The term 'operating authority' refers to the legal right of a motor carrier to operate a commercial motor vehicle across the U.S. for the following purposes:
The operating authority (MC/MX/FF) numbers are also known as docket numbers.
To determine whether you need an operating authority or not, you must answer the following questions:
If "Yes," you do not need operating authority. However, if you do not fall into any of these categories, you will be classified as an entity involved in interstate commerce; therefore, you will need operating authority.
An MC Number is mandatory if you engage in interstate commerce (i.e., crossing state lines). The following are required to have interstate operating authority (an MC Number) in addition to a USDOT Number:
a) Businesses that transport passengers in interstate commerce for a fee or other compensation - could be direct or indirect.
b) If transport involves federally regulated commodities owned by others or require arranging transport for a fee or other compensation in interstate commerce.
"MX" is a prefix for a motor carrier that is owned or controlled by a citizen of Mexico. Specifically, this number refers to a person domiciled in Mexico.
According to the FMCSA, "Mexico-domiciled motor carriers that enter the U.S. must have an FMCSA-assigned MX Number, a valid FMCSA Certificate of Registration for commercial-zone operations, or long-haul Provisional or Standard Operating Authority Registration, and a USDOT Number regardless of the distance traveled into the U.S."
The MX Number is also assigned to brokers and interstate for-hire motor carriers that apply for operating authority. The time it takes to obtain an MX Number varies depending on when the application is submitted. It also depends on how the application originated. Be sure to refer to the guidelines enlisted per the Unified Registration System (URS) under Commercial Zone Authority.
Freight Forwarders are issued FF Numbers, whereas brokers and carriers are issued MC Numbers. Since Freight Forwarders cannot transport freight from one state to another, there is no provision for Freight Forwarders to obtain single-state registration.
Freight forwarders are responsible for arranging the transportation of goods by FMCSA-licensed carriers. Therefore, Freight forwarders issue bills of lading to shippers and are accountable for the loss of or damage to the goods. Freight Forwarders are required to register with FMCSA. When the FMCSA Operating Authority grants permission to a Freight Forwarder to arrange for interstate or foreign commerce, an FF Number is issued. Forwarders must register with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) by filing a Form OP-1 (FF).
A broker authority is for an individual, partnership, or corporation that arranges the transportation of belongings for others by obtaining an authorized Motor Carrier (MC) Number.
Types of Broker Authority:
Need To Know:
Once your MC Number is assigned, you must do the following to complete the process:
Note: A broker does not assume responsibility for the property and never takes possession.
A Mexican Certificate of Registration allows Mexico-domiciled public motor carriers and private motor carriers to transport freight in commerce from Mexico within a 20-mile radius of the U.S. border.
Below are the forms needed to obtain a USDOT number and operating authority registration:
Note: This form is not to be filed if a business is domiciled in the U.S. and the owner or person who controls the company is a Mexican citizen.
Revocation of operating authority means when an existing motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder is no longer in operation.
When an individual, partnership, or corporation has suspended its operations and they no longer want to be an operator, they can opt-in for voluntary revocation.
The type of authority(s) you require will depend on which category(s) you fall into.
Intrastate commerce means you will only be conducting transportation within your base state. In other words, you will not cross any state lines or international borders. However, you should be aware of a couple of caveats that may mean you are considered an interstate carrier. (See the caveats below.)
Interstate commerce means you will be crossing over state lines or international borders.
When you operate a commercial vehicle in the U.S. and will be doing any of the following, you are required to have a USDOT number plus obtain your operating authority.
Note the following caveats:
If you are operating without operating authority or beyond the scope of your authority, you could be forced out of service by the FMCSA and be subject to fines.
Applying For Your MC Number
Applying for a new MC Number typically takes between a minimum of twenty to twenty-five business days to complete. You will be published in the federal registry once you have applied for the MC Number and completed the process.
To successfully obtain your MC Number, you must complete additional requirements, such as filing your BOC-3 (Blanket of Coverage) process agent designation, surety bond, insurance, and more.
You are granted at least eighty business days to comply with these requirements. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of your application, and you may have to pay an additional fee for another MC Number or operating authority. The best way is to contact a third-party service provider or agency to help you obtain your MC Number quickly.
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