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Frequently Asked Questions

CDL & Hazardous Materials Endorsements

To best determine if you need a CDL, you can answer a few questions and view the Iowa Department of Transportation's CDL Reference Guide (PDF).

You will need a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) if you are: - Applying for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for the first time. - Upgrading your existing CDL and the upgrade requires a skills (driving) test.

You must hold a CLP for at least 14 days before you can complete the required skills (driving) test.

For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Transportation website.

To change your certification category, please visit a driver’s license issuance site to complete a new certification form.

Drivers that certify to intrastate driving are required to have a restriction placed on their license (“K” restriction). Changing your certification category may require the addition or the removal of this restriction on your driver’s license.

We have compiled a list of all of the requirements on our Getting a CDL page.

The Iowa DOT is required to downgrade your CDL to a noncommercial privilege. This downgrade will happen after advance notice. However, the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) will be notified immediately. Your physical qualification status in CDLIS will be changed to “not certified.”

Law enforcement officers routinely check CDLIS, so you could be taken out-of-service if operating in non-excepted interstate commerce with an expired Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

It is important to renew your certificate and provide a copy to the Iowa Department of Transportation before it expires.

To best determine the answer to this question we have provided a helpful physical qualifications guide.

Medical certificates issued on or after May 21, 2014, must be issued by a medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. This means that a commercial driver who is renewing or obtaining a new medical certificate on or after May 21, 2014, must be examined by a medical professional listed on the national registry.

Medical examiners must complete training and pass a certification examination required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to become certified.

To learn more about the national registry and search for a certified medical examiner, visit the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.

Federal regulations require all CDL holders and applicants to certify how they operate their commercial motor vehicle whenever they renew, upgrade, or obtain a CDL for the first time.

A CDL holder must certify to one of four categories that apply to the type of driving they do. To learn which category applies to you, visit the

Iowa Department of Transportation website.