The entity’s physical address or PPOB is the designated central location where the company is engaged in business operations. Normally, this is where officials routinely report to work, and where safety records and/or business records are regularly maintained.
The entity must make safety records available for inspection at this location within 48 hours upon FMCSA’s request.
You cannot designate as your PPOB any location where your entity is not actively engaged in business operations. FMCSA will not accept a P.O. Box, a private mailbox, post office box centers that hold mail or packages for pickup, or other location with no legal or functional relationship to the applicant’s business including process agents.
If using a virtual office location, the entity must make safety records available for inspection at this location within 48 hours upon FMCSA’s request.
A process agent is a legal representative upon whom court papers may be served in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder. Every motor carrier (of property or passengers) shall make a designation for each state in which it is authorized to operate and for each state traversed during such operations (using Form BOC-3). Brokers are required to list process agents in each state in which they have an office and in which they write contracts. Many commercial firms will arrange process agents in any state for a fee.
Carriers who operate exclusively in either Alaska or Hawaii need only designate a process agent in that state.
Mexican carriers operating in the Commercial Zone need only designate a process agent in the states they will be operating in.
A list of process agents can be found in the instruction packet accompanying an application or on our website.
Either the applicant or process agent, on behalf of the applicant, can file Form BOC-3 (Designation of Process Agents) with the FMCSA. Only one completed form may be on file. It must include all states for which agency designations are required. One copy must be retained by the carrier or broker at its principal place of business.
For more information on filing form BOC-3 with the FMCSA, click here.
An Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) is a person or entity that makes intermodal equipment available to motor carriers for interchange. Additional information and responsibilities are identified in 49 CFR section 390.40 of Subpart C.
The term “intermodal equipment” refers to trailing equipment (mainly Intermodal containers, chassis but can also include trailers) used in the transportation of cargo by highway in interstate commerce.
An example of an IEP is someone who provides a container chassis to move containers when they come off either a ship or rail. An IEP may provide a chassis which will move the container to a motor carrier or provide the chassis for the intermodal movement.
To register with FMCSA as an IEP, go to the Unified Registration System (URS).
Note: If you are transporting intermodal equipment, it does not mean you would register as an IEP. In this case your entity type would be motor carrier.
To learn about other entity types, check out our How To Identify Entity Types video.
Once you have your USDOT number, you will be able to operate as a private motor carrier. You will not be able to operate as a for-hire motor carrier until you have operating authority (an active MC number). For more information on operating authority, click here.
There is a $300 fee for each operating authority requested.
Private motor carrier of passengers (business)
passengers (nonbusiness) means private motor carrier involved in the interstate transportation of passengers that does not otherwise meet the definition of a private motor carrier of passengers (business). (49 CFR 390.5)
A USDOT number usually applies to the company, not a particular branch office or vehicle. Generally the corporate office or headquarters should register the company, and should inform its branches of the USDOT number. For companies with multiple branches, maintaining proper registration with the FMCSA requires good communication between the corporate headquarters and the terminal offices. The company's headquarters then can then interact with the FMCSA to ensure that all of its branches are properly accounted for.
An authorized for-hire motor carrier transports passengers, regulated property or household goods owned by others for compensation. If you are a for-hire carrier, in addition to the USDOT number you will also need to obtain operating authority (MC number).
You can review the different types of authority by clicking here.
For information on how to apply for for-hire authority, click here.
An exempt for-hire motor carrier transports exempt (unregulated) property owned by others for compensation. The exempt commodities usually include unprocessed or unmanufactured goods, fruits and vegetables, and other items of little or no value.
For a partial listing of exempt and non-exempt commodities, please refer to Administrative Ruling 119.
For information about who needs an MC number, click here.
If you are a motor carrier based in Mexico and plan to operate beyond the commercial zone in the United States, you must register with FMCSA by completing the appropriate forms: MCS-150, OP-1MX and BOC-3 Forms.
To download the forms, click here.
Please note the online FMCSA registration process is not available for these type of operations at this time.
More guidance for Mexican carriers is here.
The Unified Registration System (URS) is a new electronic on-line registration system that will streamline and simplify the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) registration process and serve as a clearinghouse and depository of information on all entities regulated by the Agency, including motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities. The URS will combine multiple registration processes, information technology systems and forms into a single, electronic online registration process.
