New Hampshire CDL Requirements

New Hampshire is one of the smallest states - 5th smallest in terms of surface area and 9th in terms of population. It's one of the states that make up New England and one of the original 13 colonies that eventually became one of the original 13 states. Its place in history is firmly established in that in 1776 it was the first state to set up a government independent of the British Crown. It was also the first of the American states to set up its own state constitution. It has two major cities - the state capital of Concord, and Manchester - the largest city in northern New England. The Canadian province of Quebec is to the north, Vermont lies to the west while to the east is Vermont and the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Europe. Finally, Massachusetts lies to the south. Its topography is largely rural, consisting of granite upland and forest. Granite quarrying formed part of its early economic history but in the 21st century, it's a popular skiing resort. The state's major industry today is electronics but tourism remains vital, having shifted during the 20th century away from traditional New England industries such as textiles, leather and small machines. New England is also known for dairy production.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in New Hampshire?

Federal regulation applies to New Hampshire on licensing with some leeway on setting standards within the state:

Class A CDL

The license type authorizes holder to drive transport and haulage vehicles that weigh 26,001lbs or more for the purpose of towing trailers weighing 10,001lb or more

Class B CDL

The license type authorizes holder to drive transport and haulage vehicles that weigh 26,001lbs or more for the purpose of towing trailers weighing 10,000lb or less

Class C CDL

The license type authorizes holder to drive transport and haulage vehicles that weigh 26,001lbs or less, for vehicles carrying hazardous waste or passenger vehicles for 16 or more

Class D

The is the standard driver's license that all applicants require prior to applying for a CDL. A Class D license is for all non-commercial vehicles including cars, motorcycles and mopeds

For CDL eligibility, the applicant's Class D must be up to date with no pending or existing convictions for a period of two years before application. A TSA check is required of all applicants, as is medical checks and testing.

CDL Eligibility in New Hampshire

The Federal law Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act dictates set standards to all states regarding commercial licensing. However, states are permitted local autonomy on some issues where local. The state government will change requirements and standards based on safety and industry need.

License and Permits

  • All prospective CMV drivers must hold a Class D license at the time of CDL application. Any motoring convictions for a period of two years prior will void the application
  • All prospective CMV drivers must submit to obligatory medical testing. This will include an eye test and record checking for medical conditions that may void your application
  • Although not mandatory, most applicants are strongly advised to partake in a CMV driving course

Age Restrictions

  • The applicant must be at least 18 of age to apply for any class of CDL
  • The applicant must be at least 21 of age to apply for interstate driving on their CDL
  • The applicant must be at least 21 of age to apply for hazmat privileges on their CDL

Proof of Residence of New Hampshire

  • All applicants are required to provide valid and current ID
  • All applicants are required to provide a Social Security Number for examination

CDL Requirements for New Hampshire Residents

  • The ID that the applicant presents must have their current address. Should you move address at any point, state DMV must be notified before 30 days pass
  • The applicants SSN is required to prove their right to live and work in New Hampshire
  • The applicant must also provide proof of mandatory insurance
  • TSA screening is required of applicants for all classes

New Hampshire CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers

Individuals moving to New Hampshire to live and work will go through further mandatory checks:

  • Should you presently hold any license from another state must be surrendered to New Hampshire DMV. If the license is current or no more than two years out of date, the process will be a simple exchange
  • All applicants with US citizenship must need to prove this status
  • Should the applicant suffer from any medical condition that could affect their driving, they are required to declare it
  • Exemption paperwork or further details must be presented

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for New Hampshire CDL

  • Foreign nationals with Permanent Resident status may apply for a CDL in New Hampshire. You should bring your Green Card to prove eligibility
  • Should the applicant have entered the US as a refugee and how has Permanent Resident status, he or she must bring relevant refugee paperwork
  • A valid passport from your country of birth is required. Other relevant paperwork includes a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • New Hampshire DMV may request permanent surrender of your foreign driver's license
  • Permanent Residents are not permitted to apply for hazmat endorsements; only US citizens are eligible

Do I Need a CDL?

All states operate a driver waiver scheme for retiring military personnel (within 90 days of the application) and recently retired (not more than one year ago) called "Troops to Trucks". Eligible personnel will receive a waiver for the driving skills test. You will be expected to pass the written section of the test and any other sections relevant to further endorsements. Other retiring public service personnel may be subject to eligibility.

Current and pending driving convictions may find refusal of their CDL application. Typically, refusal is automatic for such violations as alcohol or controlled substance DUI convictions, for excess speeding, and for leaving an accident scene. Automatic rejections will also apply to past canceled or rejected licenses.

