Washington CDL holders must soon prove citizenship or permanent residency

June 30, 2015
UPDATE 10/3/18
—For our current process on getting a CDL or CLP, visit Steps to getting a Commercial Driver License. See also, CDL approved documents.

OLYMPIA—Starting Sept. 1, 2015, anyone seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) or commercial learner permit (CLP) in Washington will be required to prove they are a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
This new law does not affect anyone’s ability to get or retain a regular driver license. Commercial drivers are not required to present this proof until their next CDL or CLP renewal or other transaction that requires a change to their record, including name, address, and endorsement changes.
Drivers with an enhanced personal driver license or enhanced commercial driver license issued in Washington before Sept. 1, 2015, are not required to again prove their lawful permanent residency or U.S. citizenship.
This new requirement is due to the state’s mandatory compliance with federal law and one aspect of a broad public safety effort around CDLs that brings Washington into line with the national standard.
Starting Sept. 1, commercial drivers must visit one of 28 designated offices to complete their CDL or CLP transaction because of the special resources needed to verify documents. The full list of designated office locations can be found at dol.wa.gov/cdlchanges.
Commercial drivers should have one of the six approved documents in their possession before arriving at a designated licensing office, including:
·         Valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card issued by the U.S. Department of State;
·         Birth certificate issued by a state or local government. A hospital-issued “Certificate of Live Birth” is not acceptable;
·         Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State;
·         Certificate of Naturalization issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
·         Certificate of Citizenship issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
·         Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card” issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Obtaining duplicate documents can take several weeks. Commercial drivers are encouraged to begin the process immediately if they do not currently have at least one in their possession. Photocopies will not be accepted. The Department of Licensing (DOL) will be unable to complete CDL or CLP transactions of those drivers who are unable to provide one of the approved documents.
Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency is not required to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen card.
More information is available online at dol.wa.gov/cdlchanges or by calling the Washington Department of Licensing Driver Customer Service line at 360-902-3900.

Commercial drivers must self-certify their driver status before Jan. 30 deadline

November 4, 2013
DOL photo

DOL photo

The Department of Licensing recently sent notifications by mail to about 60,000 individuals with commercial driver licenses to let them know the deadline is approaching to complete and submit the required form to self-certify the type of commercial driving they do.

All CDL holders are required to submit a self-certification form to DOL before January 30, 2014. Failure to do so will result in losing their CDL and the driver will be required to get a driver license without the CDL endorsement.  A self-certification form can be completed by visiting any DOL driver licensing office.

This self-certification is required to help ensure state and federal transportation agencies know who is required to keep current medical certificates on file with DOL. This includes all CDL holders who drive commercial vehicles in connection with interstate commerce.

Drivers that operate entirely within Washington state and don’t drive in connection with interstate commerce (intrastate drivers) are still required to self-certify, but are not required to keep their medical certificates on file with DOL.

DOL began notifying commercial drivers about this requirement in 2011. More information is available on the Department of Licensing website.

As of October 5, 2013, there are 194,743 individuals with CDL endorsements on their driver license. These endorsements break down as follows:

  • Class A:  137,681
  • Class B:  52,883
  • Class C:  4,179

Some driver and vehicle fees increasing in October

October 1, 2012


OLYMPIA — Several fees related to driver and vehicle licensing charged by the Department of Licensing increased today.

These fee increases, passed by the 2012 State Legislature, are required to continue to fund the operation and maintenance of the roads, streets, bridges, ferries, transit systems, and other services that make up our vital transportation system.

(Please click image below for larger view of fees.)

State updating commercial driver skills test

August 31, 2011

truck and busThe Department of Licensing is updating the driving test taken by about 10,000 people each year seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) in Washington.

Starting on September 1, the test will require drivers to complete a third backing-up exercise. Along with this, the test’s scoring system is being updated to expand a tester’s ability to evaluate the driver’s performance during the road test. New testing procedures that will better measure a commercial driver’s ability to perform a commercial vehicle inspection will be adopted in 2012.

These changes, developed by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and endorsed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will bring Washington in line with national CDL knowledge and skills testing standards. The new testing procedures have been added to DOL’s Commercial Driver Guide and more information about the changes also is posted on the Department of Licensing website.

Department of Veterans Affairs joins forces with DOL to help veterans

November 1, 2010


Starting November 1, military personnel with specialized truck driver training will have an easier time getting a commercial driver license (CDL) here at home through a new Military Training Certification Process.

This new program allows Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) to verify an individual CDL applicant has the required minimum commercial motor vehicle driver training requirements provided and documented by a military service, allowing them to get into the workforce faster.

Here’s how it works:

WDVA staff will assess the training a military member or veteran received in the military and verify whether it meets the required minimum commercial motor vehicle driver training requirements in Washington State. Once verification is made, a Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate is provided.

Military member and veteran applicants must still take the commercial driver knowledge and skills tests and pay all basic license and commercial drivers license fees in order to be issued a CDL.

Veterans have one year following their release from the military to take advantage of this new program.

In the past, veterans were required to attend commercial drivers training programs that covered skills they had used for years in the military. Now, the transition from a military job to a civilian one will require one less step due to the work of WDVA, the Department of Licensing, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Army Reserve Employer Relations, Washington Trucking Association, Teamsters Union and the Washington Defense Partnership.

For additional information about this new program, contact WDVA at 1-800-562-2308 or contact Ric Price at Ricp@dva.wa.gov

New requirements for vehicles used in intrastate commerce

June 8, 2009

logging_truckby Brad Benfield, DOL Media Relations Manager

Individuals and businesses that register and operate commercial vehicles meeting the weight and load criteria below are now required to have a U.S. Department of Transportation number, commonly known as a “DOT number,” issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The DOT number and Federal Employer Identification Number will now be required when registering a commercial vehicle. Once this information has been provided for a particular vehicle, it will not have to be provided again until the ownership of the vehicle changes.

DOT numbers have long been required for commercial haulers that cross state lines. They are used to track the safety records of commercial vehicles and the individuals or businesses that operate them. Operators who are found to have poor safety records can be forced to improve or risk not being able to register their vehicles in our state.

Applying for a DOT number is free and can be done by mail or online. The Washington State Patrol has an excellent flyer (in PDF format) called New Intrastate DOT Number Requirements for Commercial Motor Vehicles. It describes (with words and pictures) this new requirement and how it might affect you as an operator of commercial and farm vehicles within Washington State. It also has instructions on how to apply for a DOT number.

The Department of Licensing’s website also has step-by-step instructions for determining if you need to apply for one of these numbers and how to do it.

Vehicles that must have a DOT number by June 30, 2009:

  • Commercial motor vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Combinations of commercial motor vehicles including a towed unit with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds and having a total GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Commercial motor vehicles of any size used in the transportation of placarded hazardous materials.
  • Commercial motor vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • Private school buses of any weight or size.

Farm vehicles that meet the requirements above and are used to transport the farmer’s own orchard, farm, or dairy products, livestock, or plant or animal waste within Washington State are required to have an intrastate DOT number, but they are exempt from safety audits and compliance reviews.

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