Do you need air brake endorsement for RV?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do you need air brake endorsement for RV? We will discuss the type of CDL licence endorsements and what are the requirements to drive an RV in each state.

Do you need air brake endorsement for RV?

You do not need air brake endorsement for RV, but you must check what type of licence you are required to have in order to drive a motorhome. As you will see in the table below, each state has its requirements, and it is best to check with your local DMV to determine the correct type of licence. 

StateCDL Required?Special License Required?
CaliforniaNoYes, if over 40′ motorhome or towing 10,000lb+ travel trailer or 15,000lb+ 5th wheel
HawaiiYes, for vehicles over  26,000 lbsNo
IllinoisNoYes, for vehicles over 16,000 lbs or towing over 10,000 lbs
KansasNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
MarylandNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
NevadaNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
New HampshireNoNo
New JerseyNoNo
New MexicoNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
New YorkNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
North CarolinaNoYes, for vehicles over  26,000 lbs or towing over 10,000 lbs
North DakotaNoNo
PennsylvaniaNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
Rhode IslandNoNo
South CarolinaNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
South DakotaNoNo
TexasNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
Washington D.C.NoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs
West VirginiaNoNo
WyomingNoYes, for vehicles over 26,000 lbs or towing over 10,000 lbs

What are CDL license endorsements?

Endorsements are special authorizations, which enable the driver to operate certain types of vehicles, as well as transport certain goods and a certain number of passengers.

The endorsement is issued once the applicant has passed the required written and skills exam.

Class A, B, or C CDL endorsements:

  • Hazardous materials – For those who transport hazardous materials.
  • Tank vehicles – To drive the tanker trucks.
  • Passengers –  To operate passenger vehicles (more than 15 people, including the driver).
  • School bus-  To transport preschool, elementary, or high school students from home to school, school to home, or to and from school events. 
  • Double/triple trailers – To handle vehicles with a double or triple trailer. Triple trailers are not allowed on all state highways!
  • Tank and hazardous materials vehicles – For those who qualify for the Hazardous materials and tank endorsements.

Driving licence requirements to rent an RV in the US and Canada?

Customers residing in the United States, US territories, or Canada must present a valid, government-issued driver’s license that is not expired and includes a photograph of the customer. Digital licenses are not accepted. The driver’s license must be valid for the entire rental period.

Members of the United States Armed Forces on active duty may present an expired driver’s license from their home state under the following conditions:

  • must also present active duty military identification, and
  • comply with the military extension policy of the state where the license was issued. 

These policies vary by state. Therefore, customers are encouraged to check with the appropriate department of motor vehicles for more information.

For international tenants travelling to the United States or Canada:

It is important that customers check with the appropriate Department of Motor Vehicles in the states or provinces to which they intend to travel to ensure compliance with various licensing laws. The following practices are used to ensure that the customer is presenting a valid site license at the time of rental.

Customers travelling to the United States and Canada from other countries must present the following:

  • Driver’s license from your home country and
  • If the license is in a language other than English (or French, for rentals in Canada) and the letters correspond to English (e.g. German, Spanish, etc.), it is recommended to present an international driving license ( although not required), for translation purposes, in addition to the home country license.
  • If said license is not in English and the letters do not correspond to English (e.g. if the alphabet is not an extension of the Latin alphabet, as in the case of German or Spanish, but rather Russian, Japanese, Arabic, etc.), it is mandatory to present an international driving license.

If it is not possible to obtain an international driving permit in the country of origin, a professional, written translation of the license can be provided as a substitute. In any case, it is mandatory to present the driver’s license of the country of origin.

Customers cannot rent a vehicle only with an international driving license. The international driving permit is a translation of the driving license issued by the individual’s country of origin and is not considered a license or valid identification.

In some offices (including but not limited to the Arizona, California, Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas offices), customers may be required to submit additional valid government-issued documentation.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Photocopies of driver’s licenses are not accepted.
  • Learner’s permits are not accepted.
  • Licenses that, on the front, indicate that the holder has a restriction on the use and operation of a vehicle equipped with a breathalyzer or similar instrument, are not accepted.
  • Temporary driver’s licenses can be refused if the rental office cannot otherwise verify the customer’s identity or the authenticity of the temporary license. Additional government-issued identification may be required.

Can you use a CDL from another state?

If you already have a CDL license but issued outside the state you are renting the RV, it is possible to use it. Commercial driver’s licenses are accepted from other states in the US or Canada.

However, an out-of-state applicant with a hazardous materials endorsement must reapply for the same, including testing, background checks, and paying fees.


It is best to check with your local DMV if you need air brake endorsement for RV. Some states, such as Texas, for example, require a special type of licence to drive vehicles over 26,000 lbs. This is why it is best to consult a manual or ask directly at the DMV about the type of licence you may need.

If you have any tips, comments or questions on the content, please let us know. 

FAQ on Do you need air brake endorsement for RV?

How big of an RV can I drive without a CDL?

You can drive an RV of 6500 lbs or less without a CDL. However, this will vary across states, as in some places (Illinois, Arizona, Alaska, Nebraska, Mississippi for example) you don’t require a CDL for an RV no matter its size!

What driving Licence do I need to drive an RV in the USA?

In the USA, you will need either a CDL or Non-CDL type of licence depending on the state you registered your RV in, also on its weight, length and height.

Can vehicles of one license class be driven with another type of CDL license?

It is possible to drive some vehicles with a CDL license of another class if you have the corresponding endorsements.


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