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Steps To Getting A USDOT Number

Here we simplify the steps of getting started from applying for your USDOT number to becoming DOT compliant

Business Registration

  1. File articles of organization with your Secretary Of State (ex: John DoeTransport LLC, Jane Doe Brokers Inc) 

  2. Obtaining your FEIN (Tax ID Number)  the only businesses that don’t require an EIN are sole proprietors ( companies consisting of 1 person can generally avoid filing for an EIN).

Man in Suit Signing

DOT Number Filing

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all businesses to obtain a USDOT number prior to starting a commercial transportation business. A USDOT number (DOT number) is a unique identification number that allows for instant access to a company’s safety information. This number helps to provide information during inspections, audits, accident investigations, compliance reviews, etc. and must be displayed on every vehicle. The USDOT number provides the foundation for any other registration that you may need.

MC Number

According to the FMCSA companies that do the following are required to have an 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) such as picking up or dropping off at airport or traveling across state lines.

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

Interstate commerce is the general term for transacting or transportation of products, services, or money across state borders or bringing in from across state borders

Lorries Parked In Line
Image by Khamkéo Vilaysing


 CDL required vehicles require IFTA as an agreement among the lower 48 U.S. states and Canadian regions to simplify reporting of fuel use by carriers who drive in multiple states. Carriers must file a quarterly fuel tax report that determines their tax due which then gets distributed through the states. This must be renewed every year.


 Only for Interstate carriers who are operating for hire or brokers. FMCSA will not authorize your Motor Carrier number until the BOC-3 is on file. This permit assigns your company a process agent who will be the one to get served on your behalf in any legal proceeding. This serves as a blanket coverage that designates a process agent in every U.S. state.

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Lorry Wheels


Once an MC number is processed you must contact your insurance company and request that they provide proof of insurance to the FMCSA. Insurance companies then file what is called a BMC-91X with the FMCSA which is a vital step in the authorization process .

Image by Recha Oktaviani


Unified Carrier Registration is considered the highway maintenance fee for vehicles that travel across state lines for hire, brokers and freight forwarders. This electronic permit is renewed yearly and the cost of the permit is dependent on the number of vehicles the company operates.

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Image by CDC

Driver Compliance

49 CFR Part 382   FMCSA Regulation 382 - Drug and Alcohol Testing   Required for Anyone with a GVWR 26,001LB or GREATER


49 CFR Part 391   FMCSA Regulation 391 - Drive Qualification Files      Required for Anyone with a GVWR 10,001lb or GREATER

Understand that after applying for your USDOT number you will receive an overwhelming amount of phone calls from solicitors claiming to be from the Department of transportation. As stated by the Federal motor carrier association "FMCSA is aware that motor carrier officials and new entrant applicants often receive confusing or misleading solicitations from service providers or third party administrators by telephone, e-mail, text and US Mail. These businesses obtain your company’s information when you submit an application or update your information with FMCSA, because your basic carrier information is publicly available."

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