How Long is a CDL Permit Good For? Do CDL Licenses Expire?

by | May 27, 2024

How Long Is a CDL Permit Good For?

A commercial driver’s license is a very important credential for a person whose work involves driving heavy, large, or hazardous material vehicles on the road commercially. Therefore, for the realization of understanding its validity, renewal processes, and what an expired CDL would mean to all commercial drivers, this is vital information of concern to their interest and careers of driving without interruption professionally.

Expiration Times for CDL class

CDL expiration times vary significantly across different states, reflecting local policies and regulatory environments. Below is a detailed look at the CDL expiration times in several states:

  • North Dakota (ND): CDLs are valid for 6 years.
  • South Dakota (SD): Drivers enjoy a 5-year validity period before needing to renew their CDL.
  • Wyoming (WY): CDLs expire every 4 years.
  • Colorado (CO): The state allows a 5-year validity period for CDLs.
  • Nebraska (NE): Similar to Colorado, Nebraska’s CDLs are valid for 5 years.
  • Kansas (KS): CDL holders need to renew their licenses every 4 years.
  • Minnesota (MN): CDLs in Minnesota are also valid for 4 years.
  • Iowa (IA): Drivers can use their CDL for 5 years before renewal.
  • Missouri (MO): CDL validity in Missouri stretches to 5 years.
  • Arkansas (AR): Like Wyoming and Kansas, Arkansas requires CDL renewal every 4 years.
  • Wisconsin (WI): Offers the longest validity period among these states, with 8 years.
  • Illinois (IL): CDL holders must renew every 4 years.
  • Indiana (IN): The state provides a 6-year validity period for CDLs.

The different times can affect drivers moving from one state to another or conducting business in more than one state, making it crucial to consider and comply with each State’s requirements regarding the period of license validity and renewal. It is important to know the expiration date of your CDL to avoid penalties and follow state-based regulations.

What Happens When Your CDL Expires?

If caught, it’s a very serious offense because commercial vehicle drivers cannot operate with an expired license. Penalties most often include huge fines, points on your driving record, high insurance rates, and possibly losing your CDL. Penalties do vary by state, but in general, this means very large fines, possibly even having to go to court.

Immediate Steps to Take If Your CDL Expires

If you find out that the driving license has expired while on the road, park the vehicle immediately to avoid legal implications. Notify the employer of the situation and wait for advice that may ask you to go back home or to another place without any more driving of the motor vehicle.

Can I Renew an Expired Commercial Driver’s License?

You can renew an expired CDL, but the process is a bit cumbersome in case of long-lasting expiration of the CDL. Some common steps are as follows:

  • Within the Short Period of Expiration: If the CDL has expired just recently, and if it is still within the grace period allowed by the state, usually for one year or so, paying a fee and doing some paperwork are all that is necessary to renew the CDL.
  • Expired for Too Long: If your CDL has been expired for so long that you have to obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), you probably will also have to take both the knowledge and skills tests again.

How Can I Prevent My CDL From Expiring?

Keep your CDL from expiring, and manage the license validity. Here are some ways to be sure you do that

  • Reminders: Set an update for the expiry date and also set a reminder for the months and weeks leading up to the expiry date.
  • Know when you can renew: Understand the procedure of State renewing CDLs. Most states require renewal notice, but the driver is the one who has to initiate the process in due course.
  • Documentation Routine Review. Verify your document collection is complete and that all your Medical Examiner’s certificate and any necessary endorsements are current.
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate Valid: Carry a currently valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate at all times to verify state of physical qualification to operate a commercial motor vehicle, lest your CDL become invalid/expires.

What About CDL Expired for Years?

If your CDL has been expired for a number of years, it will likely be much more complicated to renew Depending on your state and the length of the expiration, it’s possible that you might be required to start the whole CDL application over from scratch, including:

  • Obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP): You must pass the general knowledge test to receive your CLP.
  • Skills Test: After holding the CLP for a required period, you must successfully pass the commercial license skills test.
  • Additional Endorsements: Depending on the type of commercial driving you plan to do, additional endorsements may be needed which require passing additional tests.

Understanding the Impact of Expired CDLs on Insurance

An expired CDL has huge implications for insurance. A lot of insurance coverage requires a valid CDL before the coverage enters into effect. If you have an accident while operating commercial vehicles and your CDL is expired, insurance may not cover the damages, which can be financially devastating.

Addressing CDL Suspension or Revocation

No renewal exists for that license if a CDL has, indeed, been suspended or revoked. You will have to correct what was behind the suspension or revocation, such as satisfying overdue fines, completing court-ordered classes, or serving any mandatory suspension time. After those things have been completed, you will be able to apply for reinstatement of your CDL. Additionally, you will need to present a current medical examiner’s certificate during the reinstatement process.


It’s very important not to let your commercial driver’s license fall into expired status for both professional status and legality. Primarily, ways in which CDL validity is measured, the process through which one needs to go for CDL renewal, and what it indicates to have a CDL expire is a way one can maintain professional status and continue to operate commercial trucks legally. Always prepare and ensure information on state-specific requirements to avoid the severe consequences of operating with an expired or otherwise invalid CDL. Additionally, keeping hazardous materials endorsements current and valid is crucial for truck drivers handling such materials.

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