Changes To PennDOT CDL & HME Renewal Process

PennDOT recently implemented a new process to “decouple” the renewal of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) from the expiration date of the Pennsylvania (PA) CDL. Decoupling permits HME CDL drivers to renew their CDL without the requirement to renew their TSA HME if time remains on the current HME approval period by simply passing the HME knowledge test. This would also apply to an out of state customer seeking to transfer an out of state CDL with an HME. To maintain the HME on the CDL, customers must renew their HME prior to the expiration date of the approval period.

Prior to decoupling, HME CDL drivers wishing to renew their CDL were required to renew their HME security threat assessment as part of the renewal of the CDL. This was required because of the four-year validity period of a PA CDL.   Since the TSA HME approval is valid for five years, most customers had a year remaining on their current HME approval at the time of the renewal of the CDL.

Considering the length of an HME approval, the time required for vetting, and the fact that initial REAL ID products can be valid for up to eight years, the department felt it was in the best interest of our customers to eliminate redundancy and improve these processes. The result is a cost-savings for customers (customers only have to go through the TSA-approval process once every five years as opposed to once every four), an efficiency for customers (CDL with HAZMAT can be issued faster to a customer transferring to PA with time remaining on an existing TSA HME), and flexibility to implement federal waivers when extensions of the TSA HME are provided in emergency situations, such as during a pandemic.

Under the prior process, customers only received a single Security Threat Assessment HME recertification notice, which was mailed seven months in advance of the CDL expiration date. The new process includes additional reminders.  Now, reminder notices are sent to take and pass the HME knowledge test being mailed six months in advance of the expiration date of the CDL, and three other reminder notices are mailed at seven months, 90 days, and 30 days for renewal of the HME.

Please contact Ted Harris ( if you have any questions.