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Commercial Driver's Licence (CDL) FYI

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For Information (I searched but couldn't find any discussion here on VJ about CDL).


There are two parts of interest to this topic. The first relates to general driver's licence information, the second to CDL.


I have an Australian truck licence (American CDL-A equivalent), and while waiting for my EAD and GC I thought I'd start the process of getting my driver's licence here so I could get the ball rolling on the CDL, so that when I get my EAD I can at least say I've got my local driver's licence as the starting point, if not the full CDL.


Well, I found out that it just doesn't work that way. First of all, the driver's licence is set to expire on the date of whatever document has an expiry date. In my case, the only thing they would accept was my I-94, and the stamp in my passport, which indicates an expiry date of the K-1 Visa of January 24. So my driver's licence arrived yesterday (17th), and TADAA!!, it expires on the 24th of this month. Yay me.


The good news is that my EAD is expected to be granted before the end of this month, so I can just go down to the licence bureau, show it to them and they'll renew the driver's licence with the new expiry date of whatever is the EAD expiry date (12 months?).


So on to the second part, about the CDL.


In Missouri, I have to hold a valid (non expired!) state driver's licence before I can go and apply for a CLP (Commercial Licence Permit), but that's only part of the story. Here's where it gets interesting:


  1. I can't have a "real" MO driver's licence without at least a valid EAD.
  2. The MO driver's licence will expire with the EAD expiry.
  3. Issuing a Commercial Licence Permit will not occur unless:
  • I have a valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card issued by USCIS or INS (I was advised verbally that they will accept a copy of the NOA with all the info on it).


  • I have a written job offer stating that a condition of my employment is that I have a Commercial Driver's Licence. In this case, they will issue the CLP and then CDL. This second point was only verbal advice, and there is nothing in the online copy of the Federal law that indicates this would be possible, so if you the reader rely on this you should expect the answer to be "no".


Here is the link to the Federal law on these things (scroll down to Table 1 in this section):



Unlike other training courses that we may undertake while waiting for our EAD or GC, it is illegal to drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle without a valid Permit.


So the only thing I can do while waiting for either a job offer or my full Green Card (it's quite possible I'll end up with a job that doesn't require me to have a CDL) is to study the material for the written tests and review what will be required knowledge for the practical test (the pre-vehicle inspection and air brakes knowledge are not required to get an Australian CDL).


So, I hope this information is useful to someone. All the best, fellow visa peeps!




A caveat: I am not an expert or a lawyer. I'm just relaying information based on my experience, in the state of Missouri. It's quite possible other people have different information, advice, and experience, based on any number of factors. :)


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Thank you for your detailed, thoughtful contribution.

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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