Reclassifying a Maryland License

For a variety of reasons, you may want to reclassify your current noncommercial or commercial driver’s license (CDL) to a license of a different class (higher or lower). This document explains the most common scenarios encountered:


Fees:
  • When you request either a noncommercial or commercial license (CDL) of a higher class, you must first obtain a learner’s permit; the fee for the permit includes the fee for obtaining the license.
  • There is a corrected license fee if you obtain a license of a lower class outside of the renewal period:
    • noncommercial license to noncommercial license;
    • CDL to CDL;
    • CDL to noncommercial license.
  • There is no additional fee if you obtain a license of a lower class during the renewal period:
    • noncommercial license to noncommercial license;
    • CDL to CDL;
    • CDL to noncommercial license.

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is now printing/mailing one of the most secure driver’s lic​enses, learner’s permits and identification (ID) cards in the nation. All cards are now delivered through the mail within 7-10 business days. The new cards incorporate cutting-edge security features to help protect against identity theft and fraud. The new cards also meet all state and federal standards and are REAL ID compliant. As always, we encourage customers to Skip the Trip and renew their driver’s license or ID card via web, kiosk and mail. The MVA’s online services can be found here. Much more information on our new secure cards, including how to expedite delivery of the new products, can be found here.

Your Maryland federally non-compliant full driver’s license will not be issued at the time of your transaction; however, it will be mailed to your Maryland residential address on file. Your current/previous Maryland driver’s license (if applicable) will be returned to you along with a new interim receipt; or , your out-of-state driver’s license will be invalidated by the MVA with a hole punched in it and returned to you along with a new interim receipt.

Once you have been processed for a federally non-compliant full driver’s license you may use your expiring Maryland driver’s license or out-of-state driver’s license (if applicable) along with the paper interim receipt that you received from the MVA as a valid license on which to drive until you receive your new photo license. You should expect to receive your license in the mail within 10 days. Please destroy your old photo license after you have received your new one.

Additional tips:

  1. Please be sure to change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) prior to coming to the MVA. The license, learner’s permit or ID card will not be issued if your name change does not match the SSA records and is not automatically verified by the SSA files. It may take a minimum of 48 hours or longer for the SSA to update their records with your name change.
  2. You may obtain a change of address form (form #VR-154) at any MVA office, online or the form may be mailed to you. To have the form mailed, please call the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000.
  3. CDL holders must appear at a full service branch office to obtain a corrected license.
  4. Drivers who do not hold commericial licenses can change their address through the MVA e-store.
  5. If you had previously downgraded to a noncommercial driver's license, dropped the school bus endorsement or motorcycle class, or if you have transferred your license to Maryland and it has been less than one (1) year, the knowledge and skills tests are not required.

A commercial driver who wishes to upgrade their license to add a school bus endorsement or add passengers is not required to test in a commercial motor vehicle with a manual transmission if they hold a license without the "E" restriction for no manual transmission equipped commercial motor vehicles. The same is true of commercial drivers who do not have an "L" restriction on their license. They are not required to test in a commercial vehicle with a full air brake system.

 

How do I reclassify my class B or C non-commercial license to a license of a higher class (A or B)?

First, you must obtain a learner’s permit; see obtaining a non-commercial learner’s permit for information about how to apply for it. This process entails taking a vision screening and a knowledge test. For more information about the types of vehicles you can drive with each class of license, click here. If you are less than 18 years old, a parent or legal guardian must accompany you.

Once you receive the learner’s permit, you must hold it for at least 14 days. Note that while you are driving with the learner’s permit, you must comply with certain restrictions and requirements:

  • A supervising driver must accompany you. The supervising driver:
    • Must have a valid noncommercial license or CDL in an equivalent class or higher, which has been held for at least 3 years;
    • When the license is a CDL, must have a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card) or photographic copy of the Certificate/DOT Card and an exemption/waiver if applicable;
    • Must be at least 21 years old; and
    • Must be in the front seat, with no other front seat occupants.

The next step is to make an appointment at a MVA full-service branch office.

You can set up a skills test appointment by vi​siting the MVA Central Scheduling System (CSS), or by calling the MVA Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000 or 1-800-492-4575 if you are hearing impaired. Please listen to the whole message to hear the prompt to press # 7 then # 2 to speak to a customer service representative so you can sc​hedule an appointment.

CDL & and class A & B skills tests are not given at the Baltimore City, Beltsville, Essex, Westminster or White Oak offices. On the day of your scheduled visit, be sure to bring with you the following:

Vehicle of the appropriate class, with a valid registration card.

