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Commercial License: Learn Before You Apply

Driving a motor vehicle is no easy business; it not only requires you to have efficient driving skills but also a good presence of mind as you never know when and how you would be involved in an accident. So, to keep your driving under regulatory check and to legally let you ply your vehicle on Indian roads, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 makes it mandatory for every vehicle-owner to own a valid driving license.

The rule of getting a driving license also implies to commercial vehicle drivers who mostly use this type of vehicle for business purposes. As we know, commercial vehicles are mainly used for goods transportation or for ferrying passengers and include both light and heavy vehicle type. To make sure that a person has proficient driving skills and is well-versed with such vehicles, it is imperative to get a driving license as he is the one who is behind the wheels. This surety comes in the form of a commercial driving license that is just like a permanent driving license.

A person driving a commercial vehicle or owning the business of operating one may face different issues than the one owing a private vehicle. Also, commercial vehicles are mostly operated on highways which require the drivers to be more vigilant and aware of the various traffic rules. So, here's a tentative guide that will help you understand all about the commercial driving license in India.


What is a commercial driver's license?

A commercial driving license or a commercial driver's license is a document issued by the Indian government certifying that the driver is eligible to operate motor vehicles meant for transportation of goods and people on highways as well as public areas.

A commercial driving license is acquired by people who wish to enter the transportation industry i.e. the business of running/operating trucks, cars or buses on Indian roads. This type of license is issued by the regional transport office and requires the driver to undergo a series of written as well as driving tests. A commercial driving license can be obtained after getting a driving license and is similar to the usual driving license but can be used for driving commercial vehicles only.

List of Commercial Vehicle Types You Can Apply

Commercial driving license in India is issued on the basis of vehicle types.

For medium goods vehicle
Light motor vehicles including motorcars, jeeps, taxis, delivery vans
Heavy Motor Vehicles
Heavy Goods Motor Vehicle
Heavy passenger motor vehicle/Heavy transport vehicle
Light motor vehicles used for non-transport purpose
Medium Goods Vehicle
Person holding heavy vehicle driving licence can apply for heavy trailer license

Eligibility Criteria for Transport Driving License/ Commercial Driving License

To get a commercial driver's license (CDL), the applicant must meet the below criteria:

  • The minimum age at which an applicant can get/obtain a commercial driving license is 18 years and in few states is 20 years (the age criteria may vary depending on the rules and regulations of the state).
  • The applicant must have a learner's license.
  • The applicant must have passed 8th standard and should have basic knowledge about traffic signs and rules.
  • The applicant must be trained from a government motor school or a school tied-up with a state government.

After meeting the above criteria, the applicant will have to go through a driving test only after which he will receive the commercial driving license through post. Documents Required for Commercial Driving License

To procure a commercial driving license, the applicant is required to submit the below documents:

Address Proof (Any one):

  • Passport
  • Ration card
  • Voter ID
  • Aadhar card
  • Utility bills in the applicant's name

Age Proof (Any one):

  • Passport
  • Pan card
  • Voter ID
  • Birth Certificate
  • Class 10 mark sheet

Other documents:

  • Duly filled form 1A, 2 and 5
  • Passport size photographs
  • Application fees

How to apply for a commercial driving license in India?

In India, commercial driving license applicants can apply for it online or offline by following the below mentioned procedure. The first step towards filing an application online or offline is starting with filing the form and submitting the necessary documents and here's how you can take it ahead:

• How to apply for commercial license online?

Availing a commercial driving license online in India is a hassle-free process and saves your time and travelling cost.

  • Log in to the Sarathi website in India and download application form no. 4.
  • Fill in the details and submit your photographs and required documents i.e. the age and address proof.
  • Applicants will also have to submit form 1A i.e. the medical certificate and form 5 that specified that you have undergone training from a government driving school or a state government certified driving school.
  • On submissions of the documents, applicants will receive a serial number on the registered mobile number.
  • You will then have to appear for the test.

• How to apply for commercial license offline?

Applying for a commercial driving license is not as difficult as it seems to you.

Follow these easy steps to procure commercial driving license offline in the most hassle-free way:

  • Collect form no.2 from your nearest RTO office.
  • Fill the form and submit your documents such as age and address proof along with a ‘driving refreshing training certificate’ if you want to drive heavy motor vehicles (HMV).
  • Medical certificate i.e. form 1A is also to be submitted along with form 5 that you can avail from your driving training school (Form 5 specifies that you have undergone driving training from a government driving school or a state government certified driving school).
  • On submission of the above documents, you will receive a serial number on your mobile phone.
  • Post this, you will have to give a driving test to get/obtain your commercial driving license.

FAQs on Commercial Driving License (CDL)

What happens if I lose my commercial driving license?

If you lose your commercial driving license, then you will have to register an FIR for the same and get a duplicate CDL.

What happens if an applicant fails the commercial driving license test?

If an applicant fails the commercial driving license test, then he can give a retest after 7 days.

Procedure for Obtaining/Getting Duplicate Driving License?

For procuring a duplicate driving license, you will have to do the following:

  • You will have to file an FIR if your commercial driving license was stolen or lost.
  • If the license is torn, you will have to register an NC.
  • Photocopy of your original commercial license. As soon as you receive your commercial driving license, it's advisable to get a photocopy of the same. You will have to submit the details of your license i.e. your name, license number, birth details, age and address proof, etc. You will also have to submit your passport size photographs.

Can I use my commercial driving license for riding a personal car?

Yes, you can use your commercial driving license for riding your personal car.

Can I get a commercial driving license without a permanent driving license?

No, you can never get a commercial driving license without a permanent driving license.