CDL Endorsements in Virginia

In Virginia, CDL endorsements are often necessities, and most commercial drivers will need to obtain at least one. Understanding the types of CDL endorsements available can aid you in understanding which endorsements you will need when getting a CDL license in Virginia. Not only can you obtain CDL endorsements with your first license, but you can always have additional endorsements added later, so long as you complete the required testing. For more CDL endorsements information, including the CDL endorsement list and expected testing, refer to the sections below.

CDL License Endorsement Types in Virginia

Understanding what CDL endorsements are available in Virginia allows you to narrow down the CDL license endorsement types that you may be required to obtain for your commercial drivers license. If you are wondering, “Which CDL endorsement should I get?” the answer will depend on the type of motor vehicle you intend to drive. There are several types of CDL endorsements that are each associated with a different type of commercial vehicle, and each endorsement will require additional testing.

The CDL endorsement list includes:

  • Endorsement H – Needed for vehicles that will be transporting hazardous material and displaying a hazardous material placard on the vehicle
  • Endorsement N – Tank vehicles
  • Endorsement P – Needed for vehicles that are designed to carry 16 or more people, including the driver
  • Endorsement S – Similar to endorsement P, but exclusively for school buses
  • Endorsement T – Double and triple trailers

In addition to these types of CDL endorsements, while not an official endorsement, you must also be tested for the use of any vehicle that has air brakes, otherwise you will have a restriction on your CDL license that will prohibit you from operating a motor vehicle that does have air brakes.

Download our free and informative guide to read more in-depth details about different CDL endorsements.

Getting a CDL with Endorsement H Requirements in Virginia

Of all the CDL endorsements in Virginia, having an endorsement H will require the most steps, and will cost you the most. While all types of CDL endorsements do require you to complete additional testing, this type of CDL endorsement will require that you complete a detailed background check and have your finger prints taken. Additionally, you will be required to pass a TSA threat assessment. When getting a CDL with an endorsement H, it is important to know that testing, including fingerprints and background checks, must be performed periodically, in order to maintain your CDL endorsement. Additionally, your initial endorsement H could take at least 45 days in order to be fully processed. Download our complimentary guide to read more about CDL endorsement processes.

Testing for Endorsements When Getting a CDL in Virginia

All CDL endorsements in Virginia will require you to visit the Virginia DMV and pass a knowledge exam that is specific to the endorsement type. These CDL tests are given in English, unless another available language is requested. It is important to understand that while most of these types of CDL endorsements do follow that same general guidelines, an H endorsement forbids the use of any translator.

It is crucial that you study for any CDL endorsement exam, as Virginia has strict rules when it comes to the amount of tries you are allotted on your endorsement test. All types of CDL endorsements are covered thoroughly in the Virginia CDL manual and are used as source material for the knowledge exams. While it may be tempting to try to rush through studying for CDL endorsements, try avoiding to doing so.

In Virginia, should you fail the general knowledge exam three times, you will be required to successfully complete a portion of an approved Driver Training School before you will be permitted to attempt the knowledge exam again. The Driver Training School specializes in commercial motor vehicles, getting a CDL and CDL endorsements, and while this can be a valuable resource, if the Virginia DMV has required you to complete a class, you must return with a certificate of completion before you will be eligible for reexamination. Additionally, if you fail three more times after Driver Training School, you will be required to take additional Driver Training School classes.

While most types of CDL endorsements only require that you successfully pass a knowledge exam and pay all CDL endorsement-related fees, there is a handful of endorsement types that will require additional testing. The CDL license endorsement types that will require an additional road skills test include endorsement P and endorsement S. Road skill tests must be scheduled ahead of time at an available Virginia DMV. If you are unable to make your appointment, be sure to call and reschedule or cancel your road skills test, as the Virginia DMV will charge a fee for any missed CDL endorsement road skill test appointments.

Should you fail a CDL endorsement road skills test three times, similar to knowledge exams, you will be required to complete the in-vehicle portion of Driver Training School prior to attempting another test.

Add Endorsements to Your CDL in Virginia

Adding new CDL endorsements to your Virginia CDL drivers license is a similar process to obtaining them when first getting a CDL, as you will be required to complete the same knowledge and skills tests, with one exception. Those adding a CDL endorsement to an existing CDL license will not be required to retake their general knowledge test for the class of their vehicle. Additionally, you will only need to pay endorsement fees. The same three-time failure rules also still apply.