate commerce. 
  • No Air Brake Equipped CMV (L) – for applicants that did not take or failed the air brake part of the knowledge test, or performed the skills test with a vehicle that doesn’t have air brakes. The driver is not allowed to operate vehicles with an air brake. 
  • No Class A Passenger Vehicles (M) – for applicants who used a Class B or C commercial vehicle to apply for a passenger endorsement. They are not allowed to operate Class A CMVs to carry passengers. 
  • No Class A and B Passenger Vehicle (N) – for applicants who used a Class C commercial vehicle to apply for a passenger endorsement. They cannot operate a Class A or Class B CMV to carry passengers. 
  • No Tractor-Trailer CMV (O) – used a combination vehicle for the Class A CDL skills test but the power unit and towed unit are connected with a pintle hook or other non-fifth wheel connection. You cannot operate a tractor-trailer. 
  • No Passengers in CMV Bus (P) – for CDL permit holders with a P endorsement. They are not yet allowed to carry passengers. 
  • No Cargo in CMV Tank Vehicle (X) – for CDL permit holders with an N endorsement. These drivers are only allowed to operate empty tank vehicles or vehicles that previously contained hazardous materials that have been purged of any residue. This restriction will be removed once you get your full CDL. 
  • No Full Air Brake Equipped CMV (Z) – for applicants that did the skills test with a vehicle equipped with air over hydraulic brakes.
  • Medical Variance (V) – the driver has been issued a medical variance.
  • Corrective Lenses (B) – you need to wear corrective lenses to operate a commercial vehicle. 

CDL Requirements in Virginia

One last thing before you can move on to the steps to getting your Virginia CDL. 

All aspiring commercial drivers should meet these eligibility requirements:

  • At least 18 years old if driving intrastate OR 21 years old if driving interstate
  • Must have a valid Virginia driver’s license that’s not suspended or revoked
  • Must be able to present proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency, and Social Security Number 
  • Be able to read and speak English proficiently 

That’s about it!

How to Get A CDL in Virginia

Now that you determined your CDL class, endorsements, and restrictions, as well as meet the eligibility requirements — it’s time to get your Virginia CDL!

There are two stages to getting a CDL:

  • Commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL permit
  • Commercial driver’s license or CDL 

Let’s go over them one by one. 

How to Get Your VA CDL Permit

Here are the steps to getting your Virginia-issued CDL permit:

  1. Prepare the following documents:
    1. Completed Commercial Driver’s License Application (Form DL P2).
    2. Copy of your Medical Certificate Examiner or DOT Medical Card OR an approved medical waiver letter (check your application form if you need this document). You can also read more about this here
    3. Valid and current Virginia-issued driver’s license
    4. One proof of identity
    5. One proof of legal presence
    6. Two proofs of Virginia residency
    7. Proof of Social Security Number

You can check what documents to bring in the VA DMV’s Interactive Document Guide

  1. Schedule an appointment for your CDL knowledge test. 
  1. During your appointment, submit your application and other documents. 
  1. Pass a vision screening. 
  1. Pass the CDL knowledge test and (if applicable) any endorsement knowledge tests.
  1. Pay the CDL permit fee of $3 and $1 per year for each endorsement. 
  1. Wait for your CLP to be mailed to you. Make sure you have your current address on file with the DMV. 

With a CDL permit, you’re allowed to practice driving your CDL class and type. But remember that you MUST follow all the restrictions, as well as have a licensed driver with the same CDL class and type supervising you at all times. 

How to Get Your VA CDL

To upgrade from a CDL permit to a full CDL, follow these steps: 

  1. Hold your CLP for 14 days or longer. Just remember that your CDL permit is only valid for a year. 
  1. Complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from a FMCSA-approved provider
NOTE: You can choose to take the classroom portion of the ELDT before you get your CDL permit. However, you need a CDL permit to complete the behind-the-wheel training portion. 
  1. Schedule a CDL skills test at one of the VA CDL testing locations. 
  1. Bring the following on your visit:
    1. Valid DOT Card (if applicable)
    2. Valid VA-issued driver’s license and CDL permit.
    3. A licensed CDL driver with the same CDL class and type as you
    4. Any documents the testing center asks for
    5. A CMV that falls under your CDL class and endorsement. It should also have license plates, decals, a registration card, and a safety inspection sticker.
  1. Pass the 3-part CDL road skills test. 
  1. Visit a local DMV customer service center and submit:
    1. Completed Commercial Driver’s License Application (Form DL P2).
    2. Copy of your Medical Certificate Examiner or DOT Medical Card OR an approved medical waiver letter (check your application form if you need this document). 
    3. Valid VA-issued driver’s license and CDL permit.
    4. Proof of passing the CDL skills test. 
    5. One proof of identity.
    6. One proof of legal presence.
    7. Two proofs of Virginia residency.
    8. Proof of Social Security Number.

Here is an Interactive Document Guide to help you with what documents to bring.

  1. Pay the CDL fee of $64 for an 8-year validity (or $24 for the first 3 years, and $8 per year after). Also, you must pay the annual $1 per endorsement fee (if applicable). 
  1. Wait for your official CDL to arrive via mail. 

And there you have it!

You are now a licensed commercial driver in Virginia…


FAQs About Virginia CDL Requirements 

What Disqualifies You from Getting a CDL in Virginia?

You are disqualified from a CDL if you get major or serious violations. 

Major violations include: 

  • Getting a DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or higher or with evidence of drug use
  • Refusing a blood and/or breath test while operating a commercial motor vehicle
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony

Serious violations include: 

  • Texting while operating a CMV
  • Overspeeding (15 mph or more than the speed limit)
  • Reckless driving
  • Moving violations resulting in fatalities

You can view the full list of CDL disqualifications here. 

How Long is CDL Training in Virginia?

Usually, a CDL training course includes 120 hours of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training. 

Of course, the total hours will depend on your ELDT provider and the program you get. 

What Are the 3 Tests for CDL Permits in VA?

To get a CDL permit, you need to complete these tests:

  • Vision screening
  • CDL knowledge test
  • Additional knowledge test for any endorsements

How Many Questions Is the CDL Test in VA?

The general CDL knowledge test has 50 questions. You need a score of 80% or 40 correct answers to pass. 

What is the CDL Skills Test in VA Like?

The CDL road skills test includes three parts:

  • Vehicle inspection
  • Basic vehicle control
  • On-road test

You need to schedule your CDL skills test first at any CDL testing location


The Virginia CDL requirements aren’t all that complicated. 

If you just follow our step-by-step guide, the process will be a lot easier for you. 

But as you’ve seen, not everyone is qualified. 

So if you want to get a CDL, best to complete all eligibility requirements and your documents beforehand.  

From there, you can pick your CDL class, which endorsements you need, and if there are any restrictions.

After that, you can work towards your CDL permit and CDL. 

Best of luck!

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