Obtaining a Carrier License in the United States or Why You Need USDOT/MC Numbers | Law&Trust International

A US carrier license is required in certain cases. What are these cases? What are USDOT and MC numbers? Why should you receive them? We will consider all these topics in our article.

What is a USDOT number and what is it used for?

The USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number is an identifier, a unique number for each company that wants to ship in America. The USDOT number provides quick access to your company’s security information. Thus, potential customers who care about the safety of the shipped cargo can verify information about your company and its reliability before ordering. This option is also available to all US government agencies.

This number will protect the client and will allow the company to avoid fines since all roads in America are paid and have certain restrictions. Consequently, a loaded car driving without permission will be stopped and if all the necessary documentation is not provided, it will be fined, and further driving will be prohibited. In order to avoid negative consequences, each vehicle that meets the criteria must be registered with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration or FMCSA with an individual number that will be displayed on the numbers of the vehicle owned by the shipping company.

As a general rule, all vehicles that weigh more than specified in the Law must be registered with FMCSA. This rule also applies to vehicles that carry a certain number of passengers or that make trips both within the country and abroad.

In addition to federal regulations, some states also require that you register with FMCSA and receive a USDOT number. A total of 37 states out of 51 have such a requirement. The most popular ones are:

California  New York
Florida  Nevada
New Jersey Wyoming

What is an MC number and who needs it?

MC number (Motor Carrier number) is also a unique identifier assigned by FMCSA to companies engaged in freight transportation, working in the field of trade. Vehicles of the company that received the MC number must be licensed to transport goods across state borders.

The purpose of obtaining an MC type number is to legally cross the state border. Neither the recommendations nor the law indicate the obligatoriness of displaying this number on the vehicle numbers, but when crossing the border with any state, there is a direct need for this type of number.

Who should obtain this number?

As a general rule, companies that meet the following criteria must obtain an MC number in addition to the DOT number:

  • companies that operate as hired carriers on a paid basis (for remuneration or other compensation);
  • companies that carry passengers or organize transportation within interstate commerce;
  • transportation of goods regulated by federal law, or the organization of their transportation within interstate commerce.

If you determine that you need a carrier license in the United States after analyzing the activities of the company, you should submit a form to obtain these numbers. As a general rule, USDOT, in case of a positive decision, is issued within one hour after sending all the relevant documents. If we consider the MC number, it will take a little longer to obtain it: about 20-25 days. The procedure does not require your personal presence.

When sending an application you will need:

  1. Employer Identification Number (EIN);
  2. The officer’s name;
  3. Dun & Bradstreet number (if any).

After receiving the numbers, the most important stage will remain: filing your insurance to activate the numbers. When the numbers from FMCSA are issued, they will not be active: even if you use them, they will not give you legal reasons for doing business. A prerequisite is an activation - sending the existing insurance.

Insurance must be filed directly by an insurance company in America that provides insurance for this type of activity. FMCSA will not accept copies of insurance or any other documents.

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