Perhaps by now, you already have an idea or two about how to apply for a driver’s license in Louisiana.
However, did you know that there are different types of licenses that determine what type of vehicle you can drive?
For example, a driver who operates a large truck used to tow a trailer needs a commercial license, specifically a Class A license.
With this in place, you might be confused about what license you should get.
We’re here to explain the Louisiana driver’s license classifications. We’ll give you a complete guide on all the license types, as well as how to apply for each one.
So buckle up and let’s go!
The Driver’s License Classifications in Louisiana
The three main types of driver’s licenses in Louisiana are:
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Chauffeur’s driver’s license
- Personal driver’s license
Let’s discuss each type in detail.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
A Commercial Driver’s License type is further divided into three classes:
- Class A (Combination Vehicles)
A Class A license allows the operation of a commercial vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001lbs or more, or any combination of vehicles provided the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000lbs. Anyone who holds a Class A license is permitted to operate all vehicles under all other commercial classes.
- Class B (Heavy Straight Vehicle)
A Class B license allows the operation of any vehicle within Classes C, D, and E, and any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001lbs or more.
- Class C (Light Vehicle)
A Class C license allows the operation of any single vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001lbs, as well as any vehicle within Classes D and E. This license class covers vehicles that transport 16 or more passengers, driver included, as well as those used in carrying hazardous materials.
Chauffeur’s Driver’s License
A Class D license, also known as the chauffeur’s license, permits the operation of any single motor vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers. Plus, the vehicle should have a GVWR between 10,001 and 26,000lbs. A Class D driver’s license holder can also drive any vehicle within Class E.
Personal Driver’s License (Non-commercial)
The Class E license is the most common. It’s considered a regular driver’s license.
With a Class E license, you can operate any single motor vehicle with a GVWR under 10,000lbs for personal use only. This includes recreational and farm vehicles operated by farmers to transport agricultural products, as well as supplies and machinery to and from a farm within 150 air miles of the operator’s farm.
Note: the license classes listed above do not include the operation of motorcycles except when there is a specific endorsement.
How to Apply for a Class E Driver’s License in Louisiana
To obtain a driver’s license in Louisiana, you must go through the following steps:
- Obtain a Learner’s Permit
- Obtain an Intermediate License
- Apply for Permanent/Adult License
Obtaining a Learner’s Permit
In Louisiana, you must first complete an approved Louisiana Graduated Licensing program and hold a learner’s permit before being eligible to apply for a driver’s license (Class E). You can begin applying for a learner’s permit at age 15.
To apply, simply visit an Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) near you, and bring the following required documents:
- Driver Education Certificate of Completion OR a transcript from a Louisiana high school showing credits earned for a driver’s ed course
- Birth certificate OR Louisiana ID
- Proof of Residency
- Social Security Number
Your parent or legal guardian must sign your application form and present identification.
What’s more, you must pass both the vision and the knowledge test, pay the application fee, and wait for the permit to be issued.
The learner’s permit lets you drive under the supervision of your parent, guardian, or any adult with a valid LA driver’s license.
Note: If you are 17 years old or above and have never held a license or a permit, you may apply for a permanent driver’s license without the need for a learner’s permit. However, you can still opt to get one if you want to practice driving.
Obtaining an Intermediate License
To qualify for a Louisiana intermediate license, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- You are at least 16 years old.
- You have held your learner’s permit for at least 180 days.
- You have completed 50 hours of supervised driving practice, 15 hours of which must be done at night.
To receive your intermediate license, you must be accompanied by your parent or guardian to the OMV. You must also pay the fee of $13, excluding the service fee, and pass the road test administered by either your driver’s ed provider or the OMV.
An intermediate license allows you to drive on your own, subject to two restrictions:
- You cannot drive between 11 PM and 5 AM unless accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age with a valid license. Or, your sibling who is at least 18 years old and has a valid license.
- You cannot drive with more than one passenger under 21 years old between 6 PM and 5 AM unless accompanied by an adult aged 21 or over who has a valid LA license.
Applying for an Adult License
If you are an intermediate license holder, you will be eligible to upgrade to a permanent/adult license once you turn 17 and your driving record is clean. You will need to pay $32.25 plus a service fee.
How to Apply for a CDL in Louisiana
To qualify for a CDL in Louisiana, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are at least 18 years of age.
- You have a valid driver’s license (not limited to Louisiana).
- You must prove that you are fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle by:
- Submitting a Medical Examiner’s Certificate completed by a doctor approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Self-certifying that you are physically fit to drive a CMV
- You must pay all the relevant fees.
- You must obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit. The CLP will be valid for 60 days.
- You must pass the CDL knowledge test for the specific class you are applying for.
- After you pass the required knowledge tests, you may apply for a full CDL after holding your learner’s permit for 14 days.
- You must pass the skills test.
How to Apply for a Class D/Chauffeur’s License in Louisiana
To qualify for a Class D license in Louisiana, you must first satisfy all the requirements for a Class E license or already be holding a Class E license.
The extra steps for a Class D license are to pass additional written and vision tests and pay additional fees.
You may upgrade your current Class E license to Class D by visiting a parish branch of the Office of Motor Vehicles near you. You must pay any relevant fees.
How long are driver’s licenses valid in Louisiana?
Driver’s licenses are valid for approximately six years in Louisiana.
How do I renew my driver’s license fast in Louisiana?
The fastest way to renew your driver’s license in Louisiana is via the OMV online portal. Simply enter your renewal information, authorize online payment, view, and print your receipt. You just need your current LA license as well as your credit card information ready.
Knowing the different driver’s license classes in your state is important. Depending on your job or what other purposes you will be using a vehicle for, you will need a specific license type.
We hope this comprehensive guide has been helpful!