top of page

The Federal government has oversight responsibilities for interstate for-hire motor carriage of property and passengers under 49 CFR 365. Before beginning operations, the carrier must submit a registration application (Form OP-1) to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), file proof of required insurance, and submit a Designation of Process Agents (BOC-3). If the company does not have a US DOT number, the applicant must also file an MCS 150 or MCS-150B if transporting certain hazardous materials requiring an FMCSA Safety Permit.. When all fees and documents have been received and found to be in order by the FMCSA, an authority to operate is granted.

When applying for operating authority, carriers must indicate whether they will be transporting household goods, general freight, passengers, or hazardous materials. The regulations for insurance, tariffs, etc. vary for different carrier types.

Applicants must also select “common” carriage or “contract” carriage. To obtain authority for both common and contract carriage, an addittional $300 fee is required for each additional authority.

A for-hire "motor common carrier" of property is defined as "a person holding itself out to the general public to provide motor vehicle transportation for compensation over regular or irregular routes, or both."
A for-hire “motor contract carrier” may provide transportation or service by entering into a contract with a shipper to provide specified services under specified rates and conditions. Under contract carriage, a bill of lading is not required; the contract will govern all aspects of transportation of the goods. The contract must include the freight charges for transporting the goods, responsibility for payment of freight charges, and specify what other services will be provided and their cost. The terms of the contract may waive the statutory rights and remedies governing liability and loss and damage claims. The shipper and carrier, as parties to the contract, must clearly specify the extent of carrier liability, as well as how loss and damage claims will be submitted, processed, and settled. If the statutory provisions are specifically waived, the transportation may not be challenged later on the grounds that it violated the waived provisions. Regulations and statutory requirements governing registration, insurance, and safety fitness may not be waived in a contract.


Interstate for-hire motor carriers are issued an “MC-number.” This Motor Carrier number is issued with interstate operating authority, and is necessary before conducting interstate for-hire motor carriage. 


For-hire carriers of passengers, private and for-hire carriers of property (including those operating as “exempt” carriers), freight forwarders, leasing companies and brokers are all subject to UCRA registration annually.
Carriers who are based in non-participating states, or who operate wholly in non-participating states are subject to UCRA registration.Canada and Mexico domiciled carriers operating in the United States are also subject to UCR.
The UCRA does not issue a paper credential to be carried in the vehicle. Proof of registration under the UCRA is available to roadside enforcement via FMCSA electronic information systems by accessing the carrier US DOT number.
UCRA registration does not replace or change the requirements for registration of vehicles under the International Registration Plan (IRP) or fuel use tax reporting under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).
Electronic registration and information is available at
Also see Unified Carrier Registration.
Interstate and intrastate carriers – Interstate carriers also engaged in intrastate motor carriage must comply with any state requirements for initial application for intrastate authority and submit any necessary fees. Such carriers will not be subject to annual renewal of the intrastate authority as long as they are legally registered with the UCR.
Intrastate carriers - Solely intrastate carriers (never crossing state lines, never engaging in interstate commerce) are not subject to the UCRA. A state may choose to include their intrastate only carriers within the UCRA, or the state may continue the intrastate registration process already in place.

For Hire Carrier Authority
bottom of page