  • Your learner’s permit.
  • Your current driver’s license.
  • Accompanying driver – If you drive the vehicle to the test site, the accompanying driver must meet the definition of a supervising driver.
  • Glasses or contact lenses (if required).

If you are only interested in driving a noncommercial class A or B motor home or recreational vehicle (RV), you can take a less demanding skills tests. However, the license issued will restrict you to driving only the motor home or RV. For more information, see obtaining a license to drive a motor home or RV.

When you arrive for your scheduled visit you will receive the appropriate skills test. Upon successful completion of the skills tests, you will be directed inside the office where a customer service agent will:

  • Collect your learner’s permit and current Maryland driver’s license.
  • Take your photogra​ph. See MVA photo guidelines.
  • Review the documents you brought with you.
  • Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Have you sign the application. See MVA's signature guidelines.

When you are finished, the customer service agent will confirm the completion of the process by providing the interim document. This document can be used, in addition to the old license, which will be returned to the customer, as a substitute for driving and identification pruposes until the new card arrives in the mail.


How do I reclassify my non-commercial license to a license of a lower class?

You may verbally request a non-commercial license of a lower class at any full-service office. The easiest time to do so is when you renew your license. However, you can also request a corrected license at any time. Review the descriptions of these processes to see what you must bring with you.


How do I upgrade my commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

First, you must obtain a Maryland commercial learner’s permit; see obtaining a commercial learner’s permit for information about how to apply. This process entails taking a vision screening and a knowledge test or tests. For more information about the types of vehicles you can drive with each class of license, click here.

Once you receive the commercial learner’s permit, you must hold it for at least 14 days. Note that while you are driving with the learner’s permit, you must comply with certain restrictions and requirements:

  • A supervising driver must accompany you. The supervising driver:
    • Must have a valid CDL in an equivalent class or higher, which has been held for at least 3 years;
    • Must have a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card) or photographic copy of the Certificate/DOT Card and an exemption/waiver if applicable;
    • Must be at least 21 years old; and
    • Must be in the front seat, with no other front seat occupants.
  • You must always carry your DOT card (or photographic copy of the card), and your exemption or waiver if applicable.
  • If you have a CDL Intrastate Only (K) restriction on your permit, you can only drive within the State of Maryland.

The next step is to make an appointment at a MVA full-service branch office.

You can set up a skills test appointment by visiting the MVA Central Scheduling System, or by calling the MVA Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000 or 1-800-492-4575 if you are hearing impaired. Please listen to the whole message to hear the prompt to press # 7 then # 2 to speak to a customer service representative so you can schedule an appointment.

CDL  and class A & B skills tests are not given at the Baltimore City, Beltsville, Essex, Westminster or White Oak offices.  On the day of your scheduled visit, be sure to bring with you the following:

  • Vehicle of the appropriate class, with a valid registration card.
  • Your Maryland commercial learner’s permit and current CDL.
  • Your current CDL.
  • Your Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card) or copy of the Certificate/DOT Card – If you have a waiver or exemption, you must present it in addition to the DOT card.  See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information.
  • Accompanying driver – If you drive the vehicle to the branch office, the accompanying driver must meet the definition of a supervising driver.
  • Glasses or contact lenses if needed.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) assessment letter – you will need this letter if you want to add a hazardous materials (H) endorsement to your CDL. You will also be required to pass the hazmat law test if not already done.

When you arrive for your scheduled visit you will first receive the appropriate skills tests. Upon successful completion of the skills tests, you will be directed inside the office where a customer service agent will:

  • Collect your commercial learner’s permit and current CDL.
  • Take your photograph. See MVA photo guidelines.
  • Review the documents you brought with you.
  • Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Have you sign the application. See MVA's signature guidelines.

When you are finished, the customer service agent will issue your new CDL.


How do I downgrade my commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

You may verbally request a downgraded commercial driver’s license (CDL) or a noncommercial license of a lower class at any full-service office. The easiest time to do so is when it is time to renew your CDL. However, you can also request a corrected license at any time. Review the descriptions of these processes to see what you must bring with you.

  • If you had previously downgraded your Maryland or your out-of-state CDL when you transferred your license to Maryland and it has been less than one (1) year, the knowledge and skills tests are not required.
  • If your license has been downgraded for any reason, for one (1) year or more, you will be required to obtain a CDL learner's permit and retest to upgrade your CDL.



What is the procedure for converting a Maryland non-commercial license to a Maryland CDL in the same class?

