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Registration & Operating Authority Frequently Asked Questions

Read on for information on some of the most common motor carrier registrations so you can better understand the requirements for your business. To learn more about how Foley can help you obtain the permits and registrations you need to operate legally, please click here.


Who needs a U.S. DOT Number?

You’ll need a US DOT Number if your company operates commercial motor vehicles that transport passengers or hauls cargo in interstate commerce, or if you are a commercial interstate or intrastate carrier who hauls hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding.

Certain states require all Commercial Motor Vehicle registrants to get a U.S. DOT Number. These include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What are the different types of operating authority issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)?

A FMCSA operating authority include:

  • Motor Common Carrier of Property except Household Goods
  • Motor Contract Carrier of Property except Household Goods
  • Motor Common Carrier of Household Goods
  • Motor Contract Carrier of Household Goods
  • Broker of Property except Household Goods
  • Broker of Household Goods
  • United States Based Enterprise Owned or Controlled By Persons of Mexico Providing Truck Services For The Transportation of International Cargo (Except Household Goods)
  • United States Based Enterprise Owned or Controlled By Persons of Mexico Providing Truck Services For The Transportation of International Household Goods
  • Freight Forwarder Authority
  • Motor Passenger Carrier Authority
  • Mexico-based Carriers for Motor Carrier Authority to Operate Beyond U.S. Municipalities and Commercial Zones on the U.S.-Mexico Border
  • Mexican Certificate of Registration for Foreign Motor Carriers and Foreign Motor Private Carriers Under 49 U.S.C. 1302.

Why is my company being billed for more than one operating authority?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires companies to apply for, and pay a separate filing fee, for each authority sought.

How long will it take to obtain my operating authority?

Once all the forms have been submitted, it typically takes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) between three and four weeks to set up a new authority.

Why do I need to complete a BOC-3?

Motor carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers must have a current BOC-3, Designation of Agent for Service of Process, on file with FMCSA to secure operating authority and maintain active operating status.

How do I check my Unified Carrier Registration filing status?

You can check your current UCR filing status on the SAFER site. Click here and enter your US DOT, MC/MX or FF Number to check if your registration is current.

What is the International Registration Plan (IRP)?

The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a registration reciprocity agreement between the 48 contiguous United States and several Canadian provinces. IRP is designed to fairly distribute licensing and registration fees among states and provinces based on the number of miles a qualified vehicle travels through a jurisdiction.

How do I determine if I should register with the IRP?

IRP registration is required for vehicles that are used for transporting passengers or property in two or more jurisdictions that…

Have a registered gross vehicle weight or actual weight or combination weight in excess of 26,000 pounds; or
Are power units with three or more axles regardless of weight.

What must be included on an Individual Vehicle Distance Record to meet the requirements of IRP?

Carriers are responsible for ensuring that their drivers maintain detailed Individual Vehicle Distance Records (IVDRs) for each IRP-registered vehicle in their fleet. The record must include the following:

  • Date of trip (starting and ending)
  • Trip origin and destination
  • Driverʼs name or signature
  • Total trip distance
  • Distance by jurisdiction
  • Routes traveled and odometer reading (beginning and ending)
  • Registrantʼs name
  • Fleet number
  • Unit number or VIN
  • Plate number