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Apply for DOT and MC Numbers

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Published on June 9, 2023, 11 p.m.


This article explores how to apply for DOT and MC numbers through the FMCSA. This is important because the world of trucking can seem complicated, especially when you're just starting. One crucial step in kickstarting your trucking career or business is obtaining the necessary operational authority – the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier (MC) numbers.

These identifiers are essential for regulatory compliance, safety, and tracking. Our organization is here to guide you through the process of applying for your DOT and MC numbers, helping to simplify this critical step on your journey to becoming a professional trucker.

Understanding DOT and MC Numbers

Before delving into the application process, it's crucial to understand what DOT and MC numbers are and why they're necessary. The DOT number is a unique identifier assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It's used for monitoring and collecting information about safety inspections, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and audits. If you operate a commercial vehicle that transports passengers or hauls cargo in interstate commerce, it's likely you'll need a DOT number.

On the other hand, the MC number, also issued by FMCSA, grants the authority to transport goods or passengers across state lines. It's necessary if you're charging a fee to move cargo or if you arrange for freight to be transported by others.

What Is a DOT Number?

  • A DOT Number is an identification number issued by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • The DOT assigns a unique, identifying number to commercial vehicles that operate in interstate commerce.
  • It's also referred to as a USDOT number and must be displayed on all trucks owned or operated by businesses engaged in the transportation of goods across state lines.
  • Commercial carriers must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and obtain a DOT number before they can legally transport any goods across state lines.
  • The DOT number helps authorities monitor safety compliance and track companies nationwide.

What Is an MC Number?

  • MC number stands for "Motor Carrier" number.
  • It is an 8-digit identification number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • The MC Number is used to track data related to motor carriers and their operations, such as safety records, accident reports, insurance coverage, cargo information, and company financials.
  • All commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating of 10,001 pounds or more must have an MC Number to operate in the US legally.
  • Companies that do not have an MC Number will be barred from operating until they obtain one.

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How DO I Apply for a DOT Number?

The DOT number application process is straightforward and can be done online through our third-party organization. We will use the FMCSA's Unified Registration System (URS). Here's a step-by-step guide of what our experts can do on your behalf:

  • Visit the FMCSA URS Website: We will start by visiting the FMCSA Unified Registration System webpage. If it's your first time, you'll need to register and create an account.
  • Complete the Online Form: Once we've created an account, we'll need to fill out the MCS-150 form (Motor Carrier Identification Report) and the MCS-150 B form if you're a Hazardous Materials carrier. These forms ask for information about your business, like your company name, address, and the type of cargo you plan to transport.
  • Submit the Form: After we've filled out all the necessary information, submit your application. The process is free of charge.
  • Wait for Your DOT Number: After submitting your application, you should receive your DOT number instantly via the website. You'll also get an official FMCSA letter mailed to your business address within a few weeks.

How Do I Apply for an MC Number?

The application process for an MC number is similar to that of a DOT number but requires a small fee.

  • Visit the FMCSA URS Website: Just like applying for a DOT number, we'll need to visit the FMCSA URS website and log into your account.
  • Complete the Online Form: Our team will fill out the OP-1 form (Application for Motor Property Carrier and Broker Authority). This form asks about your business and the type of authority you're requesting.
  • Pay the Application Fee: This fee is non-refundable, even if your application isn't approved.
  • Wait for Your MC Number: After submitting the form and paying the fee, your MC number will be granted in a "pending" status. It takes about 20-25 business days for the FMCSA to review and grant your operating authority, provided all insurance and legal requirements are met.

Is Maintaining Compliance With the FMCSA Important?

Yes, absolutely. Once you've obtained your DOT and MC numbers, it's crucial to maintain compliance. This includes ensuring your insurance meets FMCSA requirements and updating your MCS-150 form every two years, regardless of changes in company operations. Regular safety audits and inspections are also part of the process, so it's vital to maintain high safety standards and keep accurate records.

Insurance Requirements

Proof of liability insurance is a prerequisite for both DOT and MC numbers. The minimum requirement often depends on the type of freight you'll be carrying. For example, as of September 2021, the minimum public liability insurance for freight carriers is $750,000, but higher-risk cargo like hazardous materials may require up to $5 million in coverage.

After you've obtained the necessary insurance, your insurer usually files proof directly with the FMCSA. It's important to note that failure to maintain the required insurance coverage may result in penalties or revocation of your authority.

What Are Biennial Updates?

Every two years, or biennially, carriers must update their information with the FMCSA, including any changes in operations or business details. This is done by submitting an updated MCS-150 form. The updates are due based on the last two digits of your DOT number – if it ends in 01, you must submit updates in January of every even-numbered year.

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What Are FMCSA Safety Regulations?

Safety regulations compliance is another significant aspect of maintaining your DOT and MC numbers. This can encompass a variety of factors, including driver qualifications, hours-of-service regulations, vehicle maintenance and inspection, and drug and alcohol testing programs. The FMCSA conducts regular audits and inspections to ensure compliance, and failure to adhere to these regulations can lead to severe penalties or even revocation of operating authority.

What Are the Benefits of DOT and MC Numbers?

Apart from the obvious legal requirement, obtaining a DOT and MC number comes with numerous benefits. First, it lends credibility to your trucking business, making it more appealing to potential customers. It can also open up opportunities for interstate trade, expanding your business reach and potential for profit. Furthermore, adherence to FMCSA regulations contributes to safer roadways for everyone.


Navigating the world of DOT and MC numbers can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With a clear understanding of the application process, MC Number Insurance Requirements, and safety regulations, you'll be well on your way to becoming a compliant and successful trucker. Remember, these numbers are more than just legal necessities – they're keys to unlocking growth opportunities and establishing a reputable, reliable trucking business. Start your journey today, and drive your way to success.

Summary: How Do I Apply for MC and DOT Numbers?

  • To apply for an MC and DOT number, we must fill out a few forms from the FMCSA website on your behalf.
  • Our registration experts must first create an account with the Unified Registration System (URS). This system lets us quickly and securely submit your application and registration information to the FMCSA.
  • After creating an account, we can then fill out the necessary forms, including Form MCS-150 (Motor Carrier Identification Report) and Form OP-1 (Application for U.S. Department of Transportation Number).
  • Once these forms are completed, they must be submitted to the FMCSA along with all supporting documents.

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