The procedure varies depending on your current license and when it was issued, among other things. If you have a non-commercial Class A or Class B license that was originally issued before June 15, 1998, you are required to take a skills test in addition to the Vision and Knowledge tests. You may contact the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000 for assistance. If your non-commercial Class A or Class B license was issued on or after June 15, 1998, the skills test may be waived, unless special circumstances such as a poor driving record don't permit it. If your license has been downgraded for any reason, for one (1) year or more, you will be required to obtain a CDL learner's permit and retest to upgrade your CDL.

If you are required to complete a skills test in addition to the knowledge tests you must obtain a CDL learner's permit.

You can set up a skills test appointment by visiting the MVA Central Scheduling System by calling the MVA Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000 or 1-800-492-4575 TTY for the Hearing Impaired and request to be redirected to the office where you want to take your skills test. Please listen to the whole message to hear the prompt to press # 7 then # 2 to speak to a customer service representative so you can schedule an appointment.

If you have previously downgraded your CDL to a noncommercial, dropped the school bus endorsement or motorcycle class, etc. or changed your out-of-state license to a Maryland one and it has been less than one (1) year, the knowledge and skills tests are not required.

Skills Test Waiver (Class A or B CDL):

If you are trying to convert or upgrade to Cass A or B CDL, and you have a poor driving record for the previous two (2) years, you will be required to obtain a CDL learner's permit and take the required skills tests in the appropriate motor vehicle. A good driving record means that the driver:

  • Has not had any license or driving privilege suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified;
  • Has not refused a chemical test, or;
  • Has not had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for:
  1. Driving in violation of 21-902 of the Maryland Vehicle Law (i.e. DUI, DWI, etc.);
  2. Driving in violation of a federal law, any states' or local law which is substantially similar in nature to the provisions of 21-902, Maryland Vehicle Law;
  3. Leaving the scene of an accident;
  4. A felony involving the use of a motor vehicle;
  5. Speeding, involving any single charge for any speed of 15 miles per hour or more, above the posted speed limit;
  6. Reckless Driving;
  7. Improper or erratic lane changes;
  8. Following a vehicle ahead too closely;
  9. A violation of a state or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with any traffic accident, and have no record of an accident in which they were at fault.

Commercial drivers must provide the MVA with copies of their updated medical documentation (DOT Card and Waiver/exemption, (if required) for the duration of their CDL, whether they are actively operating a commercial motor vehicle or not. The driver must also declare a self-certification category relating to their type of commerce.

When you go to the MVA, be sure to bring with you the following:

  • Maryland Class A or Class B license.
  • Valid Medical examiner's Certificate (DOT Card), an unaltered photographic copy of the DOT card is acceptable. If required, you must also present a valid state or federal waiver/exemption. See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information.
  • Glasses or contact lenses, if needed, or a completed and signed vision screening form unless the applicant's vision provider has completed a vision examination within the previous 12 months and they have electronically submitted those examination results to the MVA, See vision screening requirements for more information).

The Customer Service Agent will:

  • Take your photograph. See MVA's photo guidelines:
  • Review the documents that you brought with you.
  • Give you a vision screening or scan your vision screening form unless your vision provider has completed a vision examination within the previous 12 months and they have electronically submitted those examination results to the MVA; see vision screening requirements for more information and
  • Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Have you sign the application. See MVA's signature guidelines.
  • You will then be required to pass the required knowledge tests and if necessary the skills test.

When you are finished, the customer service agent will pick up your current license, collect the fee owed and issue your Maryland CDL.

Maryland commercial driver's license endorsements:

If you would like additional information on adding an endorsement onto your CDL license, please click here.


What is the procedure for converting a U.S. Military License into a Maryland CDL?

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration may waive the "skills" tests for a United States service member who meets the following criteria if they are trying to obtain a Maryland Class A or B CDL.

Note: To be eligible, the applicant must already possess a valid FULL (non-provisional) noncommercial Class C or higher Maryland driver's license or a valid Maryland CDL if they are hoping to upgrade to a higher class Maryland CDL using this skills test waiver process.

This procedure is followed when the customer is still on an active duty status or is now discharged (within the previous 12 months of the license application date) or is a member of the national guard and holds/held a valid military operators permit/license issued by the US Military and now wants to obtain a Maryland CDL of the same representative class (A or B ONLY) as their military operators permit/license. If the applicant has been discharged they must submit their skills test waiver application (CDL-SK TST WVR) within 12 months of their discharge.

