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Commercial Driving Licence

We hear about how some vehicles are classified as personal vehicles while others are called commercial vehicles. It is easy to confuse motor vehicles with a large capacity with commercial vehicles but under the legal parlance, the distinction pertains to the usage of the automobile rather than the built of the vehicle in question. In fact, India was the seventh-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world in 2018-19.

Much like the classification of the vehicles, there is a category of driving licence for commercial vehicles. It is known as the commercial driving licence, and it is permitted to commercial vehicle drivers. In this section, we’ve discussed the steps to apply for a commercial driving licence in India. Let us begin by understanding what a commercial driving licence is.

What Is A Commercial Driving Licence?

In order to be able to drive a vehicle on Indian roads, you require a driving license that acts as a testament to your driving efficiency as well as a reassurance that you are not a threat to the other drivers, vehicles or pedestrians on the road. Therefore, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 provides that every driver on the road and every vehicle-owner needs to have a valid driving licence, secured after passing a mandatory driving test. If you want to drive commercial vehicles, the licence you’d need is a Commercial Driving Licence or CDL

A commercial vehicle driver needs to be rigorously trained and tested because commercial vehicles mostly operate on the highways - and it is even more important to be extremely vigilant of the traffic rules.

Here’s a guide to take you through the various aspects of applying for a Commercial Driving Licence in India:

Commercial Driving Licence Types

In our country, the specific CDL type you need depends on the kind of commercial vehicle you will be driving. Here is a handy list of the various commercial vehicles:

Type of CDL

Vehicle Category


Medium Goods Vehicle


Heavy Motor Vehicles


Heavy Goods Motor Vehicle


Light Motor Vehicles. These would include motorcars, jeeps, taxis, delivery vans


Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle


Heavy Transport Vehicle


Light Motor Vehicle for Non-Transport Purposes


Heavy Motor Vehicle Licence is a prerequisite for a trailer licence

How to Get a Transport Driving Licence?

It is easier to obtain a commercial/transport driving licence if you are aware of the application process. You need to have a learning licence before applying for a commercial driving licence. The minimum age for acquiring a commercial driving licence is 18 in a few states; while it is 22 in others. You (the applicant) must have educational qualification until class 8.

Besides this, here a few things that you need to keep in mind when applying for a commercial driving licence in India.

  • All applicants need to pass a written examination to get a learning licence. After a month of obtaining a learner’s licence, one can proceed to apply for a commercial driving licence. However, note that the learning licence is valid for six months.
  • Applicants can apply for a commercial driving licence online as well as offline, as per their convenience. All they want to do is fill out the application form and submit it with the necessary documents.
  • Once the application is submitted with the RTO, the application will be called for a driving test. The test will examine the driving skills of the individual and the CDL will be granted based on their performance.

Further, we’ve discussed the online and offline process of applying for a commercial driving licence.

Steps to Apply for Commercial Driving Licence

You can apply for a commercial driving licence (CDL) either online or offline

  • CDL Online Application Process:
  1. Head over to the Sarathi website of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and download and fill Form No 4.
  2. Upload all the required documents along with Forms 1A and 5 (training and medical certificates)
  3. Upon submission, you will be handed a serial number for appearing for your driving test.
  • CDL Offline Application Process:
  1. Visit the nearest Regional Transport Office (RTO) and obtain Form No. 2
  2. Fill up the form and furnish all required documents listed above. If your application is to drive heavy motor vehicles, make sure you have a Driving Refreshing Training Certificate
  3. Upon submission, you will be given a serial number for taking your driving test.
  4. Once you pass the test, the CDL will be delivered to your postal address.

If you are itching to find out about your driving licence status, you can check the driving licence status on the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways website.

Once you are well versed with the application process for a commercial driving licence, we’ve discussed below the eligibility criteria and documents needed for the same.

Eligibility Criteria for Commercial Driving Licence

  •     Age: Usually, the applicant for a CDL should be at least 18 years of age. In some states the minimum age may differ - it could be 20 and go up to 22 years in some.

  • Learner’s licence: It is a prerequisite for anyone wishing to apply for a CDL. A learner’s licence is given out after you pass your written test so that you get to drive vehicles for a specified period with the purpose of learning and mastering the skill of driving on roads.

  • Education: The eligibility requirements mention education up to class 8 and the ability to read and understand various traffic signs.

  • Skills training: Commercial vehicle drivers need to receive compulsory training from a government motor school or from a motor school that has ties with the state government.

Documents Required for Commercial Driving Licence

If you fulfil all eligibility criteria, you need to pass the driving test. You are also required to furnish certain documents along with the application fee. These include:

  • Proof of identity shown by Passport, PAN card, Voter ID, Birth Certificate, Class 10 marksheet etc

  • Proof of address shown by Passport, PAN card, Voter ID, utility bills in your name

  • Duly filled Form No 1, 2A and 5 (which include the training certificate and the medical certificate obtained from your driving school)

  • Passport size photographs

What Happens If You Lose Your Commercial Driving Licence?

If you lose or misplace your commercial driving licence, report it to the police immediately and get an FIR. Then go to your Regional Transport Office and apply for a duplicate commercial driving licence. You will be requested to submit a letter to the RTO authorities along with the application form for the duplicate licence. It is advisable to attach a stamped affidavit that notifies about the loss of CDL and mentions that you have filed an FIR for the same.

Further, we’ve discussed everything you need to know when obtaining a duplicate commercial driving licence in India.

How to Get a Duplicate Commercial Driving Licence?

As stated earlier, you can apply for a duplicate commercial driving licence at your nearest RTO after losing/misplacing the original one. You can also obtain a duplicate copy of the original one that is torn or damaged beyond recognition. To get a duplicate commercial driving licence, you have to submit a stamped affidavit and FIR copy along with the other documents.

The RTO requests the following documents when applying for a duplicate commercial driving licence.

  • Form 2: Application form for duplicate commercial driving licence
  • FIR copy
  • Original commercial driving licence (in case it is torn or damaged)
  • Copies of the original commercial driving licence
  • Licence details
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Proof of age


Getting a Commercial Driving Licence is not as hard as it sounds, but you do have to earn it. You just need to make sure you are fully trained and capable, pass the test and voila - the licence will be yours! Furthermore, You should make sure you carry all the mandatory documents, including car insurance, PUC, vehicle registration certificate, and other vehicle-related permits.

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  • ✔️I lost my commercial driving licence. What do I do?

    If you lose your commercial driving licence, you can apply for a duplicate commercial licence at the nearest RTO. The documents needed for it are explained above in the article.

  • ✔️Is a medical certificate required when applying for a commercial driving licence?

    Yes. You need to submit a medical certificate along with Form 1a when applying for a commercial driving licence in India.

  • ✔️Is a commercial driving licence procured in one state valid in other states?

    Yes. Commercial driving is valid across the country.

  • ✔️What happens if I fail my driving licence test?

    If you fail the driving test for a commercial driving licence, the officer will guide you about the next steps after the results.

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