Anyone holding or applying for a CDL or commercial learner's permit (CLP) must certify to one of the four categories of commercial motor vehicle operation.
- Excepted Interstate (EI)
- Excepted Intrastate (EA)
- Non-excepted Interstate (NI)
- Non-excepted Intrastate (NA)
Which commercial motor vehicle (CMV) category applies to you depends on how you are using your CMV. To help you decide, follow these steps:
Determine whether you operate a CMV in interstate or intrastate commerce:
Interstate commerce is when you drive a CMV:
- From one state to another state or a foreign country;
- Between two places within a state, but during part of the trip, the CMV crosses into another state or foreign country; or
- Between two places within a state, but the cargo is part of a trip that began or will end in another state or foreign country.
Determine whether you operate (or expect to operate) in a non-excepted or excepted status.
You operate in excepted status when you only drive a CMV for the following excepted activities:
- To transport school children and/or school staff between home and school;
- As a federal, state or local government employee;
- To transport human corpses or sick or injured persons;
- Fire truck or rescue vehicle drivers during emergencies and other related activities;
- Primarily in the transportation of propane winter heating fuel when responding to an emergency condition requiring immediate response, such as damage to a propane gas system after a storm or flooding;
- In response to a pipeline emergency condition requiring immediate response, such as a pipeline leak or rupture;
- In custom harvesting on a farm or to transport farm machinery and supplies used in the custom harvesting operation to and from a farm or to transport custom harvested crops to storage or market;
- As a beekeeper in the seasonal transportation of bees;
- Controlled and operated by a farmer, but is not a combination vehicle (power unit and towed unit), and is used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies (no placardable hazardous materials) to and from a farm and within 150 air-miles of the farm;
- As a private motor carrier of passengers for non-business purposes; or
- To transport migrant workers.
If one or more of the above activities are the only operations in which you drive, you operate in an excepted status and do not need a medical examiner's certificate.
If none of the above activities are operations in which you drive, you operate in a non-excepted status and are required to provide a valid medical examiner's certificate to DMV or have a Virginia state approval letter. Most CDL holders who drive CMVs are non-excepted interstate commerce drivers.
Note: If you operate in both an excepted status and a non-excepted status, you must choose the non-excepted status to be qualified to operate in both types of commerce.
A MEC, also known as "DOT card," is issued by a medical examiner on the National Registry of Medical Examiners, who medically certifies a CDL or CLP holder to operate commercial motor vehicles in a non-excepted status. View an example of an acceptable MEC to ensure you are providing the proper document to DMV.
The MER is a multipage document that includes detailed medical information. As part of the physical examination, non-excepted drivers must fill out the medical history portion of the MER. This form is used by the medical examiner to evaluate whether the applicant qualifies for a medical examiner's certificate. The MER is not a medical examiner's certificate and cannot be accepted by DMV.
CDL and commercial learner's permit (CLP) holders/applicants who certify to either a non-excepted interstate or non-excepted intrastate category of commercial motor vehicle operation must provide DMV with a MEC completed by a medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's National Registry of Medical Examiners.
Note: Although an employer may require you to get a MEC as a condition of employment, DMV cannot update a MEC to your driving record unless both of the following conditions apply:
- You apply for or hold a CDL or CLP, and
- You self-certify to a either a non-excepted interstate or non-excepted intrastate category of commercial motor vehicle operation
The fastest and easiest way to have your medical documents processed is by submitting them online. This allows us to send you detailed emails about the status of your case.
If you are unable to upload your documents online, DMV can still accept them by one of the methods listed below:
Your documentation will be updated to your record within 10 business days.
To ensure you receive detailed email notifications about the status of your documents, it is important that you upload your documents online.
If you submit your documents by mail or fax, you will only be notified if your documents cannot be processed, and only if you have provided DMV with legible contact information.
Yes, all existing CDL holders and applicants for a CDL or commercial learner's permit are required to self-certify. Based on your certification category, you may also be required to submit additional medical documentation.
Federal regulations and Virginia law require DMV to record and maintain a copy of all current medical examiner's certificates and variances/waivers/SPEs in its system.
DMV is required by federal regulations to display a "V" restriction on a CDL for any driver that has been granted a variance/waiver/SPE.
DMV is required by law to mark any record that does not comply with this requirement as "not certified" and initiate a downgrade of your CDL privilege after 30 days of expiration. If your CDL is downgraded for more than one year and you reapply for your CDL, you will be required to complete all relevant CDL knowledge and road skills exams.