do you need a license to drive an RV

Do You Need A License To Drive An RV?– What You Need And How To Get It

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Whether you have a travel trailer or a motorhome, each state has its guidelines regarding the weight capacity or the number of passengers that can ride an RV. Because driving an RV is not the same as driving a regular car, this question should be resolved– "do you need a license to drive an RV?" and "what kind of license do you need to get?"

For first-time RV or motorhome owners, learning the state’s laws about driving an RV can be quite an experience. If you’re driving under a 26000lbs camper trailer or an RV, you don’t need a license to operate one of those RVs. Your regular driver’s license is clear enough to use according to DMV laws in all fifty states.

In this article, we will help you clear up your confusion about the types of special licenses for you to drive an RV. We will also share with you the different licensing requirements for each RV category.

What License Do You Need to Drive an RV?

There are two types of special licenses required for driving an RV: a commercial and non-commercial license.

Some states require RV owners to have a non-commercial license to drive motorhomes or recreational vehicles depending on a certain weight and length of an RV. On the other hand, other states require drivers to have a commercial driver’s license if you’re driving heavy vehicles like tractor-trailers or buses.

If you’re planning to purchase a big and brawl motorhome, you have to know first that most states require drivers an exclusive license to drive an RV. Vehicles that can accommodate more than 16 passengers or exceed regular weighing capacity are subject to special licensing.

However, motorhomes or camping trailers that weigh under 26000lbs or towing less than 10000lbs vehicles do not need an exclusive license.

RV Weighs and Classes

Let us clear this one first: laws can change from time to time, and can vary from a different state to another, and in doing so, we've researched everything to ensure that these laws are accurate. If you’re having doubts about the license you should acquire to drive an RV in your state, we highly advise checking with DMV’s rules and regulations frequently before renting or purchasing an RV.

In case you drive or plan to purchase an extra-large motorhome or RV, there are different references where you might need special licensing.

For reference, Class A vehicles weigh from 13000lbs up to 30000lbs, while Class B motorhome weighs between 6000lbs to 8000lbs. Class C vehicles weigh from 10000lbs to 12000lbs. 

The Two Types of Special Licenses

The license you need will depend on where you live, simply because each state imposes different rules about acquiring a special permit to drive an RV. As mentioned earlier, the two types of individual licenses are commercial and non-commercial.

Commercial driver license or CDLs are licenses used for driving vehicles like delivery vehicles and buses. It also pertains not to what you are driving but to why you are driving. Few states require drivers to have a CDL to drive an RV or a motorhome. If you’re driving an RV for a living or if it passes the maximum weight capacity, you will need one of these licenses.

Individual states will require you to have a Class B CDL for vehicles that weigh more than 26000lbs. If you’re driving a motorhome with a trailer or large RVs that exceeds 45 feet long, you will need Class A CDL for these states.

On the other end, several states require drivers to have a non-commercial license Class B if the gross vehicle weight rating is over 16000lbs like Illinois. California requires drivers to have a non-commercial license for motorhomes with more than 40 feet in length. Many states demand drivers to have a non-commercial class B license for RV or motorhomes with more than 26000lbs GVWR like Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas. Depending on the weight category of the motorhome, a regular driver’s license can be different to meet specific requirements.

Why Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV

Do you need a license to drive an RV? The quick answer is, yes, you need to acquire a license to operate an RV.

For average RVers, what does that mean? Some states require RVers to have a license for driving regular size RVs or extra-large rig and motorhomes.

It’s best to have a special license to drive a motorhome regardless of the weight and passenger capacity, and individual states consider the length of an RV.

As far as abiding the law, each state configures different licensing requirements that each RVers needs to follow.

In the next section, we’ll briefly discuss the licensing requirement for different classes of RV. Hopefully, it will bring attention you need for your RV licensing requirement.

License Requirements for Class A RV

Class A camping trailers or motorhomes are types of RVs that require a license to drive. Because weight capacity is an essential factor, an RV that falls into 13000 to 30000lbs must have a driving permit – which each state considers 26000lbs threshold as the weight limit. Most of these RV's length is more than 40 feet, so they are bulky and large.

License Requirements for Class B RV

For Class B RVs, you should have no problem acquiring a license. These compact and agile motorhomes are easy to navigate in narrow and unpaved roads. Most of these RVs weigh around 6000 to 8000lbs, and there are no states that restrict Class B RVs to having a special license. Additionally, Class B RVs stand at least 20 feet and can accommodate six persons.

License Requirement for Class C RV

Class C RVs are more affordable than Class A luxury motorhomes, so they are some of the favorite RV vehicles. These RVs don’t need special license requirements because they weigh 10000 to 12000lbs. They are designed on a van with an attached cab section on the front for driving. Moreover, their length stretches from 21 feet to 40 feet.


Getting and driving an RV can be very challenging since it's a special kind of vehicle. But it doesn't have to be if you follow the law. If you want to avoid problems with licensing, you should contact your local DMV to find out the requirements. Moreover, we recommend that you follow the policies like the weight capacity from each state. If you follow these simple rules, you will have a stress-free RV getaway.

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