Note: The initial phase of URS affected only new registrants (Dec. 12, 2015). Later phases will affect all regulated entities.
For more information, please see the October 21, 2015 Federal Register Notice.
On January 17, 2017, FMCSA published a Federal Register notice suspending the January 14 and April 14, 2017 URS effectiveness dates.
Yes. If you transport hazardous materials in commerce, you are required to register with the FMCSA. This includes both intrastate and interstate transportation of hazardous materials. In addition to registration, you may also need to obtain specific permits or certifications, depending on the nature of the hazardous materials you are transporting. Please refer to the FMCSA website or contact our Hazardous Materials Division for more information on registration requirements and applicable regulations.
To interline a shipment is to transfer the shipment between two or more carriers for movement to final destination. For example, where the point of origin is Washington, DC and the final destination is Los Angeles, CA, Motor Carrier “A” may transport a shipment from Washington, DC and then interline with Motor Carrier “B” in San Antonio, TX. Motor Carrier “B” will then complete the transportation of the shipment to Los Angeles, CA.
No, you are not considered a Motor Carrier of Household Good and do not need HHG Operating Authority. The term “Motor Carrier of Household Goods” does not include any motor carrier that delivers furniture, appliances, or other furnishings between a factory or a store and an individual's household. If you are not a moving company, you are not considered a Motor Carrier of Household Goods.
A Motor Carrier of Household Goods (HHG) is an authorized for-hire Motor Carrier that transports only household goods for the public in exchange for payment. Household goods are personal items that will be used in a home. They include items shipped from a factory or store, if purchased with the intent to use in a home and transported at the request of the householder who pays for the transportation charges.
Household goods (HHG) motor carrier means a motor carrier that, in the ordinary course of its business of providing transportation of household goods, offers some or all the following additional services: binding and nonbinding estimates; inventorying; protective packing and unpacking of individual items at personal residences; and/or loading and unloading at personal residences.
Note: Motor Carriers of Household Goods must file proof of both public liability (BI & PD) and cargo insurance with FMCSA to obtain interstate Operating Authority.
First-time broker applicants who don't already have a US DOT number or other operating authority must register online with the FMCSA via the Unified Registration System (URS).
If you already have a US DOT number and/or other operating authority, you must apply by submitting the OP-1 form to FMCSA until URS is fully implemented. Please note: on January 17, 2017, FMCSA published a Federal Register notice suspending the January 14 and April 14, 2017 URS effectiveness dates.
For more information on registering as a broker, click here.
After the MC Number has been assigned, to complete the application process, brokers must also take the following steps:
- For brokers of property: Proof of Insurance Coverage: a Surety Bond or Trust Fund Agreement (Form BMC-85) in the amount of $75,000
- For brokers of household goods: Proof of Insurance Coverage: a Surety Bond or Trust Fund Agreement (Form BMC-84) in the amount of $75,000
- Form BOC-3, Designation of Process Agent Form (brokers may designate themselves as their own process agents in the State in which they are writing contracts)
- Application processing fee: $300 (non-refundable)
- Application processing time: Approximately 4-6 weeks
Note: Effective October 2013 all bonds for brokers increased to $75,000.00.
Insurance forms must be filed by the insurance company, not the carrier or broker. For information on how insurance companies can make these filings online, click here.
- Form MCS-82, Motor Carrier Public Liability Surety Bond under Sections 29 and 30 of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980
- Form MCS-82B, Motor Carrier Public Liability Surety Bond under Section 18 of the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982
- Form MCS-90, Endorsement for Motor Carrier Policies of Insurance for Public Liability under Sections 29 and 30 of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980
- Form MCS-90B, Endorsement for Motor Carrier Policies of Insurance for Public Liability under Section 18 of the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982
- Form BMC-34 for proof of cargo liability insurance is used to make cargo insurance filings for household goods carriers with FMCSA. FMCSA do not provide these forms. The insurance company making the filing maintains their own supply of forms. Many insurance carriers are set up to make the required insurance filings with FMCSA electronically
- Form BMC-84 for broker surety bonds is used to make the bond insurance filing for the broker authority with the FMCSA. FMCSA does not provide these forms. The insurance company making the filing maintains their own supply of forms. Many insurance carriers are set up to make the required insurance filings with FMCSA electronically
- Form BMC-85 for broker trust fund agreements is used to make the trust agreement for the broker authority with the FMCSA. This form can only be completed by a financial institution (insured bank, commercial bank or trust company, agency or branch of a foreign bank in the U.S., insured institution of the National Housing Act, a thrift institution, a loan or finance company).
