What is an Operating Authority?

Operating Authority is a motor carrier’s right to operate a commercial motor vehicle to transport goods/passengers for – hire. It is a business license for a motor carrier or broker. As a business owner, you need to comply with all federal and state regulations to run your business legally. Also, you need to comply with the financial responsibility (e.g., insurance), process agent designations, and MCS-150 completion (for USDOT Number).

What can happen if you operate without an authority?

If you operate without authority, you risk damaging your own business. Carriers operating without an authority or beyond the scope of their authority can be put Out of Service. A company operating without authority is also subject to fines.

What are the authority types?

Here are the operating authority types:

  • Property Broker: an individual or company arranging other people’s property transportation (excluding household goods) for compensation by using a motor carrier. As a Broker of Property, you are not responsible for the property and do not take possession of it.
  • Household Goods Broker: an individual or company arranging other people’s household goods transportation for compensation by using a motor carrier. As a Broker of Household Goods, you are not responsible for the goods.


You are required to register as a Household Goods Broker if you contribute any of the following:

– Estimates (binding and non-binding)
– Inventorying

– Packing and unpacking items at personal residences
– Loading and unloading at personal residences


  • US – based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo: a company that transports international cargo (except for household goods) and has headquarters in the US while it is owned by a Mexican resident.


  • US – based Enterprise Carrier of International Household Goods: a company that transports international household goods and has headquarters in the US while it is owned by a Mexican resident.


  • Property Motor Vehicle: a for-hire motor transporter that hauls controlled cargo, including family products, for repayment.


  • Household Goods Motor Carrier: a for-hire motor transporter that hauls only family products, for repayment. If you are a motor carrier of household goods, you need both liability and cargo insurance to get an authority to operate.


  • Other authorities:

– Motor Passenger Carrier

– Non – North America – Domiciled Motor Carrier

– Freight Forwarder (FF)

– Mexico-based Carrier for Motor Carrier Authority to Operate beyond US Municipalities and Commercial Zones on the US-Mexico Border (MX)

– Mexican Certificate of Registration for Foreign Motor Carriers and Foreign Motor Private CarriersWhat is a USDOT number?

The USDOT Number is a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information acquired during compliance reviews, audits, inspections and crash investigations. The USDOT Number is a unique number for your business used to access your company’s safety information. Also, commercial, intrastate and unsafe materials carriers who haul types and quantities requiring a safety permit, must register for a USDOT Number.

There are two options for filing the necessary forms to obtain a USDOT Number:

  • Completing and filing the required MCS – 150 forms online,
  • Completing a printed copy and mailing to the

The MCS-150, Motor Carrier Identification Report asks for specific information about your motor carrier operation. The information you list on your MCS-150 also provides the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with the details of your operation.

Need a help with filling the documents? DOT ControlAuthority’s team is ready to do all the paperwork for you. Give us a call at 1 – 888 – NOW – GETDOT.

Am I required to have a USDOT number?

You are required to have a USDOT Number if you have a vehicle that:

  • is used to ship the types and quantities of unsafe materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce;
  • has gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater;
  • is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for repayment (in that case you also need an MC number);
  • transports more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used for transporting passengers for repayment.

How do I apply for a USDOT number?

To apply for a USDOT Number, your company must be involved in transportation, traffic or trade between states or:

  • between two places in one state, crossing another state;
  • between two places in one state as a part of traffic, trade or transportation with the point of origin or destination outside of the US.

We have a free quote that will help you get in touch with DOT Control Authority agency. Just fill the quote and our agents will do the paperwork of getting a USDOT Number at our earliest convenience. You can also contact us by calling at (855) – 327 – 8176.

What is an MC number?

Sometimes, in addition to a USDOT Number, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that a trucking company has an MC Number, which is a type of operating authority as well.

In what cases am I required to have an MC number?

You need to have an MC Number if your company:

  • provides transportation for passengers in interstate commerce for repayment, that can be direct or indirect;
  • operates as a for – hire carrier in interstate commerce or a broker.

There are several types of FMCSA authority, such as MC, MX and FF.  Possibly, you are going to need more than one operating authority to be able to run your business legally, depending on what kind of operations you run and what cargo you hold.

How long should I wait to get my MC number?

If you are a new applicant and do not have a USDOT Number yet, you will be registered through Unified Registration System (URS). In that case, you will need to wait for 20 – 25 business days to get your operating authority. If you are already registered and have a USDOT Number just want to add operating authority, the process takes longer – up to 60 business days.

With DOT Control Authority it will be simple for you to comply with the FMCSA regulations in every way. Our agents will always provide you with updates and all the information you need. Give us a call at 1 – 888 – NOW – GETDOT or (855) 327-8176.

What is an MX Number and who needs that?

This is another type of operating authority that is required for Mexico – domiciled motor carriers. If you are crossing the U.S. border, it is a must to have a valid FMCSA authorized MX Number and a FMCSA Certificate of Registration for commercial – zone operations. The time it takes to obtain an MX Number differs, depending on the application submitted and the means by which the application is submitted.

What is a California DOT Number?

If you are a motor carrier with a home base in California and operate solely within the state borders, legally you do not need to have a USDOT Number legally. However, if you plan on operating interstate, getting a CA DOT number becomes a requirement.

 It does not matter what your home base state is, DOT requirements stay the same. That means that you are going to need a DOT number if:

  • your vehicle transports more than 8 passengers (including the driver) in exchange for payment;
  • you have a vehicle that weighs 10,001 pounds or more;
  • your vehicle transports more than 15 passengers (including the driver) without compensation.

When you are starting your trucking business, it might be confusing and take a lot of time. But do not worry – DOT Control Authority will do all the paperwork for you. Call us at (888) NOW – GETDOT or (877) 702 – 9746.


For whom is FF (Freight Forwarder Number) required and what is that?

Freight Forwarder is a company that is specialized in managing storage and shipping of merchandise. It usually ships under its own bills of loading and its agents or associates at the destination provides document delivery. Basically, a freight forwarder is a company that manages the importing and exporting of goods. The answer to the question about who needs an FF Number is simple. If you are a freight forwarder then you need an FF Number. You cannot operate without it.

What is a UCR registration?

Unified Carrier Registration is a base – state program that replaces the Single Registration System. Companies (SSRS) and individuals that operate business motor vehicles interstate are required to register their businesses. The registration should be in the participating state. An annual fee is required as well.

All the registered members must pay their UCR fee within in the state they inhabit primarily. However, some states are not taking part in the program. The following states: Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming and D.C. If you live in a state that does not take part, it is a must to pay the UCR fee in a neighboring participating state. If you do not pay your UCR fee, it will damage your business.