How to Renew a CDL in Pennsylvania

In the state of Pennsylvania, a commercial drivers license renewal notice will be mailed to every current CDL driver approximately three months prior to expiration. This document is also known as an “Invitation to Renew” within the Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and will allow you to renew commercial drivers license documentation via mail, given that there are no significant changes to items such as your address. Should there be considerable changes to this kind of information, your CDL renewal may need to be done in person at a PennDOT office. It is your responsibility as a certified commercial driver to renew CDL license documentation with the PennDOT office. You must upkeep your information and any other certification necessary for maintaining endorsements for things like Hazardous Material (Hazmat) transport. Learn more about CDL licenses and endorsements by downloading our free guide. Below, review the Pennsylvania DMV CDL renewal process and how your procedure may differ, depending on your specific situation.

The Commercial Drivers License Renewal Process in Pennsylvania

The CDL drivers license renewal process in Pennsylvania is quite straightforward for those drivers whose information has not significantly changed. It is similar to the steps for applying for a CDL, in that the information needed to apply, such as residency status and U.S. citizenship, make up a majority of the approval procedure. Specifically, when renewing CDL licensure in Pennsylvania, drivers will need to complete the following:

  • The Renewal of Commercial License application
  • Pay appropriate renewal fees – The cost of commercial drivers license renewal in Pennsylvania will vary dependent upon your CDL endorsements, the period of renewal between two and four years and other factors, like recertifying your Medical Examination Report (MER).

Download our free and informative guide to read more about medical examinations for CDL holders.

To renew a commercial drivers license, you may either present the renewal forms in person or via mail, as long as both your personal and contact information is still accurate. If things such as your address have changed, you must ensure that the PennDOT office has this new information on file. To reconfirm state residency while renewing CDLs, applicants must provide new tax records, lease agreements or mortgage documents. Supporting documentation may also include a W-2, a weapons permit or a utility bill.

Additionally, although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that the CDL renewal process for cardholders must involve proof of their U.S. citizenship or legal presence each time they complete a CDL application, this will only need to be provided once, as when you initially apply for a Pennsylvania CDL, a notation will be made upon your record stating that your presence in the U.S. is verified.

To learn more about required documentation requested at PennDOT, download our comprehensive guide.

Commercial Drivers License Renewal for Endorsements in Pennsylvania

For those wondering, “How much does it cost to renew my commercial drivers license?” the answer is that price may vary, depending on the endorsements and restrictions you may have as a driver. Specifically, the cost of CDL renewal will depend not only on the currency of your documents, but also on the currency of your endorsements for designations such as “H” and “X” for Hazardous Materials, or “S” for school buses.

When it is time to renew CDL license documentation, you may also receive a notification to renew your CDL designations. Specifically, for the Hazmat-associated endorsements, drivers can expect to receive a Hazardous Material Recertification Notice (DL-746CD) approximately seven months before their general CDL expiration dates. With this, Hazmat drivers will also receive a new Application for Security Threat Assessment form (DL-288). This will be in addition to any general Pennsylvania CDL renewal notices, should the dates of the two items coincide. Note that if you wish to retain your CDL “H” or “X” endorsement, then these two items must be submitted, along with taking the Hazmat CDL test every four years.

Similar to the Hazmat endorsement, renewing CDL licensure for drivers of school buses will involve recertifying every four years. This includes time in the classroom, as well as in the bus to cover school bus knowledge as part of an exam.

Commercial Drivers License Renewal Medical Exams in Pennsylvania

Another part of the CDL renewal process in Pennsylvania is certifying your medical condition. If you are the driver of a commercial motor vehicle, then you have already certified your condition in the past. However, a Medical Examination Certification (MEC) can have an expiration of anywhere between three and 24 months. As such, failure to certify your condition with an FMCSA physician before its expiration will mark your CDL license “not-certified.” Note that your general CDL renewal notice may not always coincide with your MEC notification of expiration, since your physician may shorten your expiration date to review certain health factors.

Furthermore, when renewing CDL licensure, a “not-certified” denotation will downgrade your license designation until your medical certification is complete. This will require you to submit the appropriate medical documentation to remove this limitation. The MEC is required, as it will inform the PennDOT office about the way you will be operating your vehicle and provide notice of any potentially exempt medical conditions that might otherwise be barred, such as diabetes, vision/hearing impairment or seizures.