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Any motor vehicle or freight broker operating for hire across state lines.  In other words, if you're operating (for-hire) outside the state your business is located then you need MC Interstate Authority.

MC Interstate Authority includes the filing of the MCS-150, OP-1, and BOC-3 filed with the FMCSA, which are all done electronically to ensure an immediate filing into the FMCSA system. Once these registrations and numbers are issued they become permanent.


*    File the MCS-150, and OP-1 to obtain MC Number
*    File the electronic filing for your BOC-3 with the FMCSA
*    File the necessary insurance or surety bond
*    Wait the 15 BUSINESS days for the "protest period" to be completed
*    Certificate of Authority is granted

Federal and State governments have a responsibility to ensure the smooth and efficient transportation of persons and property in U.S. commerce and to provide a level of public protection from damage that may result from this transportation.

Operating authority is a form of “business license” for for-hire motor carriers, and is required in addition to vehicle licensing (IRP), fuel tax (IFTA), and DOT safety requirements.
For-hire motor carriers are defined in the law as “a person providing motor vehicle transportation of property or passengers for compensation.”

For-hire* includes common and contract carriers. The FMCSA defines the difference this way:

Common carrier: Before January 1, 1996, this was a company that provided for-hire transportation to the general public. The services offered and the prices charged were published in a public tariff and these were the only prices the common carrier could charge.

Contract carrier: Before January 1, 1996, this was a company that provided for-hire transportation to specific, individual shippers based upon private contracts between the carrier and each shipper, stipulating the services offered and the prices charged to each.

*The for-hire transportation of exempt commodities is considered for-hire carriage; however, these carriers are exempt from having an MC Number/Operating Authority.

The ICC Termination Act of 1995 defines contract carriage as truck transportation provided under a contract, but, effective January 1, 1996, it no longer distinguishes between common or contract carriers. However, the Act [49 USC 13902(d)] specifically authorizes the DOT (FMCSA) to continue registering applicants as either common or contract carriers until a rule replacing the current registration system is implemented. Until implementation of the new registration system, which is required by 49 USC 13902 (d), a carrier now should be registered as either a common or contract carrier, depending on how they would have been registered under the Interstate Commerce Act before January 1, 1996.

The current principal distinction between the two types is that common carrier applicants must transport goods subject to a bill of lading, and charge fees subject to the written rate, classification, rules, and practices upon which the rate is based [(49 USC 13710(a)(1)]. The carrier must provide a copy of the tariff to the shipper upon the shipper's request. Household goods carriers must give actual notice that the tariff is available for inspection. Contract carriers transport goods subject to rates and cargo liability provisions contained in their contract with the shipper.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administers the interstate for-hire carrier authority requirements found in 49 CFR 365. Previously, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was responsible for granting operating authority. Congress closed the ICC on December 31, 1995; the authority registration oversight was transferred, first to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and then to the newly created FMCSA within the DOT.

Which government operating authority regulations apply to a carrier depends upon several factors:
The kind of motor carriage conducted (for-hire, private, exempt).
Where the motor carriage takes place (interstate, intrastate).
The kind of commodity transported (exempt commodities, household goods, hazardous materials, general commodities, passengers).

In some cases, a carrier may be subject to both Federal and State requirements.
A motor carrier may have both common and contract authority but a separate registration fee is required for each.

Federal operating authority requires no renewal; it remains valid as long as the carrier maintains proper insurance and conducts business in compliance with Federal and State requirements.

UCR registration
The SSRS officially ended January 1, 2007, as mandated by SAFETY-LU. The Unified Carrier Registration Agreement (UCRA) was implemented on September 10, 2007.

Interstate for-hire, private and exempt property carriers, for-hire passenger carriers, leasing companies, freight forwarders, and brokers are subject to annual UCRA registration. Entities who are based in non-participating states, or who operate wholly in non-participating states are subject to UCRA registration. Canada and Mexico domiciled entities 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. These carriers are subject to the authority registration and renewal requirements in the state of operation.

Additional information about the UCRA:
Unified Carrier Registration Agreement
The Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005 Questions & Answers: Informal guidance for Interested

What is an Authority

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