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Applying for a CDL

When you apply for a commercial driver's license (CDL), you must provide information regarding any previous out-of-state driver's licenses, such as:

  • Getting a commercial learner's permit (CLP)
  • Transferring your out-of-state CLP or CDL to South Carolina
  • Moving from a CLP to a first-time CDL
  • Renewing a CDL or CLP
  • Upgrading or downgrading your CDL class or endorsement

The SCDMV will contact the jurisdiction you're moving from to get information on any and all traffic violations you committed over the past ten years. Your CDL may be suspended or revoked if there are unresolved or disqualifying violations.

Know the Signs

The nation's truck drivers are in a unique position to spot and combat human trafficking. Familiarize yourself with the signs of human trafficking with help from Truckers Against Trafficking.

Database Checks

The SCDMV will check your driving history in other states using the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS). These checks happen when you apply for an original commercial driver's license (CDL), renew a CDL, retest for a CDL, or move from a commercial learner's permit to a CDL. 

Disqualifications from holding a CDL

You will not be able to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) if you have committed any of the following:

  • Drove a commercial vehicle with a revoked, suspended, or canceled CDL
  • Caused a death through the negligent or criminal operation of a commercial vehicle
  • Drove a commercial vehicle without a CDL
  • Drove a commercial vehicle without a CDL with you
  • Drove without a required endorsement

Medical Examiner's Certificate

If you're a commercial driver, you must maintain a medical examiner's certificate that complies with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. A medical professional on FMCSA's National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners must examine and certify you.

Every time you apply for a commercial learner's permit (CLP), commercial driver’s license (CDL), upgrade of CDL license, renewal of CDL license, change of address, or request a duplicate CDL, you must submit proof that you are medically qualified.

You may fax your medical examiner certificate to 803-896-2676 or scan and email it to the SCDMV if it is replaced before you need a new CDL.

Social Security Verification

The SCDMV uses the Social Security Online Verification (SSOLV) to check your name, date of birth, and social security number against your Social Security Administration (SSA) record.

If the information you provide does not match your SSA record, you must correct or verify the information with the SSA before the SCDMV will issue you a commercial driver's license (CDL).

This process will impact you if any of the following are true:

  • You are applying for your first Class A, B, or C commercial learner's permit (CLP) or CDL.
  • You are a new resident exchanging your out-of-state CLP or CDL for a South Carolina CLP or CDL.
  • You are applying for a change in CDL class. For example, if you’re changing from a Class B to a Class A license.

To avoid a licensing delay, make sure all of your documents match the information contained in your SSA record.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

If you employ commercial drivers, you must submit the name(s) of all employees or applicants who do any of the following:

  • Refuse to provide a specimen for a drug or alcohol test
  • Test positive during a drug or alcohol test
  • Submit an altered, diluted or substituted specimen

You must report the employee using the Results of CDL Drug or Alcohol Testing (SCDMV Form CDL-18) within three business days.

SC Code Sections 56-1-2030; 23-3-460; 23-3-430
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulation 391.42; 49 CFR, Part 391;
383.25 (E); 383.25