The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires companies that meet certain criteria to apply for operating authority, also known as an MC number. This is in addition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) number that all companies and drivers need. Your company requires an MC number if it transports passengers for interstate commerce for money or another type of compensation, whether the payment is direct or not. This also applies to companies that deliver commodities regulated by the federal government and owned by others.
One of the most common questions that people have after applying for an MC number is how long it takes before they receive it. It is important to understand that the FMCSA may take additional steps to confirm the information on the application and determine the applicant’s ability and willingness to comply with both statutory and regulatory requirements. The FMCSA vetting process may include checking for a valid license and registration, complaints against the company, checking financial responsibility, and other types of verification.
Application processing timelines
If you apply as a new company through the Universal Registration System (URS), you should receive your MC number within 20 to 25 days. However, this only applies if the FMCSA did not need to engage in extensive vetting to complete processing of your application. For existing carriers who applied via the United States Postal System, notification should come via mail within 45 to 60 days.
A representative from the FMCSA will attempt to contact you directly if your application has missing or incomplete information or it is not legible. It can take up to eight weeks to complete vetting your application in this situation. The request for additional information from you will come by phone or postal mail. Keep in mind that a delay in responding to the FMCSA’s request for information only means a delay in receiving your MC number.
How to check on the status of your application
To check the status of your application for an MC number, you should navigate to the FMCSA Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (SAFER) and follow these steps:
- Look for a bold heading title FMCSA Searches
- Click the tab labeled Licensing & Insurance
- Enter your USDOT number in the box
- Hit buttons labeled Search and HTML
- Click on the tab labeled Authority History at the bottom of the page
It typically takes three to four business days after granting of an MC number for the FMCSA to notify you by mail. You should contact the agency once 10 days have passed without receiving your notification. If the FMCSA required additional time to vet your application, the status will state Suspended. And that’s some helpful information to know about the FMCSA vetting process.
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