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Unified Registration System


URS Rule Effective Dates Changed – October 21, 2015

The Congressionally mandated Unified Registration System (URS) will begin a phased launch beginning December 12, 2015. A phased approach allows for the complexity of retiring old systems and unifying the regulatory structure for the industry.

How does this affect you?

  • New Applicants: URS Phase One impacts only new registration applicants, who will be required to use the URS online registration application beginning on December 12, 2015. Only the initial registration by new applicants will be done using the URS online registration application until 2016.

  • Already registered with FMCSA: All other aspects of the URS regulation, including the new fee structure, will roll out during a later phase. All existing entities with a USDOT, MC, or FF number, or combinations of them will continue to use existing agency forms and processes to conduct updates, seek additional registration authorities, make administrative filings, and other registration related transactions, until September 30, 2016. The requirement for all existing private hazmat and exempt for-hire carriers to have proof of financial responsibility in place will take effect December 31, 2016. The requirement for all existing private and exempt carriers to have BOC-3 filings in place will take effect December 31, 2016. New applicants will begin providing this information September 30, 2016.

For more information, please see the URS-related FAQs. See also the text of the final rule published October 21, 2015 in the Federal Register, which changed the effective dates of the original URS rule. 

Webinars: Sign up now for the URS demonstration webinar. Several dates are available: For November 19 or 20, click here. For December 1, 3 or 15, click here. To view an earlier webinar on the basics of URS, click here. 

URS Overview

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) has published a final rule that will combine various forms that carriers, freight forwarders and brokers currently use to register and update their information with the agency into a single, electronic “smart form.” The new Unified Registration System will increase efficiency by streamlining the registration process for industry and enabling FMCSA to maintain more accurate information on the entities it regulates.

When URS implementation is complete, all new applications and updates to existing records will be handled through the new system.

What is the URS?

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.

Who is required to comply with the URS rule?

This rule applies to all interstate motor carriers (private and for-hire motor carriers of passengers and freight), freight forwarders, brokers, IEPs, HMSP applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities under FMCSA jurisdiction.

Effective Dates

There are multiple effective dates for this rule:

  • Beginning December 12, 2015, new applicants will be required to use the new online application when requesting registration and a USDOT number.
  • On September 30, 2016 all new and existing entities must process new applications and updates to existing records using the new online system. FMCSA will not accept paper forms or faxes.
  • On December 31, 2016, the requirement for all private and exempt carriers to have insurance and BOC-3 filings in place will take effect. New applicants will begin providing this information September 30, 2016.

FMCSA set November 1, 2013 as the compliance date for the biennial update requirements because motor carriers are already required to update their registration information biennially under 49 CFR 390.19 and the information is very valuable to the Agency in carrying out its safety mission. 

FMCSA plans to extend the next URS compliance date, October 23, 2015, when all Agency-regulated entities—motor carriers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), brokers, freight forwarders, and cargo tank repair and manufacturing facilities—are required to start using a new web-based online registration “smart form” to apply for new registrations, update records, and/or record transfers of operating authority registration.   The Agency will need more time to launch the new URS website.  Moreover, changing the real-time data exchange systems between FMCSA and its industry and State agency partners will require additional time for collaborative planning and testing to ensure a successful implementation of the URS.

Benefits of the new URS rule

The new rule will streamline manual processes and combine several forms regulated entities are required to submit into one unified online registration process, thereby saving time and money for the industry and FMCSA. The Agency estimates that industry will see total savings of almost $9 million from time and fees over a ten year period.

This rule will also improve the ability for FMCSA to locate small and medium-sized private and exempt for-hire motor carriers for enforcement action, because investigators will be able to work with designated process agents to locate and/or serve documents on hard-to-find motor carriers.

The Agency estimated in its Regulatory Impact Analysis that 16 percent of new registrations are submitted through paper applications. These entities without access to the internet may use third party processing agents, internet access at public libraries, and kiosks at trucks stops and travel centers, among other options.

About the Rulemaking

FMCSA undertook the URS rulemaking to simplify and reduce the amount of time entities must spend filling out paperwork as part of the registration process as well as enable the Agency to maintain more accurate information on the entities subject to FMCSA’s jurisdiction.

Portions of this rule are also required by the ICC Termination Act of 1995 and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) included several provisions relevant to the new URS, but these provisions will be addressed in a separate rulemaking.

FMCSA published the regulatory extension in the Federal Register on October 21, 2015 to provide sufficient time for the Agency to launch the new URS website and implement multiple provisions that were to be effective on October 23, 2015.

Updated: Monday, November 16, 2015
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