Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV?

RV Lifestyle


If you find yourself asking, “Do I need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive an RV?”, you’ve come to the right place. Whether or not you need a special RV license is a pretty common question when it comes to renting an RV

RV license requirements vary widely. For example, for Cruise America, the RVs you’ll be renting will be C Class or Truck Campers. To drive a Cruise C Class RV, you must possess a valid driver’s license — temporary licenses are not valid — and a major credit card. In addition, all drivers must be at least 21 years old and sign a Rental Agreement before the RV is rented. 

There are plenty of other RV license requirements to know about, such as the type of RV you’re driving and what state you’re traveling in. 

So, to answer the question, “Do I need a CDL to drive an RV?”, we broke down the requirements for certain classes of RVs and various state requirements below. 

What Are the RV Class Types?

Before we discuss the different types of special licenses you may need to operate your RV, let’s quickly review the types of RV class types. The primary types we’ll cover today include: 

  • Class A. These vehicles can be anywhere from 30-40 feet long and are often equipped with all the amenities you’ll need to camp in style. Class A RVs are best suited for those planning a longer road trip. 
  • Class B. Class B RVs are a bit smaller and more closely resemble a van. The smaller size makes them easier to operate, but they also provide slightly fewer amenities compared to a Class A. 
  • Class C. A Class C RV is a slightly shorter version of Class A. These vehicles are a bit easier to drive but offer just slightly fewer amenities. However, you’ll still receive many of the same luxuries found in Class A. 

With this information in mind, it’s time to cover what type of RV will require a CDL or other specialized license. 

 Do You Need a CDL To Drive an RV? RV License Requirements 

When it comes to answering, “Do I need a CDL to drive an RV?”, there’s no one right answer. RV license requirements truly depend on the type of vehicle and the state you are driving it in. We’ll cover a few different scenarios to help you better understand what type of CDL or special license you need to abide by the law. 

What Types of Special Licenses Are Available?

Before we dive into what type of special license you may need to operate your RV, let’s first cover what types of licenses are even available. 

  • R Registration. You won’t see this type of license required in many states aside from New York. This license is required in the Empire State for recreational vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds. Check with the state’s DMV to determine whether this license is needed. 
  • Commercial. CDLs are not often required to operate an RV, but it’s best to verify this information with the state’s DMV. If you are renting an RV from Cruise America, you won’t need to worry about obtaining this type of license!
  • Non-Commercial. There are different types of non-commercial licenses that may be required in some states. For example, a Class B license is a non-commercial license needed in California to operate certain types of RVs. Before you begin your Cali road trip, make sure you have the proper license for your chosen RV. 

Without further ado, it’s time to determine what kind of licensing you’ll need for your fun-filled RV vacation!

You Don’t Need a Special License With Cruise America

First and foremost, we’re going to cover the type of RV that Cruise America offers: the Class C motorhome! Because Cruise America’s Class C RVs are easy to drive and operate, this class of RVs is the best choice for family road trips.

These RVs are best known for having a cab-over design, where part of the RV is directly above the driver’s seat in these RVs. 

You’ll be happy to learn that Cruise America rents both Class C motorhomes and truck campers, which do not require a special driver’s license. As mentioned before, you only need one driver that is 21 years or older and has a valid driver’s license and credit card. This is due to their easy operation, lower weight, and shorter length. 

Plus, when renting with Cruise, insurance is provided to you free of charge! Since the nightly rates for this can get pretty costly elsewhere, this benefit is a big advantage when planning your RV trip budget.

Other Motorhome Classes

You might be surprised to learn there are several classes of motorhomes out there besides Class C! When looking at RVs in general, you will discover there are classes A and B motorhomes in addition to Class C. The major difference between each class is the size and weight of the RV.

Class A motorhomes are recognizable for their distinct bus features. In other words, class A motorhomes tend to be pretty big! 

Class B motorhomes tend to resemble your typical van — with the added benefits of a motorhome, of course! Depending on who makes this class of motorhome, the body of the vehicle can vary. 

These types of motorhomes may require special licensing to operate. For these larger vehicles, it’s best to review state requirements before hitting the road. Now that you know a bit more about motorhome classes, we can dive into said license requirements.

Motorhome in Forest

RV License Requirements by State

While Cruise America won’t require any special licenses from you to drive an RV, it doesn’t hurt to know about various other license requirements out there! 

By and large, most states with RV license requirements ask for two types of special licenses: a commercial or a non-commercial license. 

These licenses are required if you’re driving a vehicle over a certain length or weight. However, it is always a good idea to check if your state has any special requirements for driving any RV. 

Below, we’ve listed some states that require either a commercial or non-commercial driver’s license for driving an RV:

  • Arkansas: Depending on the vehicle class, weight, and contents inside the vehicle, Arkansas requires a commercial driver’s license or CDL. 
  • California: California has various non-commercial licenses depending on the vehicle class, as well as how much you’re towing. 
  • Hawaii: Hawaii has class A, B, and C CDL requirements that vary depending on the gross vehicle weight rating.
  • Kansas: If you plan on driving a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight above 26,001 pounds, then Kansas requires you to get a CDL. 
  • Maryland: In Maryland, a non-commercial class C license is required for motor vehicles that weigh under 26,001 pounds. 
  • New Mexico: New Mexico has class A, B, and C CDL requirements depending on the gross vehicle weight and how much is being towed. 
  • Nevada: The state of Nevada requires a CDL for a driver of any vehicle weighing more than 26,001 pounds and/or is designed to carry 16 passengers, including the driver. 

Some states may have certain CDL requirements, but there are also states where these requirements don’t apply. For example, states like Connecticut have license exemptions for certain recreational vehicles. 

An important thing to remember is that these requirements can change from year to year. So, the requirements that were valid one year may be changed the next year.

In the end, make sure you check with your state’s DMV to make sure you know the up-to-date requirements for RV licenses before hitting the road. And, don’t forget, with Cruise America, you just need one driver with a valid license and major credit card when renting your dream RV!

Plan Your RV Adventure in Style!

To have the most comfortable RV experience, there are plenty of resources for you to check out about RV life with Cruise America!

With Cruise, you can get a sneak peek into your RV rental online, which is pretty helpful for knowing how much room you’ll have. In the end, you can rest assured that your trip will be amazing when renting an RV with Cruise America! 

Plus, you don’t have to worry about a special RV driver’s license. All you need with Cruise America is a valid license from the country you’re from, a major credit card, and to be present when signing the rental agreement!