Other drivers and already-held privilege holders do not require a CDL:

  • Eligible drivers of hazmat vehicles designated as small-volume carriage
  • In an emergency situation and where an authorized peace officer has instructed any person to operate the CMV
  • In an emergency situation where any authorized person instructs any person to operate clearing equipment following natural disaster or extreme weather
  • Drivers of recreational vehicles
  • Drivers of agricultural machinery when operating within 150 miles of their farm of work
  • Firefighting equipment, police vehicles and any other public service vehicles

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Applicants must submit to medical record checks and testing such as an eye test. Sufficient vision quality is required, as is the need to ensure that the applicant does not have conditions potentially dangerous to driving
  • Once completed to the satisfaction of the examiner, the applicant will receive two documents which they must pass to the relevant local CDL office: A Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
  • At this stage, the applicant must explain whether they require intrastate or interstate driving. See above for age restrictions
  • Once complete, the applicant will receive a Federal Medical Card
  • The applicant may fail part of the medical test and check. If so, the process does not stop there. The applicant may be eligible for a CDL with restrictions
  • It is usually the case that employers are responsible for the cost of the CDL process. If this is your situation, you must direct all queries through the employer's contact

Background Check for CDL Applicants

US citizens and Permanent Resident foreign nationals only may apply for a Commercial Driver's License. All applicants, including citizens, are required to submit for TSA screening regardless of status or class. Foreign nationals may not apply for hazmat; this is reserved for US citizens only. You will be expected to submit for further checks such as fingerprint tests.

CDL Testing in New Hampshire

All prior steps (medical checks, security screening) must be completed before any applicant may study the CDL exam and testing process.

CDL Knowledge Test

The Knowledge Test examines the applicant's knowledge and understanding of CMV driving theory. It consists of 50 strong multiple choice questions of which the applicant must correctly answer a minimum number. If the applicant is applying for further endorsement, he or she must answer a further 20 multiple choice questions per endorsement.

CDL Road Skills Tests

The final step in the process of your CDL application is the Road Skills Test.

  • The examiner must check the vehicle to ensure it is of the correct class, and to ensure it is safe and roadworthy
  • The applicant will then be required to demonstrate that they understand the CMV's interior controls. You will be asked to adjust seating, mirrors and any other adjustable parts
  • Only then will the applicant be required to drive on the roads of New Hampshire, demonstrating understanding of driving practice, state and Federal law, and the ability to adapt to changing road conditions

New Hampshire CDL Office Locations

The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) operates out of the following office locations. For testing at all offices, a single phone number applies (603) 227-4000:

  • Colebrook
    17 Bridge Street (Town Hall)
    NH 03576
  • Concord
    23 Hazen Drive
    NH 03305
  • Concord IRP (International Registration Plan for cross-border transportation)
    Rm 106A, 33 Hazen Dr.
    NH 03305
  • Dover
    50 Boston Harbor Road
    NH 03820
  • Epping
    315 Calef Highway
    NH 03042
  • Gorham
    491 Main Street
    Mountain Valley Plaza
    NH 03581
  • Keene
    15 Ash Brook Court
    NH 03431
  • Manchester
    377 South Willow Street
    NH 03103
  • Milford
    4 Meadow Brook Drive
    NH 03055
  • Nashua
    110 Broad Street
    NH 03064
  • Newport
    20 North Main Street
    NH 03773
  • North Haverhill
    3785 Dartmouth College Highway (Grafton County Courthouse)
    NH 03774
  • Salem
    154 Main Street
    NH 03079
  • Tamworth
    1864 White Mountain Highway
    NH 03886
  • Twin Mountain
    549 Route 302 West
    NH 03595

New Hampshire CDL Endorsements

New Hampshire Secretary of State permits the following endorsements for CDLs issued in the state:

  • Hazardous material vehicle (H)
  • Tank vehicle (N)
  • Passenger transport (P)
  • School bus (S)
  • Double/triple (T)

New Hampshire CDL Disqualifications

Higher driving standards are expected of commercial vehicle drivers than those who do not hold a CDL. As a result, higher penalties apply for the same offenses when a CDL holder receives such a motoring conviction. The list below is a series of offenses for which a first conviction incurs a suspension period of 12 months. Should the CDL holder receive a second conviction, he or she will incur a life suspension. Any first offense while driving any hazmat vehicle results in a suspension of three to ten years. Any conviction where the CDL holder uses a CMV for sale, distribution or transportation of controled substances is an automatic lifelong suspension of the CDL. These penalties are only a minimum. New Hampshire may impose extra penalties.

