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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.

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:

Eligibility criteria and documents required 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.

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

List of Commercial Vehicle Types You Can Apply For a CDL for:

In our country, the specific CDL you need to apply for depends on the kind of 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

Steps to apply for commercial driving licence

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

Online Application process:

  • Head over to the Sarathi website of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and download and fill Form No 4.

  • Upload all the required documents along with Forms 1A and 5 (training and medical certificates)

  • Upon submission, you will be handed a serial number for appearing for your driving test.

Offline Application Process:

  • Visit the nearest Regional Transport Office (RTO) and obtain Form No. 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

  • Upon submission, you will be given a serial number for taking your driving test.

  • 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.

What happens if you lose your commercial driving licence

In case of loss of your CDL, your first step should be to report it to the police by filing an FIR. Then you should head over to the Regional Transport Office to get a new CDL, by furnishing required documents, including a notification about the loss and a stamped affidavit along with the copy of the FIR.

You should make sure you adhere to all legal requirements, including a car insurance for your vehicle. Keep your vehicle safe with Motor Insurance at Finserv MARKETS!


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!

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