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A Montana Commercial Driver License is based on where the vehicle is driven - Interstate or Intrastate - and is classified by the size of the vehicle driven. Additional endorsements may be required.

What are the types and classes of CDLs?

Type 1 Interstate allows a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Applicants must be at least 21 years old. 

Type 2 Intrastate (Montana only) allows a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the state of Montana only. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.

Class A License allows the holder to operate any combination of vehicles, including:

  • A vehicle exceeding 26,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) that is towing a trailer over 10,000 pounds
  • Any vehicle authorized to be driven under Class B, C, or D 

Class B License allows the holder to operate:

  • A vehicle exceeding 26,000 GVWR that is towing a trailer at/or under 10,000 pounds GVWR
  • All vehicles under Class C or D

Class C License allows the holder to operate:

  • A single vehicle under 26,001 pounds and transports one of the following:
    • A vehicle that hauls hazardous materials in an amount sufficient to require placarding under 49 CFR § 391
    • A school bus, or any vehicle that hauls 16 or more passengers, including the driver

Class D License allows the holder to operate noncommercial vehicles allowed under a Standard Driver License.

I'm supposed to Self-Certify when I apply for my CDL. What does this mean?

If you're applying for a CDL, you will self-certify on the type of commercial driving you will be doing. This impacts certain CDL requirements as well as restrictions on how old you have to be.

First, you need to decide if you want an Intrastate CDL or Interstate CDL.  If you opt for an Intrastate Montana CDL, you can only operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) within the state of Montana.  If you choose to get an Interstate Montana CDL you may operate a CMV in all states.

Second, you need to self-certify you are exempt or not exempt from the medical qualification requirements.  The vast majority of CDL holders are not exempt from the medical requirements and must self-certify as “Non-Excepted”.  Non-excepted drivers must obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC). 

You may claim “Excepted” status if you operate a CMV exclusively within an industry on the Exception Checklist.  Excepted drivers do not need to obtain a MEC.

The Exception Checklist

What endorsements are available for a CDL?

Special endorsements are required before a person with a CDL may transport passengers and certain types of cargo in a commercial motor vehicle. The following endorsements are required under Montana law and federal motor carrier safety regulations:

Hazardous Materials – security background check required
School Bus – “S” endorsement
Tank Endorsement
Double/Triple Trailer


Commercial Driver Licenses may be downgraded for several reasons.

  • An MEC downgrade due to an expired Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) – if the MEC is not valid, or the documentation has not been submitted.
    • For Intrastate Licenses: the license status will be listed as “Not Certified.” This is not a downgrade; however, the driver's commercial driving privileges are invalid until a valid MEC is provided.
  • Customers who want to apply for an Intrastate CDL must be at least 18 years old, must have a valid Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC), or operate in Excepted commerce status and are not required to obtain an MEC, or qualifies for a Montana Medical Card (MMC).
  • Downgrade to a lower commercial class – for example: if the credential holder determines that they no longer need to hold a Class A CDL, they may downgrade to a Class B or Class C CDL. Classes B and C would be the lower classes. If a driver holds a Class A, they may downgrade to a B or C.
  • Downgrade to remove endorsements on the previous CDL.
  • Downgrade to a standard driver license – at any time a driver may choose to have a standard driver license rather than a CDL.

Veteran Designation

Military CDL Even Exchange

This waiver allows a qualified military service member to apply for a CDL without skills testing. Qualification is determined by the commanding officer, who typically certifies the qualification before the service member is discharged.

The CDL Knowledge (written) test(s) may be waived. School bus, passenger, and hazardous materials endorsements cannot be transferred.

The Application for Military Even Exchange (CDL Military Even Exchange) may be used by service members who are currently licensed and who are or were employed full-time within the last twelve months in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a commercial motor vehicle.

For more information on military waivers, visit the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

You can find more military resources on the military services page.

Montana Commercial Driver License Information System Motor Vehicle Record (CDLIS MVR)

What is a Montana CDLIS MVR?

CDLIS MVR is a complete Montana commercial driving record including all the medical demographic information that is found on a commercial driver MEC.

How is a Montana CDLIS MVR different from the standard Montana Commercial Driving Record?

The Montana CDLIS record contains all of the medical data from the MEC. The standard Montana commercial driving record has limited information about the MEC (ie: Medically certified or Not medically certified, and the MEC expiration date).  Both records have the complete driving history.

Who can obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR?

Only the driver themselves, or the motor carrier who employs (or will employ) the driver.

What is the purpose of a Montana CDLIS MVR?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 49 CFR § 391.51 requires employers to maintain a file on all their commercial drivers that includes all the medical data from the driver’s MEC. The only way employers can obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR  is by contacting the Montana CDL helpdesk.

How does a driver or employer obtain a Montana CDLIS MVR?

Contact the MVD CDL Helpdesk:

[email protected]
(406) 444-3244

The helpdesk can provide the appropriate form and fee information.

Updated Commercial Driver License Manual

As of June 5, 2023 the CDL Skills Test has Changed Sections 11 & 12 have been revised to reflect the new testing procedures. Click on the Book Icon to open the current version.