How to get an MC Number/Operating Authority

A company that is interested in engaging in certain types of transportation activities must have an MC Number, which is also known as operating authority. Specifically, companies that (a) transport passengers via interstate commerce and that (b) transport federally regulated commodities that are owned by others or coordinate the transportation of those commodities, are required to have operating authority.  That operating authority is important because it determines the type of cargo that a company is permitted to carry and the type of operation that a company is permitted to have. Here are the steps to follow in the process of obtaining an MC Number.

Types of Operating Authority

There are numerous types of operating authority available, They include the following:

  • Motor Carrier of Property (except Household Goods)
  • Motor Carrier of Household Goods (Moving Companies)
  • Broker of Property (except Household Goods)
  • Broker of Household Goods
  • United States-based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo (except Household Goods)
  • United States-based Enterprise Carrier of International Household Goods
  • Freight Forwarder Authority
  • Motor Passenger Carrier Authority

Anyone interested in obtaining operating authority first decides which type of authority they would like to request.

Costs for obtaining Operating Authority

There are costs associated with getting an MC Number and operating authority, so anyone who wants to obtain that authority must pay those fees to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Various payment methods, including checks and credit cards, are accepted.

Steps involved in applying for Operating Authority

Applicants who have never registered with FMCSA previously and who have not received a USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number must register through the Unified Registration System.

All applicants who have already received a US DOT number and who want to apply for additional authority can do so through the FMCSA legacy registration system.

Applicants are required to complete the necessary motor carrier operating authority forms (OP-1 series). Then they submit those forms to FMCSA.

Applicants who have already registered with FMCSA and who are interested in adding an operating authority may request that.

After applying for Operating Authority

The length of time it takes to have operating authority finalized and approved varies based on certain factors, but in general, it can take between about 20 business days and about 60 business days or longer.

Companies that have requested operating authority but have not yet received notification that they have been approved for authority can follow up on the status of their approval and find out whether their operating authority has been granted. They can do so at the SAFER website.

There are numerous advantages to obtaining an MC Number, or operating authority, so it is definitely worth it to go through the fairly straightforward process of requesting that authority.

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