Commercial driver license requirements altered

Commercial driver license requirements altered Effective, Sunday, Feb. 1, applicants for a South Dakota commercial driver license (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement will be required to provide proof of citizenship or immigration status.

"We have come to the point where we need to be certain who is driving loads of hazardous material on our highways," said John Berheim, South Dakota homeland security coordinator. "This new process may be a minor inconvenience for some drivers, but it is a small price to pay for safety."

The U.S. Department of Transportation has adopted regulations requiring all applicants for a commercial driver license with a hazardous materials endorsement to provide proof of citizenship or immigration status. As a result of those regulations, the Department of Public Safety Driver Licensing Program will require new, renewal and transfer applicants for a commercial driver license with a hazardous materials endorsement to show a certified copy of their birth certificate or citizenship document. Lawful Permanent Residents will also be required to provide their Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien Registration Number.

"We are working hard to comply with the new federal regulations, which are major changes," said Cindy Gerber, director of driver licensing. "We have sent letters to notify commercial drivers with hazardous materials endorsements so they are not caught off-guard and delayed unnecessarily when applying for their licenses."

The following documents are acceptable for proof of citizenship: United States birth certificate; certificate of birth abroad from the Department of State; valid United States passport; certificate of naturalization; and certificate of United States citizenship.

Acceptable immigration documents: permanent resident card (form I-551); temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport; temporary I-551 stamp in a form I-94 (with photograph); and re-entry permit form I-27.

Effective April 1, federal regulations also require all applicants for a commercial driver license with a hazardous materials endorsement to submit fingerprints to enable the federal Transportation Security Administration to perform background checks prior to the state issuing a license.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety's mission is to keep South Dakota a safe place in which to live, work, visit and raise a family. The Office of Driver Licensing is responsible for the issuance of South Dakota driver licenses to eligible constituents of this state and is also responsible for processing all traffic convictions resulting in suspension, revocation, cancellation and disqualification of the commercial or non-commercial driver license and/or privilege to drive.

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