Commercial Driver's License

Commercial learner's permit (CLP)

You will need a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) if you are:

  • Applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time or after being without a CDL for one year.
  • Upgrading your existing CDL and the upgrade requires a skills test.
You must hold a CLP for at least 14 days and, if applicable, satisfy the ELDT requirement before you complete your skills and drive test.

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.

  • Provide proof of citizenship (certified copy of U.S. birth certificate, passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship), lawful permanent residency (Permanent resident card), or an employment authorization document (EAD) or I-94 document.
  • Proof of your Iowa residency (your license showing your Iowa address will meet this requirement).
  • All CDL Holders must certify how they use their commercial motor vehicles, which may require you to obtain a medical certificate.

What CAN I do with a CLP?

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:

  • Drive a commercial vehicle specific to the type of CLP you obtained when accompanied by another driver who has a CDL valid for the same type of commercial vehicle.
  • Continue to drive vehicles by yourself (unaccompanied) that your existing license or CDL is valid for. The cost of the CLP is $12. The permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance, with no renewal period.

What CAN'T I do with a CLP?

  • Drive a commercial vehicle by yourself if your existing license or CDL is not valid to drive that type of vehicle.
  • Use a cell phone while driving a commercial vehicle.
  • Carry passengers while operating a commercial vehicle (other than the CDL driver accompanying you, other trainees, and test examiners).
  • Drive a commercial vehicle containing hazmat or drive a tank vehicle that previously contained hazmat that is not purged of residue.
  • Drive a tank vehicle containing cargo.

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.

Make an appointment

How do I get a CDL?

Pass the CDL knowledge tests. 

Get a CLP

Complete ELDT.

Pass the CDL skills and drive test.

Obtain your CDL!



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