The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) HME Application Process
The DPS HME Application Process includes 4 steps:
- Complete and submit your application and any required fees to the Driver License Office
- Pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge Exam
- Schedule and Complete your Appointment for Fingerprinting
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security threat assessment
The overall time to complete the process depends upon how quickly the CDL driver completes steps 1, 2, and 3. Once those are complete, TSA’s goal for Step 4 is to provide a response within 30-45 days of receiving the information and fingerprints provided. If an individual has not received any correspondence from DPS after 45 days from the date of their fingerprinting then the individual should email DPS or contact the Customer Service Center to ask about the status of their HME application.
The following individuals are not eligible to apply for an HME:
- Non-Domicile CDL
- Commercial driver with lawful status as a refugee or asylee
- CDL holders that have certified to the Texas Commercial Driver License Application Intrastate Driver Certification (CDL-5) Section A
- CDL holders that have a valid Texas Limb Waiver
Step 1: Complete and submit your HME application at the Driver License Office
The first step in the HME process is for the CDL driver to complete and submit the Texas Hazardous Materials Endorsement Application to the Driver License Office and provide:
- U.S. passport book or card
- Birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, U.S. territory or District of Columbia
NOTE: Because Puerto Rican statute provides that Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 are no longer valid, the Department cannot recognize these birth certificates as proof of identification or lawful presence.
- For U.S. citizens born abroad—Certificate of Report of Birth (DS-1350 or FS-545) or Consular Report of Birth (FS-240) issued by the U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization (N-560, N-561, N-645, N-550, N-55G, N-570 or N-578)
- U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service U.S. Citizen ID Card (Form I-197 or I-179)
DPS will issue a CDL without the HME or with a 90-day temporary endorsement until TSA completes the threat assessment if the individual:
- Meets the federal regulations for the class of driver license sought
- Completes the required forms
- Pays the required fees
- Completes and passes the Hazardous Materials Exam
At the time of issuance or renewal, the individual will be provided the contact information for a fingerprinting location to begin the security threat assessment. Individuals may not initiate the fingerprinting process until the driver has completed the HME application process at the Driver License office. Failure to complete the HME application process at the Driver License Office may cause significant delay in processing the security threat assessment.
Step 2: Complete and Pass the Hazardous Materials Exam
After submitting your application and fee, you will be asked to take the Hazardous Materials Exam. Please refer to Section 9 of the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook for more information and to prepare for the exam. The exam has 30 questions and requires correct answers for 80% or more of the questions to pass. You will have 3 opportunities to pass the exam within 90 days of your application.
Step 3: Schedule and Complete Appointment for Fingerprinting
DPS contracts with a vendor to capture fingerprints. To schedule an appointment with the vendor, please visit IdentoGo by MorphoTrust USA. Enter your Service Code and select go. Applicants will be provided the Service Code during the HME application process at the Driver License Office. Individuals may also call 888-467-2080 to schedule an appointment and pay the non-refundable fee. Please be sure to provide accurate information when making your appointment to ensure that your finger prints are processed and linked to your HME application. The cost of this service is subject to change. Individuals should confirm this cost when they schedule their appointment.
During the appointment, individuals:
- Must present their Texas CDL
- Take a digital photograph
- Will be digitally fingerprinted
- Will be provided with a tracking number for confirmation
Step 4: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security threat assessment
Fingerprints are forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which will provide TSA with any criminal history data about the individual. This information will be used to help TSA make the final decision regarding HME eligibility.
- If an individual is approved for an HME, DPS will mail a new CDL to the individual to the address on record. The HME will expire on the expiration date of the CDL or five years from the TSA approval date, whichever is first.
- If the individual is denied an HME, DPS will notify the individual through the mail and provide the individual with information on how to appeal the decision through TSA.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) does not receive detailed information on an individual’s security threat assessment. DPS is only notified if an individual’s assessment is approved or denied.
USA Patriot Act and TSA
In accordance with the USA Patriot Act, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have adopted rules to secure the transport of hazardous materials. These rules require TSA to perform a security threat assessment on all commercial drivers who transport hazardous materials. The security threat assessment process includes collecting an individual's fingerprints and verifying US citizenship, immigration eligibility or permanent legal presence in the United States.
An individual cannot be issued a Texas commercial driver license (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement (HME) until the individual completes the security threat assessment and obtains clearance from TSA.
Individuals are not allowed to transfer the remaining validity period of an HME issued by another state. Since a new security threat assessment is required with a Texas CDL application, existing HME holders will be granted a 90-day temporary endorsement at the time of issuance if all other HME requirements are met.
Detailed information regarding the USA Patriot Act, including the waiver and appeal process, is available on the TSA website.
Note: Individuals required to register under Chapter 62, of the Code of Criminal Procedure must renew their commercial driver license and HME annually. Individuals under these requirements are only required to comply with steps 3 and 4 every five years, unless the individual fails the annual HME knowledge exam more than three times at renewal.