Any person applying for or renewing a California commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a hazardous materials (HazMat) endorsement is required to undergo a federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security threat assessment (background check) before the endorsement can be issued. The program was implemented to meet the requirements of the USA Patriot Act of 2001.
To apply for an original HazMat endorsement, you need to be at least 21 years of age.
For the background records check, you will need to:
- Start a CDL application.
- Pay applicable federal fee(s).
- Submit additional required information.
- Provide fingerprints (the TSA agent will advise you of the requirements).
- Provide your DMV issued commercial learner permit (CLP).
- Provide one of the following identification documents:
- Driver license (DL)/identification (ID) card.
- Out-of-state DL/ID card.
DMV will then issue a CLP and/or temporary license (after the appropriate law tests have been passed). The CLP and/or temporary license will state “Not valid for carrying hazardous materials.” At this point you should start the TSA background check.
Schedule an appointment with a TSA agent or call 1-855-347-8371.
Start the TSA security threat assessment after you apply for your CDL and successfully complete all appropriate knowledge tests.
You must pre-enroll for the security threat assessment before you visit a Universal Enrollment Services (UES) center to complete the HazMat application process.
Pre-enroll online or call the TSA UES call center at 1-855-347-8371.
After completing the pre-enrollment, you must visit a UES center to provide:
- Identity documents
- Citizenship/immigration documents
- Applicable fees
After TSA completes the background check, one of the following will happen:
- You will be notified by TSA that you are ineligible for a HazMat endorsement. If this happens you will receive a new CDL without a HazMat endorsement. See “Hearing Procedures” below for information about requesting an appeal hearing.
- DMV will send you a new CDL with a HazMat endorsement when all applicable tests are completed. If this happens, simply destroy all prior licenses and carry the CDL with the HazMat endorsement.
DMV will send a reminder letter approximately 90 days prior to the expiration of your HazMat endorsement. You must begin the threat assessment renewal process with TSA at least 30 days before your HazMat endorsement expiration date to avoid possible ineligibility to transport hazardous materials while awaiting the results. The renewal application process is similar to the requirements for an origina lHazMat endorsement. After completing the threat assessment application and paying the required fee, you must contact a TSA agent to be fingerprinted.
The following may make you ineligible for a HazMat endorsement on your CDL.
Outstanding Wants or Warrants
You will be disqualified from holding a HazMat endorsement if you are wanted or under indictment in any civilian or military jurisdiction for a felony listed as temporary or permanent until the want or warrant is released.
Temporary Disqualifying Criminal Offenses
You will be disqualified from holding a HazMat endorsement if you were convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity within the previous 7 years, or were released from prison in the last 5 years, for any of the following crimes:
- Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing with a firearm or other weapons.
- Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud.
- Immigration violations.
- Distribution of, intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance.
- Kidnapping or hostage taking.
- Rape or aggravated sexual abuse.
- Assault with intent to murder.
- Fraudulent entry into a seaport as described in United States (U.S.) Code, Title 18 §1036, or a comparable state law.
- Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in U.S. Code, Title 18 §1961, et seq., or a comparable state law, other than the violations listed in paragraph (j) of Part B: Permanently Disqualifying Criminal Offenses.
- Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the above crimes.
The disqualification period is 7 years from the last conviction date for any of the above violations or 5 years from the prison release date.
Permanent Disqualifying Criminal Offenses
You will be permanently disqualified from holding a HazMat endorsement if you were convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity for any of the following crimes:
- A crime listed in U.S. Code, Title 18, Chapter 113B, such as terrorism, or a comparable state law.
- A crime involving a transportation security incident.
- Improper transportation of hazardous material (U.S. Code, Title 49 §5124) or a comparable state law.
- Making any threats, or maliciously conveying information known to be false, concerning the deliverance, placement, or detonation of an explosive or other lethal device in or against a place of public use, a state or government facility, a public transportation system, or an infrastructure facility.
- Violations of the RICO Act in U.S. Code, Title 18 §1961, et seq., or a comparable state law, where one of the predicated acts found by a jury or admitted by the defendant, consists of one of the offenses listed in Part B of the RICO Act.
- Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the above crimes.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may hold a HazMat endorsement when all other requirements are met and your status is one of the following:
- A lawful permanent resident of the U.S. as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act in United States (U.S.) Code, Title 1 §101(a)(20).
- A refugee admitted under U.S. Code, Title 8 §1157 and in possession of a valid, unrestricted employment authorization document.
- An asylum status under U.S. Code, Title 8 §1158 and in possession of a valid, unrestricted employment authorization document.
DMV does not become involved with TSA hearings, appeals, and/or waivers. All security threat assessments and subsequent hearings, if any, will be conducted by TSA. If TSA finds potentially disqualifying information, they will send you a letter with instructions on how to proceed. If you have received a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility (PDI) letter, you may submit a request for a waiver and/or an appeal, in writing, to:
Transportation Security Administration
TSA HazMat Processing Center
PO Box 8117
Frederick, VA 22404-8117
Since the address is a post office (PO) box, it can only receive U.S. Postal Service mail. No other types of correspondence will be processed at this address.
For further information, call TSA at 1-855-347-8371 or email TSA at email@example.com.
To review the regulations, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or TSA websites.
TSA agent names and addresses are available online or by calling 1-855-347-8371. An appointment is not required if the TSA agent is located in California.
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Contact the Licensing Operations Division (LOD) if you have any questions about the TSA security threat assessment for commercially licensed drivers. We are here to help!