If you’re thinking about pursuing a commercial driver license (CDL) it’s important that you have a firm understanding of the current requirements for the HAZMAT or hazardous materials endorsement. The rules changed under the US Patriot Act a few years ago, so those who are new to the licensing process, or who are seeking a renewal, may not be familiar with those changes.
Rules for the HAZMAT Endorsement
Those filing new and renewal forms need to send in a Hazardous Materials Endorsement Application. You will also need to complete the fingerprinting process, which involves submitting fingerprints directly to the Transportation Security Administration or TSA. Your information must be approved before you’re given a CDL that includes the HAZMAT endorsement. A background check is also performed before the new license is issued.
HAZMAT Endorsement Application Specifics
There are a few specifics you should know about this, especially in terms of filing rules and timelines:
• If renewing, submit your application 30 days before your TSA approval expires.
• If transferring an endorsement to a new state after May 31, 2005, you may be approved for a 90-day CDL with all approvals until the new HAZMAT endorsement has been approved.
• A typical CDL with HAZMAT endorsement–referred to as H or X–will last no longer than 5 years.
• You need to use an approved vendor for fingerprint collection. Each state provides different options but the TSA also contracts with vendors for the collection process.
• Keep an eye on your mail. You should receive a letter at your last known address to remind you to undergo a background check and fingerprint collection 90 days before your CDL is set to expire.