Note: The transfer of the Passenger (P) and or School Bus (S) endorsement(s) is prohibited under this skills test waiver program. If the customer wishes to add endorsements, see Adding an Endorsement to a CDL (26300.47).

The applicant must have a valid, full nonprovisional class C or higher Maryland noncommercial driver’s license (or Maryland CDL) before they are eligible to apply for a CDL using the skills waiver form.

  1. As part of their military job function, applicants must have held (if they are now discharged) or still currently hold a valid military operators permit/license and had/have operated the same class of military vehicle(s) which is representative of the class of CDL that they are now applying, for at least 2-years immediately preceding their discharge (if they are not still on active duty status) from the military. If no longer on an active duty status this individual must complete and submit to the MVA the skills test waiver form within 12 months of their discharge in order to be considered for a possible skills test waiver. They must also have a good driving record for the 2-year period immediately preceding their application date. See the CDL-SK TST WVR waiver form for specific violation information and requirements by visiting the FMCSA website.
  2. The applicant's Commanding Officer must complete the CDL-SK TST WVR waiver form and certify that the service member is/was assigned in a job assignment requiring the operation of a CMV and that their driving experience has been verified. They will also verify the type of military vehicle operated by the service member to determine the appropriate CDL license classification they are permitted to obtain (class A or B only) as well as any possible license restrictions for air brake equipped vehicles and/or a restricted A CDL (no tractor trailers).
  3. The applicant must pass the vision and any appropriate CDL knowledge test(s). The waiver only applies to CDL License Classes A and B.

When you go to the MVA be sure to bring with you the following:

  • Maryland noncommercial class C license or higher or your valid Maryland CDL.
  • Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card). An unaltered photographic copy of the DOT card is acceptable. If required, you must also present a valid state or federal waiver/exemption. See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information.
  • Glasses or contact lenses, if needed, or a completed and signed vision screening form unless your vision provider has completed a vision examination within the past 12 months and has electronically transmitted those results electronically to the MVA. See the vision screening requirements for more information.
  • U.S. Photo Military Identification Card (if applicable)
  • U.S. Military Operators Permit (if applicable)
  • CDL-SK TST WVR Application For Military Skills Test Waiver (completed by applicant & commanding officer). Waiver form must be presented to the MVA within 12 months of their discharge if the applicant has been discharged.

The Customer Agent will:

  • Take your photograph. See MVA’s photo guidelines.
  • Review the documents that you have brought with you.
  • Give you a vision screening or scan your vision screening form (form #DL-043A) and;
  • Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements (includes reviewing your driving record for disqualifying violations as listed on the CDL-SK TST WVR application.
  • Have you sign the application. See MVA’s signature guidelines.
  • You will then be required to pass the required knowledge tests.
  • When you are finished, the Customer Agent will pick up your current license, collect the fee owed and print out the interim document. This document can be used, in addition to the old license, which will be returned to the customer, as a substitute for driving and identification pruposes until the new card arrives in the mail. 

Note: Inform the Customer Agent if your vision provider has electronically submitted your vision results to the MVA.

Out-of-State CDL Training Schools & Temporary CDLs

A temporary CDL issued by another state or jurisdiction cannot be converted or transferred into a Maryland CDL.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) does not issue a temporary CDL driver's license of this type nor does it recognize a temporary CDL that has been issued by another state, D.C. or Canada for the purpose of converting or transferring it into a Maryland CDL.

A temporary CDL is usually issued when a CDL driver's license applicant (who is a permanent resident of another jurisdiction) attends an out-of-state CDL training school and is tested and certified by that school and or the MVA and is then issued a temporary non-renewable CDL from that licensing jurisdiction. Because the majority of these new CDL license holders are not a permanent resident and are not truly a domiciled resident of that issuing jurisdiction, most of the CDLs issued by that jurisdiction are normally valid for only 30 - 90 days.

It is highly recommended that you contact the CDL training school and the out-of-state motor vehicle administration before you attend any CDL training to find out what type of CDL license you will be eligible to receive.  Many applicants unfortunately complete the out-of-state licensing process and are issued a temporary CDL only to find out that they are only eligible to receive a Maryland noncommercial driver's license and that they may have wasted weeks of time and thousands of dollars at the CDL training school.


Fees:

  • There is a fee for a CDL.
  • If the customer holds a commercial learner's permit, there is no additional fee since the fee was included in the permit fee.



Contact Information:

MVA
Driver Services Division
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD  21062

For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center:   1-410-768-7000
TTY/Hearing Impaired:                  1-800-492-4575

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