If you want to drive a taxi, bus or other commercial vehicle, here’s how to get licenced.
How to get a commercial licence
Before applying for a commercial licence, make sure that you meet the requirements.
Requirements for getting a commercial licence
|Age||19 for a Class 1, 2 or 4 licence18 for a Class 3 licence or heavy trailer endorsement|
|Driving experience||A full-privilege B.C. driver’s licence (Class 5 or 6) or an out-of-province equivalent.If you’re new to Canada, see moving to B.C.|
|Commercial driving record||A commercial driving record with less than four penalty point incidents in the past two years, plusno driving-related criminal convictions within the past three years.|
|Fines and debts||All fines and debts owing to ICBC must be paid.|
|Medical conditions||Some medical conditions may prevent you from getting a commercial licence. These include, but are not limited to:Certain types of epilepsyCertain psychiatric conditionsCertain neurological conditionsCertain heart conditionsCertain diabetic conditionsCertain sleep disordersThe existence of a medical condition does not necessarily mean you will be ineligible to obtain a commercial licence. It is important that you disclose your conditions during your application process so that an individual determination can be made early in the process. To facilitate this, additional information about any relevant condition that you have may then be provided by your doctor when completing a Drivers Medical Examination Report.|
|Physical disabilities||If you’re an amputee or have another physical disability that may affect your driving ability, you might need a prosthetic device or specific vehicle modification to help you qualify.|
Steps to get a commercial driver’s licence
To get your licence, you’ll need to get a learner’s licence before taking your road test for a full-privilege licence.
Get your learner’s licence
To get your learner’s licence you’ll need to pass a:
- knowledge test
- road signs test and
- meet medical standards.
If you’ll be driving with air brakes, you’ll also have to take the air brake knowledge test.
Get your full licence
To get your full licence, you’ll need to pass a commercial road test, which includes a:
- pre-trip inspection test (including air brakes if applicable)
- road test, and
- driver’s medical exam
Get your commercial learner’s licence
To get your learner’s licence you’ll need to study and pass a knowledge test. You might also need to pass an air brake knowledge test if applicable.
Once you get your learner’s licence, it’s valid for one year, and can be renewed by taking and re-passing the knowledge test.
Step 1: Study
The beginning of the guide explains which chapters to study for your licence type.
Step 2: Take your test(s)
- Visit any driver licensing office*
*Tests not available at Cloverdale and Surrey Guildford.
Please note we may not be able to accommodate all tests near the end of the day.
Bring with you:
- Accepted ID
- Any glasses or contacts you need for the vision test
- Payment for the test and licence
- Parent or legal guardian consent is required if you’re 18 and applying for a Class 3 licence.
Moved less than three years ago from another province or country?
- In addition to the above, bring your three-year driving record.
Money saving tip
If you take your knowledge test for a commercial licence and air brake at the same time, you’ll only be charged a single fee.
About the commercial knowledge test
Commercial air brake knowledge test
Before taking the air brake knowledge test:
- pass an air brake course or
- ensure you have acceptable proof of air brake experience.
Learn more about the air brake endorsement.
What to expect at the driver licensing office
First, staff at the driver licensing office will check that you meet all licensing requirements.
Then, they’ll check your vision and ask you questions about your medical health. You’ll need to disclose any known medical conditions that may affect your driving. This may also need to be reviewed by RoadSafetyBC before receiving your learner’s licence.
After these checks, you’ll take your knowledge test(s).
Get your full-privilege commercial licence
To get your full-privilege commercial licence, you’ll need to pass a road test and driver medical exam. There’s no rush to take the test-make sure you’ve practiced with learner’s licence and take it when you feel ready.
Step 1: Practice driving
To get ready for your road test:
- practice driving with a qualified supervisor
- consider taking professional driver training
Step 2: Book your road test
Call to book your commercial road test.
You can’t book your test online.
What to bring to your road test:
- Accepted ID
- Any glasses or contacts you need
- Payment for the test(s)
- Your learners licence
- A vehicle suited to the Class of licence you’re testing for
Step 3: Take your road test
When you arrive for your road test, you’ll first complete an application form. The road test will consist of:
- a pre-trip inspection test
- a pre-trip air brake test, if applicable, and
- the road test.
Bring an appropriate vehicle for your road test, and any items necessary for the pre-trip test. If your vehicle has air brakes, bring the tools and equipment required for an air brake adjustment.
For more information, see Driving Commercial Vehicles.
After passing the tests, you’ll need to:
- pay the test and licence fee, and a
- medical processing fee.
You’ll also receive a driver medical examination form to have completed by a doctor.
Learn more about the commercial driver road test
Prepare for your road test
The commercial driver road test is broken up into two pieces—the pre-trip inspection test and the actual road test. The tests are taken on the same day.
Pre-trip inspection test
For this portion of the test, your driver examiner will ask you demonstrate a typical pre-inspection. During the pre-trip you’ll explain to your driver examiner in detail what you’re checking and testing in each part of the vehicle. You’ll be asked when you’d typically conduct these tests as a commercial driver.
If you are applying for a Class 1, 2, 3 or 4 unrestricted commercial licence, you must also complete and submit a written trip-inspection report.
Need to retake the pre-trip inspection?
If you’re not successful on the pre-trip inspection test but pass the road test, you only have to re-take the pre-trip inspection. (You will need to pay the pre-trip test fee again.)
As of June 25, 2018, you can take the pre-trip inspection test again after 7 days.
Commercial driver road test
Your driver examiner will be looking for how well you demonstrate your commercial driving skills.
Your examiner will ask you to:
- start and stop
- shift gears
- turn, steer, back up and park
- merge with highway traffic and exit from highways, and
- drive in traffic.
Class 1 only: You’ll also need to couple and uncouple a tractor unit from a trailer.
Taking the road test more than once
After your first test attempt, you can take the test again after 14 days.
If you take the test two or more times and you don’t pass, you can try again after 30 days.