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In Minnesota, there are several driver’s license categories based on the type of vehicle being driven, its weight, and whether the activity is commercial or personal. 

Additional vehicle endorsement adds even more complexity, with different sets of requirements within license groups. 

Now, if you’re trying to find which license you need, it can be quite confusing. 

Don’t fret. 

We’re here to give you a complete guide on Minnesota driver’s license classifications. Plus, we’ll tell you the requirements and procedures to get each license type. 

So buckle up and let’s go! 

What are the Driver’s License Classifications in Minnesota?

These are the license classes issued in Minnesota:

  • Commercial - Class A

  • Commercial - Class B

  • Commercial - Class C

  • Class D

  • Motorcycle Endorsement

Let’s check what vehicles you can drive with each license type.

Commercial - Class A

A Class ‘A’ license is a Commercial Driving Licence (CDL) that allows the holder to drive a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000lbs or more that is towing a vehicle/trailer that weighs more than 10,000lbs GVWR.

Vehicles that normally fall under this category include trucks with tractor trolleys, cargo trucks, semi-trucks, etc...

This license will also allow you to drive vehicles that fall into the Class B and C categories. 

Commercial - Class B

A class ‘B’ is a CDL that allows the holder to drive any single-unit vehicle that weighs more than 26,000lbs GVWR. 

Vehicles that are included in this category are buses, large semi-trucks without trailers, cement mixers, etc...

Note: certain endorsements need to be taken to drive vehicles such as school buses. (More on this below.)

A class ‘B’ license will allow you to drive vehicles that fall into the Class C category.

Commercial - Class C

A class ‘C’ CDL includes any single vehicle weighing less than 26,000lbs GVWR that satisfies an endorsement.

These endorsements may include passenger vehicles, school buses, or hazardous material transport vehicles.

Class D

A class D license is what you’d normally think of as a normal driver’s license. This allows the holder to drive vehicles that weigh less than 26,000lbs GVWR for personal use.

Vehicles that fall into this category include sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc...

Mo-peds and bikes that have an engine displacement of or less than 50cc or that cannot achieve speeds of more than 30mph on a flat surface are also allowed to be driven with a Class D license.

Motorcycle Endorsement 

A motorcycle endorsement is required to drive bikes that have an engine displacement above 50cc or achieve speeds of over 30mph on a flat surface.

A Class D license is required before you’ll be able to obtain this endorsement.

What are the Classification Licensing Requirements in Minnesota?

Down below, I’ve listed the requirements for each license type and endorsement.

Commercial Driver’s License (Class A, B, C)

To be eligible to apply for a CDL, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old*

  • Provide proof of identity and legal residence 

  • Have a valid Class D Minnesota license 

  • Pass all written and skill-based tests

  • Submit a medical fitness form

  • Pay all required fees

*Note that the transport of hazardous materials will require the driver to be a minimum of 21 years of age.

The requirements related to the tests will depend on the Class category you select, the vehicle, and its intended purpose. Certain vehicles/activities may require endorsements which will then require further examinations and requirements.

An example of an endorsement is the ‘S’ endorsement. School buses transporting minors need a visible “S” placard.

‘H’ endorsement involves the transport of hazardous waste, ‘P’ passenger transport, ‘T’ for tanker trucks, and so on. Certain restrictions such as ‘K’ restriction (no interstate travel) may also apply.

Class D

All those applying for a Class D license must:

  • Present valid identification

  • Complete a written, road, and physical test

  • Be above 15 years of age

  • Complete classroom and behind the wheel mandatory course hours

  • Complete 50 hours of driving training of which 10 hours must be at night

  • Not be involved in any accidents or violations for 12 months before applying

Motorcycle Endorsement

To get a motorcycle endorsement added to your driver’s license, you must:

  • Hold a Class D license

  • Be at least 16 years of age

  • Pass a written test

  • Complete a motorcycle driver training course if under 18 years of age

  • Pass a skill-based test

What are the Classification Licensing Procedures in Minnesota?

Now, let’s look into the process of obtaining each license type and endorsement.

CDL Licensing (Class A, B, C)

To obtain a CDL license, you first need to get a Class D license. After that, you’ll have to register with the DMV and pick a license class - A, B, or C. 

During the application process, you’ll have to submit necessary identification documents, along with proof of medical fitness, usually certified by a licensed physician. You’ll also be subject to the DMVs own physical examination, including vision tests.

After passing the written test, you’ll be awarded a CDL permit that you can use to train with under a licensed commercial driving school. Upon completing your training, you’ll have to pass a final skill-based test to be fully licensed.

The knowledge-based written and skilled tests will vary based on the vehicle you intend to drive, its weight, and other factors such as braking systems.

Class D

Minnesota has a Graduated Driver’s Licensing System designed to introduce inexperienced drivers to the driving environment. Here, applicants under 18 years old will go through three phases of licensing before a full Class D license (without restrictions) can be obtained.

  • Phase I - Instruction Permit (Under Age 18)

  • Phase II - Provisional License (Ages 18 to 21)

  • Phase III - Full License (Over Age 21)

Check the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services website for the application requirements for each phase. 

Meanwhile, to obtain a Class D driving permit, you’ll first have to complete the mandatory classroom hours before you can take the written and physical tests.

Afterward, you’ll be required to complete 50 hours of driving training before being allowed to take the final driving test. If you pass the final driving test, you can obtain a full driver’s license.

Note: to be eligible for a full license, you must not have been involved in any accidents or found to be under the influence of alcohol 12 months before you apply for a license.

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Minnesota Driver's License Classifications (A Complete Guide) DriversEd

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Motorcycle Endorsement

To obtain a motorcycle endorsement, you first need to have a Class D license. For applicants that are under 18, you’ll need to pass an approved motorcycle training course through a certified driving school before appearing for the written test.

Now, after clearing the written test, you’ll be handed a motorcycle permit, valid for a year. This allows you to practice driving a motorbike under supervision. Once you complete your training, you’ll be allowed to take a final skill-based test for your endorsement.

Conclusion

So there you have it - a complete list detailing all the Minnesota driver’s license classifications, requirements, and procedures.

While most of the categories are fairly straightforward, a CDL can be quite complicated with numerous rules that result in different licensing requirements. It’s always best to first check-in with the DMV before embarking on training for any one of these license groups.

We hope this article has cleared the water for you on Minnesota driver’s license classifications. 

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