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Get Authority to Operate (MC Number)

Overview

In general, companies that do the following are required to have interstate Operating Authority (MC number) in addition to a DOT number:

  • Operate as for-hire carriers (for a fee or other compensation)
  • Transport passengers in interstate commerce
  • Transport federally-regulated commodities or arranging for their transport, in interstate commerce

FMCSA operating authority is often identified as an "MC," "FF," or "MX" number, depending on the type of authority that is granted. Unlike the USDOT Number application process, a company may need to obtain multiple operating authorities to support its planned business operations. Operating Authority dictates the type of operation a company may run and the cargo it may carry.

Who Does Not Need Authority?

All of this also dictates the level of insurance/financial responsibilities a company must maintain. Carriers not required to have operating authority include:

  • Private carriers (carriers that transport their own cargo)
  • “For-hire" carriers that exclusively haul exempt commodities (cargo that is not federally regulated)
  • Carriers that operate exclusively within a federally designated "commercial zone" that is exempt from interstate authority rules. A commercial zone is, for example, a geographic territory that includes multiple states bordering on a major metropolitan city, such as Virginia/Maryland/Washington, DC

Types of Authority

The type(s) of Operating Authority requested will impact the type and level of insurance that is required by FMCSA. Therefore, carefully select only the type(s) of Operating Authority relevant to the business. FMCSA does not refund application fees. Descriptions of the different types of interstate Operating Authority are as follows:

Ready to Apply?

It is essential that you download the application instructions for your specific type of authority prior to completing the application process. Failure to comply promptly with all pre-registration requirements will result in dismissal of the application. Refunds of filing fees are not permitted.

Please read the instructions for the appropriate OP-series form carefully to avoid errors.

Filing Fees

Action Fee
Permanent Authority $300.00
Notice of Name Change $14.00

NOTE: Separate fees must be submitted for each kind of authority sought. For instance, requests for a motor common carrier certificate and motor contract carrier permit are subject to two $300 fees. Please note that there are NO REFUNDS for mistaken applications.

Application Submission and Payment Information

Credit Card Online

Applicants can also apply online with a credit card:

Credit Card via US Mail

Credit card payments and completed appiclations should be mailed to:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, MC-RS
Washington, DC 20590

Check via US Mail

Payment may be combined. Applications and other filings accompanied by improper fees will not be accepted.

Checks should be made payable to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Applications and payments should be sent to:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
P. O. BOX 530226
Atlanta, GA, 30353-0226

Express Mail

Applications and payments should be sent to:

Bank of America
Lockbox Number 530226
1075 Loop Road
Atlanta, GA, 30337

How Long Does the Process Take?

  • Online Property carrier applications may take 20-25 business days
  • US Mail Property carrier applications may take 45-60 business days
  • Online or mailed household goods or passenger carrier applications may take 8 weeks or longer.

How Do I Check My Application Status?

To check whether your operating authority has been issued(granted),

  • Go to the SAFER website
  • See bold heading “FMCSA Searches”
  • Click on “Licensing & Insurance”
  • Enter MC Number or USDOT Number in the appropriate box and click “search”
  • Click “HTML”
  • Scroll to bottom and click on “Authority History.” This page will display the granted date of the operating authority

Normally, operating authority documents are sent out within 3-4 business days after number has been granted. If 10 or more business days have passed since the grant date and you have not yet received the operating authority document, call 800-832-5660 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time for assistance.

Updated: Thursday, May 1, 2014