CDL Instruction Permit
If you are a first-time CDL applicant, you must obtain a CDL instruction permit to operate a vehicle requiring a CDL on the highway. The CDL instruction permit is valid for six months. The minimum age for a CDL is 21. If you are at least 18, you may apply for an intrastate CDL that is valid only in Arizona. Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from transporting hazardous materials.
To obtain a CDL instruction permit, you must follow these instructions provided on this page.
First, have the following documents on hand before you pay any fees or take any tests:
- Properly completed Medical Examiner Certificate or ADOT card (available at any CDL office). You must have a current physical examination. This examination may be performed by a licensed doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, physician assistant, advanced practice nurse or doctor of chiropractic.
- Social Security card
- Valid operator license
- Acceptable forms of identification
- Arizona law and FMCSA regulation 49 CFR 383.71 require that you submit proof that your presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. See CDL Documentation Requirements for a listing of acceptable proof of authorized presence.
- You need at least two documents listed – one must have a clear photo of you
- Or three documents listed with no photo
- One must be listed under the Primary column
- All must be originals or copies, in English, certified by the issuing agency
- Additional documents needed for a name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree). You must first change your name with the Social Security Administration.
- CDL documentation requirements may change without notice.
Then, prove one year of driving experience in a vehicle other than a motorcycle. For drivers with an Arizona license, this information is already available on our database. For out-of-state applicants, your out-of-state license must have been issued more than one year ago or you must provide a motor vehicle record (MVR) issued by another state that is less than 30 days old and shows proof of at least one year of driving history. No third-party MVRs will be accepted.
Finally, successfully complete all applicable knowledge testing. Use the Commercial Driver License Manual as a study reference. The manual is available online or at any CDL office. For CDL offices outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas, an appointment is required to take the knowledge tests. You must pay for the class of license prior to taking the test. The fees are:
- Class A or B permit, no endorsements: $25
- Class C permit*: $12.50 (must have a P endorsement; HME not allowed on Class C permits)
- Doubles/triples trailers endorsement: $10
- Tank endorsement: $10
- HME: $10
- Motorcycle endorsement: $ 7
- School bus** endorsement: No fee
- Passenger endorsement: $10
*NOTE: A Class C CDL must include a Passenger or HazMat endorsement, although, only those applying for a Class C with a Passenger endorsement will be issued a permit. Class C permits can not be issued with a HazMat endorsement.
**NOTE: To add a passenger and/or school bus endorsement, you must obtain a CDL instruction permit with the passenger and/or school bus endorsement for the class of bus you intend to drive. Then, you must take CDL pre-trip, basic controls and road/skills tests in the appropriate class of bus/school bus.
For more information, please see our Permits FAQ.