Alaska Department of Administration, Divison of Motor Vehicles
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Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

Congratulations on seeking a license to drive a commercial vehicle. We have provided this information to help you prepare and apply for your Alaska Commercial Driver's License, also called CDL. Many jobs require operating large trucks or trailers, transporting passengers, or transporting hazardous material. You need a Commercial Driver's License to legally drive such vehicles:

  • When the vehicle or truck and trailer combination is more than 26,000 pounds
  • When driving a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers
  • When transporting hazardous materials

Requirements

You must be an Alaska resident at least 18 years old and have held a driver's license for at least a year, then you may begin to earn your commercial license by first applying for a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP).

Waivers and Exemptions

Alaskans who live off the road system may be exempt from some requirements, please read Guide to Rural Driving

Veteran's may be eligible for a road skills test waiver, please read more about Military and Veteran Support.

If you already have a CDL from another state, please read about transferring a CDL from another state.

What is a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP)?

In order to get a license, you must first earn a commercial learner's permit (called CLP). A CLP allows you to drive with a qualified driver in order to learn the skills needed to operate a vehicle safely. You must wait 14 days after earning your learner's permit to apply for your license.

There are different types of CLPs. In order to know which to apply for, you must know the type and purpose of vehicle you will be driving:

  • How heavy is the vehicle you will be driving? (see Classes)
  • What type of license will you need? (see Endorsements)

How do I get my CLP?

To get your CLP, you must submit proof of identification, application forms and your medical card, and then complete knowledge tests at your local DMV Office.

For more information, please visit Commercial Learner's Permit.

What is a CDL?

As an Alaska resident, your CDL will allow you to legally drive commercial vehicles within Alaska and may allow you to drive such vehicles in other states.

How do I get my CDL?

After obtaining your Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP), you have 180 days to scheduled and complete your road skills test. (Please note, you may resubmit your forms to extend your permit another 180 days; however, you may only extend a permit once.)

To complete your CDL you must:

  • For at least 14 days, have a CLP matching the class & endorsement for your license
  • Practice driving with a qualified driver (see Restrictions)
  • Schedule a road test (see Schedule a Road Test Online)
  • Successfully complete a road test with vehicle matching the class & endorsement of license you wish to obtain

How can I transfer a CDL from another State?

For drivers temporarily in Alaska due to seasonal work
You must have a valid CDL from your home state in order to drive a commercial motor vehicle. You do not need to apply for an Alaska Commercial Drivers License.
For drivers who intend to remain in Alaska
You must obtain an Alaska CDL license within 30 days of moving to Alaska
If your license from another state is current
To transfer a CDL from another State, you must follow the steps to apply for a CLP and CDL; However, some knowledge and road skills tests may be waived.
If your license from another state has expired
To transfer a CDL from another State, you must follow the steps to apply for a CLP and CDL. However, you may be required to re-take some tests.
  • Over one year ago, you will be required to pass all knowledge tests.
  • Over five years ago, you will be required to pass all knowledge and road skills tests.

Laws and Regulations for Commercial Drivers

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial driving "requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle." In addition to the skills and knowledge needed to operate a vehicle, there are laws at the local, state, and federal level that you must comply with. It is your responsibility to know and follow these laws. For additional information, please refer to: