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You will need a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) if you are:
You are required to provide the following documents to obtain your CLP unless you already have a license marked as REAL-ID compliant (which means we already have this information verified). A REAL-ID has a gold star in the top right corner of your license.
Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) is a set of new FMCSA minimum training standards for CDL holders and applicants. Beginning Feb. 7, 2022, ELDT will be required for drivers applying the first time for a Class A or Class B CDL; upgrading existing CDL’s (Class B CDL to Class A CDL); or adding the following endorsements: hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S).
First, you must pass the knowledge test(s) required for the type of commercial vehicle you want to operate. You can study for the test with the Iowa CDL test app.
Second, you have to obtain a CLP. You will be issued a CLP after you pass the applicable knowledge tests, and you will have to hold the CLP for at least 14 days before you can go to the third step (skills testing) and get your full CDL.
The purpose of a CLP is to allow accompanied behind-the-wheel training in a type and class of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) that your current license (commercial or noncommercial) is not valid to operate. With a CLP you can:
The same rules that apply to CDL drivers also apply to CLP drivers. Certain violations could result in the disqualification of the driver’s commercial operating privileges.
More information about violations and disqualification can be found in the CDL manual.
Beginning Feb. 7, 2022, drivers applying the first time for a Class A or Class B CDL; upgrading existing CDL’s (Class B CDL to Class A CDL); or adding the following endorsements: hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) will need to complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) prior to taking the applicable knowledge or skills test. Once you complete the ELDT, the training provider will upload your driver training certification to the Training Provider Registry, which we will verify prior to testing.
ELDT is a FMCSA program and is not administered by the Iowa DOT. For more information please select the link below or call the FMCSA information line at 1-800-832-5660 or the FMCSA Iowa Field Office at 515-233-7400.
After you’ve held the CLP for at least 14 days and completed the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT), the next step is to pass the required skills and driving test.
You must provide a vehicle that is in good working order and is representative of the class of license you are applying for.
A pre-trip vehicle inspection test is required to show the vehicle is safe to drive. You will have to walk around the vehicle and point to or touch each item and explain to the license examiner what you are checking and why. (You will not have to crawl under the hood of the vehicle.)
Review section 11 in the Commercial Driver License Manual to prepare for and successfully pass the pre-trip vehicle inspection test.
After you have passed the required skills (driving) test, you can obtain your CDL at any driver’s license issuance location. The cost is $8/year plus applicable endorsement fees.
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