- Form BMC-91 or BMC-91X for proof of bodily injury and property damage (BI & PD) insurance are both used to make liability filings with the FMCSA. FMCSA does not provide these forms. The insurance company making the filing maintains their own supply of forms. Many insurance carriers are set up to make the required insurance filings with FMCSA electronically
For more information about insurance requirements and filings, click here.
A private motor carrier transports its own cargo, usually as a part of a business that produces, uses, sells and/or buys the cargo that is being hauled. A private motor carrier transports its own goods and is required to have a USDOT number but does not need operating authority (MC number).
Puerto Rican motor carriers and freight forwarders do need operating authority in certain cases, depending on where they are operating. If an entity domiciled in Puerto Rico operates between Puerto Rico and the United States, then it does need operating authority for that portion of the operation taking place within the United States. However, if it operates solely within Puerto Rico, or between Puerto Rico and a foreign country (not a US state or territory), then it does not need operating authority from the FMCSA. Source: 49 U.S. Code § 13102 - Definitions; 13501 - General jurisdiction; 13531 - General jurisdiction.
Who is eligible to obtain temporary authority?
A motor or passenger carrier wishing to apply for temporary operating authority registration authorizing for-hire commercial motor and passenger vehicle operations, while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, equipment and persons into or from the zone where the emergency is taking place.
When is temporary authority available?
Applications for temporary authority require a determination that there is, or soon will be, an immediate transportation need that cannot be met by existing motor carrier service. 49 CFR 365.107T(f). Such applications are only entertained in exceptional circumstances, during natural disasters or national emergencies. 49 CFR 365.107T(g). In most circumstances, the Agency will only entertain applications for temporary authority when an emergency declaration has been issued, consistent with 49 CFR 390.23.
Where can I find information on current emergency declarations?
Go to https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency for links to current FMCSA emergency declarations. The temporary authority is only active as long as the emergency declaration is in effect. All temporary authorities will be revoked once the emergency declaration expires.
How can a carrier apply for this temporary authority?
- If a carrier does not have a USDOT number, they must apply for one by submitting a signed MCS-150 form (write “Emergency Temporary Authority” at the top) with their OP-1, rather than filing via URS. To access the MCS-150 form, click here. Carriers that are subject to an FMCSA Out of Service Order are not eligible for temporary authority.
- A carrier must file a signed form OP-1 with “Emergency Temporary Authority” written at the top along with the specific Emergency Declaration found at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency-declarations by fax/web form rather than online. To access form OP-1, click here. You can submit it by:
- Submitting a ticket through our website at: ask.fmcsa.dot.gov. Select Inquiry Type: Operating Authority (Docket Number) > Request temporary operating authority due to an emergency declaration – This is the fastest option; or
- Fax: 202-366-3477 (Put “Emergency Temporary Authority” on the fax cover sheet)
- The application fee has been waived.
- The carrier must also file proof of insurance and have form BOC-3 (Designation of Process Agent) on file with FMCSA. For more information on insurance requirements click here, and for and BOC-3 requirements, click here.
- Pursuant to 49 CFR 365.107T(g), the carrier is also required to provide a statement on why they need temporary operating authority, appended to Form OP-1 for property carriers, Form OP-1(MX) for Mexican property carriers and, Form OP-1(P) for motor passenger carriers.
How long does it take for temporary authority to be granted?
OP-1 applications for temporary authority should be processed within 48 business hours of receipt. However, the authority will not be granted until the carrier’s evidence of financial responsibility (insurance) and BOC-3 form are on file with FMCSA.
The authority is valid for 120 days or until the emergency declaration expires, whichever comes first.
If a carrier wishes to apply for permanent authority, they need to apply using the same MC/USDOT number granted for the temporary authority. The applicant would be required to pay the $300 fee for permanent operating authority registration, as well. For more information, click here.