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Get Authority to Operate (MC Number)


In general, companies that do the following are required to have interstate Operating Authority (MC number) in addition to a DOT number:

  • Transport passengers in interstate commerce (for a fee or other compensation, whether direct or indirect)
  • Transport federally-regulated commodities owned by others or arranging for their transport, (for a fee or other compensation, in interstate commerce)

FMCSA operating authority is often identified as an "MC," "FF," or "MX" number, depending on the type of authority that is granted. Unlike the USDOT Number application process, a company may need to obtain multiple operating authorities to support its planned business operations. Operating Authority dictates the type of operation a company may run and the cargo it may carry.

Who Does Not Need Authority?

All of this also dictates the level of insurance/financial responsibilities a company must maintain. Carriers not required to have operating authority include:

  • Private carriers (carriers that transport their own cargo)
  • “For-hire" carriers that exclusively haul exempt commodities (cargo that is not federally regulated)
  • Carriers that operate exclusively within a federally designated "commercial zone" that is exempt from interstate authority rules. A commercial zone is, for example, a geographic territory that includes multiple states bordering on a major metropolitan city, such as Virginia/Maryland/Washington, DC

Types of Authority

The type(s) of Operating Authority requested will impact the type and level of insurance that is required by FMCSA. Therefore, carefully select only the type(s) of Operating Authority relevant to the business. FMCSA does not refund application fees. Descriptions of the different types of interstate Operating Authority are as follows:

Filing Fees

Permanent Authority$300.00
Notice of Name Change$14.00

NOTE: Separate fees must be submitted for each kind of authority sought. Please note that there are NO REFUNDS for mistaken applications.

Apply for Authority

Unified Registration System (first-time applicants)

First-time applicants, who have never registered with FMCSA before and have not been issued a US DOT number, need to register via the new Unified Registration System as of December 12, 2015. To register, click here.

Applicants  who are already registered for a USDOT number, or who are applying for an additional authority, can apply online using FMCSA’s legacy registration system with a credit card.

Credit Card via US Mail

If you are already registered with FMCSA, but wish to add an operating authority, you can register using a form and credit card via US Mail. Credit card payments and completed applications should be mailed to:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, MC-RS
Washington, DC 20590

Check via US Mail

If you are already registered with FMCSA, but wish to add an operating authority, you can register using a form and a check via US Mail. Payment may be combined. Applications and other filings accompanied by improper fees will not be accepted.

Checks should be made payable to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Applications and payments should be sent to:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
P. O. BOX 530226
Atlanta, GA, 30353-0226

Express Mail

Applications and payments should be sent to:

Bank of America
Lockbox Number 530226
1075 Loop Road
Atlanta, GA, 30337

How Long Does the Process Take?

  • URS  applications (new applicants only) may take 20-25 business days, unless they are subject to further review by the agency, in which case it could take an additional 8 weeks or longer
  • US Mail carrier applications (existing carriers) may take 45-60 business days

How Do I Check My Application Status?

To check whether your operating authority has been issued(granted),

  • Go to the SAFER website
  • See bold heading “FMCSA Searches”
  • Click on “Licensing & Insurance”
  • Enter MC Number or USDOT Number in the appropriate box and click “search”
  • Click “HTML”
  • Scroll to bottom and click on “Authority History.” This page will display the granted date of the operating authority

Normally, operating authority documents are sent out within 3-4 business days after number has been granted. If 10 or more business days have passed since the grant date and you have not yet received the operating authority document, call 800-832-5660 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time for assistance, or contact us via our web form.

Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
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