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Age, Language, Residency, & Education Requirements for CDL Drivers

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The FMCSA requires in its regulations minimum age, U.S. residency status, and English language proficiency requirements that all commercial motor vehicle operators must adhere to.

Each state, in addition, may have their own specific length-of-residency or licensing minimums. Most companies will have a minimum hiring age, as well, that may be higher than the minimum of 21 years old.

What is the minimum age for CDL drivers?

Minimum age for interstate driving for CDL drivers is 21 years old. Intrastate driving only requires an applicant be 18-20 years old, depending on the state regulations.

Graphic showing minimum age requirement for getting a cdl

Do I need to speak English to become a truck driver?

Yes, all CMV drivers must be able to, in English:

  • Converse with the general public
  • Understand highway & traffic signs
  • Respond to official inquiries
  • Makes entries on report & records

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to get my CDL? How long do I have to be in the U.S.?

No, but potential drivers must be in the U.S. and on record as lawful permanent residents and will be required to produce a valid, unexpired, Permanent Resident Card. U.S. citizens will be required to produce a birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or other acceptable proof of citizenship.

While there is no minimum time that a non-citizen must have been in the U.S. to apply for a CDL, some states require having a year of permanent residency and/or driver's license before a driver is allowed to get a CDL.

What are the education requirements for truck drivers?

The FMCSA doesn't set out any minimum education requirements for getting your CDL, but many, if not most, trucking companies and schools will require an applicant to have a high school diploma or GED.

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