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An individual can be granted different types of state driver's licenses. One of these is a Class B commercial driver's license (CDL). If you obtain a Class B license in Minnesota and you're over the age of 21, the license is valid anywhere in the United States.
Classes of Drivers' Licenses
Class A: A commercial driver's license (CDL), required to drive any vehicle towing a unit over 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) with a gross combination weight (truck plus trailer) over 26,000 pounds.
Class B: A CDL required to drive any single-unit vehicle over 26,000 pounds. These are sometimes called "straight trucks," meaning that all axles are attached to a single frame.
Class C: A CDL required to drive a single-unit vehicle 26,000 pounds or less GVWR, with one or more endorsements for hazardous materials, passenger or school bus.
The commercial licenses make it legal for you to also drive the class below. In other words, with a Class B CDL you can also drive a Class C vehicle. With a Class A CDL, you can drive vehicles in all three commercial classes, A, B and C.
Class D: Regular driver's license
Enhanced Driver's License (EDL)
The enhanced driver's license (EDL) verifies identity and citizenship with no further proof, such as a passport or work visa, required. When you have the card, you can re-enter the U.S. at all land and seaports upon returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean.
Getting a Class B License
To obtain a Class B in Minnesota, go to a branch of Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS), a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Pass the knowledge tests and perform a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle. Demonstrate an ability to drive and control the vehicle.
Individuals seeking to obtain a Class B CDL will often go to a private organization that teaches classes to prepare for tests. To find a trainer endorsed by Minnesota DVS, call your local office to get a name. Companies also advertise in the Minnesota DVS CDL manual.
In some cases, employers will provide free training. Check with a reputable jobs website such as Indeed, JobHero, Monster or ZipRecruiter. Use caution, however. Though these sites do their best to screen out fakes and scams, check a company's website or, better still, your local Better Business Bureau. Do no provide bank account or credit card information to anyone who asks for it on condition of employment.
In Minnesota, when you obtain a Class B driver's license, you are allowed to drive a straight truck. This can be limiting in the type of vehicle an individual may want to drive. For example, many individuals obtain a Class B license to drive buses. If you plan on driving a bus, you will also need to obtain a "P," or passenger endorsement, and an "S," or school bus endorsement. These endorsements will require additional knowledge tests. Other endorsements that you might obtain include an "H," which would allow you to carry hazardous materials; an "N" endorsement to operate tank vehicles (which may carry gasoline or water); or a "T" endorsement, which allows individuals to operate a vehicle that pulls more than one chassis.
If you choose to enroll in a CDL training school, the fees will vary. Class B license training in Minnesota can cost around $2,500 to $3,000 or more, depending on where you do your training and the vehicles you want to drive.
Minnesota driver's license fees increased by $2.25 as of August 1, 2019. This technology surcharge is the same, no matter which license you get. Commercial driver's license fees are as follows:
- Class A, regular: $51
- Class A, under age 21: $31
- Class B, regular or under age 21: $43
- Class C, regular or under age 21: $36
- School bus processing fee, original and new applications: $4 in addition to license fee
- Enhanced Driver's License (in addition to applicable driver's license fee): $15
To transfer a CDL to Minnesota, your out-of-state license must be valid. You have 30 days as a new resident of Minnesota to get your license. Fees apply as listed above.
Monica Southworth began writing professionally in 2005 for "The Dutch Harbor Fisherman." She has worked for "The Manitou Messenger" since 2006 and received first place in 2007 for best use of a story and photos by a journalist for small newspapers from the Alaska Press Club. Southworth holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science, statistics and Middle Eastern studies from St. Olaf College.