  • When instructed to take a blood or breath test for alcohol resulting in a .04% content level while driving a CMV
  • When instructed to take a blood or breath test for alcohol resulting in a .08% content level while driving a non-commercial vehicle
  • The driver refuses to give a blood or breath sample for the purpose of testing for alcohol
  • The driver fails to report any accident of which they are the cause
  • The driver fails to stop at any accident that they are involved in regardless of cause
  • The driver causes a fatality during an accident in which they are deemed at fault due to negligent or dangerous driving
  • The use of a commercial vehicle for any crime not related to vehicle crime
  • Continuing to drive any CMV during suspension, cancelation or revocation of CDL privileges

Should a blood alcohol test reveal a positive recording but below .04%, the driver will be subjected to suspension of 24 hours.

Following is a list of lesser offenses resulting in smaller penalties upon conviction. No penalty applies for a first offense, but subsequent second offences inside a period of three years is an automatic 60-day suspension. A 120-day suspension is imposed for any third offense within the same three-year period:

  • The CDL holder is stopped for speeding driving greater than 15mph above the limit
  • Driving deemed dangerous, erratic or otherwise putting other road users at risk
  • Displaying erratic maneuvers putting other road users at risk. This includes dangerous lane changing
  • Driving too closely to other vehicles A maneuver known as "tail gating"
  • Any other form of dangerous driving or failing to obey New Hampshire road laws now otherwise listed
  • When the driver is operating a CMV and does not have CDL privileges
  • When the driver is operating a CMV and has lower CDL privileges than the vehicle requires
  • When the driver is operating a CMV that requires endorsements and their license does not specify that the driver possesses them
  • When the driver is operating a CMV and does not possess their CDL

When a CMV fails a safety check or is otherwise found faulty, they will be subject to an Out of Service (OOS) order. No driver may operate the vehicle until the repair has been carried out and the OOS lifted. Should any driver break the OOS, they will incur a 90-day disqualification penalty in a first instance. Should the driver break an OOS a second time, he or she will incur a ten-year disqualification. Should the driver drive a hazmat vehicle with an OOS, it is a 3-10 year ban.

Railroad violations incur separate penalties. The infractions are listed below. Each first instance incurs is a 60-day suspension. A second offense is a 120-day suspension with a third railroad offense incurring is a 12-month ban:

  • Failing to slow to check the tracks are clear before proceeding onto a junction where drivers are not always required to stop
  • Failing to stop to check the tracks and road ahead is clear before proceeding onto a junction where drivers are not always required to stop
  • Failing to stop at any junction where all drivers are always required to stop - even when clear ahead
  • Failing to stop at a junction where the road ahead is not clear and the driver is unable to pass all the way through
  • Ignoring or otherwise failing to obey instructions by technology or traffic officers present at the junction
  • Where the vehicle is unable to clear all the way through a junction because of undercarriage clearance

New Hampshire CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

One of the responsibilities of the Federal government is to monitor the changing picture of employment in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) examines the growth or otherwise, average salaries and changing conditions of each industry. Data released in May 2017 suggested a 5% growth in transportation in the years 2014 to 2024. The is against a national average of all jobs at 7%. Therefore, commercial driving and transportation is slower than normal.

Heavy Trucks

Heavy truck transportation is usually the best-paid area of the industry due to long hours. BLS revealed in May 2017 that the national pay averages were $41,340 as a salary and $19.87 for those paid by the hour. The lowest 10% earners within this area reported as earning a salary of around $26,920, with the highest 10% earned $63,140. Pay rates in the state of New Hampshire were reported at $43,030 as a salary and $20.07 (median) and $20.55 (mean) - marginally higher than the average.

Light Trucks

Whereas heavy trucks are responsible for long distance transportation, light trucks operate locally. Employees will tend to work shifts closer to normal office hours and operating out of local delivery offices. BLS revealed in 2017 that light trucking will experience a 4% growth between 2014 and 2024. The slowdown is likely due to technology changes such as GPS and efficient route planning. As a result, fewer drivers are needed. Nationally, the average pay is $34,790 salaried employees and $16.73 hourly paid employees. New Hampshire local delivery drivers earn less than these averages at $31,660 salaried and hourly pay rates of $12.93 (median) and $15.52 (mean).

Passenger Vehicles

All drivers of public vehicles such as buses must hold a Class C CMV license. These roles are relatively stable due to a constant need for public transport infrastructure. Nationally, the need for public transport drivers will grow some 6% between 2014 and 2024. The salary average is $31,920 and the average hourly pay is $14.96. For New Hampshire, bus and public transport drivers can expect a much higher pay at $44,530 as a salary and $21.72 (median hourly) and $21.41 (mean hourly) averages.

BLS Source:

Resources for New Hampshire CDL Requirements

Learn more about New Hampshire trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in New Hampshire

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
New Hampshire $32,360 $43,970 $36,970
Manchester, NH $32,900 $44,350 $36,670
Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division $32,260 $44,140 $37,870
Portsmouth, NH-ME $34,830 $62,610 $44,300
Rochester-Dover, NH-ME $35,730 $46,530 $41,190

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (