Have Questions?
We Have Answers.

Logistec/TTS wants to help you. We understand transportation licensing and permitting can be complex.

Government officials aren’t always helpful. Rules can be confusing. The filing process can be challenging.

We have complied a list of some commonly asked questions to help you get started.

If you're new to trucking and want to get a feel for the process of obtaining your authority or if you have a specific question, we encourage you to check out our expansive list of FAQs (frequently asked questions). Don't see your question listed? Please contact us and we'll get it answered for you as soon as possible!

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Federal Licensing and Permitting

What is the FMCSA?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The FMCSA regulates and provides safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) operating in the United States.

According to the FMCSA’s website, the FMCSA's mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The FMCSA partners with industry, safety advocates, and state and local governments to keep our nation's roadways safe and improve CMV safety through regulation, education, enforcement, research, and technology. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the FMCSA employs more than 1,000 individuals in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

What is the difference between interstate commerce and intrastate commerce?

Interstate commerce is trade, traffic, or transportation involving the crossing of a state boundary. To be considered interstate commerce, either the vehicle, its passengers, or cargo must cross a state boundary. This includes cargo that is part of trade or transportation that begins or ends outside that state or the US at any point during the shipping process. For example, cargo coming from or going to post offices, ports, rail yards, and airports is considered interstate commerce, even if the transport originated and ended in the same state.

Intrastate commerce is trade, traffic, or transportation within a single state.

What is Operating Authority?

Operating Authority is a motor carrier’s legal right to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the United States for:

  • Transporting goods or passengers for a fee or other compensation in interstate commerce (across state lines or national borders);
  • Arranging goods or passengers or storing goods to be moved in interstate commerce.

Operating authority is granted by the FMCSA and is generally referred to as Interstate Authority, FMCSA Authority, Motor Carrier Authority or an MC Number.

There are three types of Operating Authority:

  1. Common, Contract or Broker Authority (MC) – Persons or companies providing or arranging property, passenger or household goods transportation for a fee (i.e. for-hire) to the general public and/or shippers.
  2. Mexican-Domiciled Authority (MX) – Persons or companies providing or arranging transportation for a fee to the general public and/or shippers that are based or domiciled in Mexico.
  3. Freight Forwarder Authority (FF) - Person or companies who take title of goods and specialize in managing storage, consolidation, warehousing, and shipping of those goods.

The FMCSA will designate a "MC," "FF," or "MX" prefix to each Operating Authority number, depending on the type of authority that is granted.  

Companies with Operating Authority are required to comply with all federal and state regulations, insurance and other financial requirements, process agent designations (BOC-3), and MCSA-1 completion (USDOT Number) in order to operate legally.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get Operating Authority for $699.

What is the difference between Interstate Operating Authority and Intrastate Operating Authority?

Interstate operating authority is the legal right to operate a commercial vehicle in the United States to transport or arrange goods or passengers for compensation across state lines or national borders. Interstate operating authority is administered by the FMCSA and is generally referred to as a MC Number, but can consist of a "MC," "FF," or "MX" number, depending on the type of authority that is granted.

Intrastate operating authority is the legal right to operate a commercial vehicle to transport or arrange goods or passengers for compensation within a state’s lines or borders. Each state has different rules and regulations concerning Intrastate transportation. Companies working intrastate still need proper registration, whether it’s in the form of a USDOT number or simply just with intrastate operating authority, or both.

What can happen if you operate without an authority?

Companies operating without authority or beyond the scope of their authority can be put Out of Service by the FMCSA. In addition, companies operating without proper authority can be subject to substantial fines and penalties.

What is a Process Agent?

A process agent is a representative upon whom court papers may be served in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder. The Designation of Process Agents (called the BOC-3) is one of the pre-licensing requirements that must be met by the company before authority is issued by the FMCSA and must be maintained to remain active for FMCSA Authority (MC Number).

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that manages process agents.

What is a BOC-3?

A BOC-3 is a federal filing representing the Designation of Process Agents. The BOC-3 designates the process agent in each state who may be served legal documents in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder.  The FMCSA requires companies to obtain a BOC-3 before granting operating authority. 

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you file your BOC-3.

MC Number Information

Who needs a MC Number?

A MC Number is required if your company plans to:

  • Transport property, household goods, or passengers for a fee or other compensation in interstate commerce (across state lines or national borders);
  • Arrange property, household goods or passengers or store goods to be moved in interstate commerce.

A MC Number is granted by the FMCSA and is generally referred to as Operating Authority, FMCSA Authority, Interstate Authority, or Motor Carrier Authority. However, there are three main types of Motor Carrier Authority, including “MC”, “FF”, or “MX” numbers, depending on the nature or your operations and type of authority that you need.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get an MC Number for $699.

What are the different types of Motor Carrier (MC) Authority?

When you register for an MC Number, the FMCSA is going to require you to choose a type of Motor Carrier (MC) authority. These include:

  • Motor Carrier of Property (Property Motor Carrier) - An authorized for-hire Motor Carrier transports regulated commodities (except household goods) for the general public in exchange for compensation.
  • Motor Carrier of Household Goods (Moving Companies) - An authorized for-hire Motor Carrier transports only household goods for the general public in exchange for compensation. Household goods are personal items that will be used in a home.
  • Motor Passenger Carrier Authority (Passenger Carrier) – An authorized for-hire Motor Carrier transports people by bus, van or limousine for compensation.
  • Property Broker (Freight Broker) – A person or company who arranges other people’s property transportation (excluding household goods) for compensation by using a motor carrier.
  • Household Goods Broker (Household Goods Broker) - A person or company who arranges other people’s household goods transportation for compensation by using a motor carrier.

All motor carriers and freight brokers providing interstate commerce will have a “MC” label prefixed to their operating authority.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get a MC Number.

How long does it take to get a MC Number?

It generally takes 20 business days from the date you apply before a MC Number (operating authority) will be granted to you. Once you apply and are assigned an MC Number, you are published in the Federal Registry and your application goes through a mandatory protest period.

However, before the FMCSA will grant you a MC Number, you must comply with all of the additional application requirements, including filing your BOC-3 Process Agent Designation, insurance and/or surety bond. The FMCSA will allow you 80 business days to comply with the application requirements. If you do not comply within the application requirements within the 80-day time frame, your application will be dismissed and you will have to pay another MC Number (operating authority) application fee to proceed again.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get a MC Number.

Can you move freight once you apply for a MC Number?

No. You cannot transport regulated commodities in interstate commerce until you have obtained your MC Number (FMCSA Authority) certificate/permit and received your appropriate state registrations. Simply applying for your MC Number is not enough. You must wait for the FMCSA to issue your MC Number certificate and/or permit.

What are the main types of insurance?

Motor carriers need to be aware of insurance requirements. The FMCSA will only issue operating authority after the proper insurance forms have been submitted. The three main types of insurance include:

  • Liability - Liability insurance is mandatory for all commercial trucks. It will pay for bodily injury and property damages that your truck may cause to other people or property. The minimum amount of liability insurance is set by the FMSCA. For trucks over 10,000 pounds GVWR you’ll need to the following minimums:
    • $750,000 - Most trucks hauling most commodities are required to have a minimum of $750,000 of coverage. Many load brokers will require a minimum of $1,000,000.
    • $1,000,000 - Auto haulers need a minimum of $1,000,000 in coverage. One million in coverage is also becoming an industry standard across other hauled commodities.
    • $5,000,000 - If you are hauling certain hazardous materials, you’ll need a minimum of $5,000,000 in coverage.
  • Cargo - Motor truck cargo insurance covers losses arising from damage to the goods (cargo) you are delivering. The federal government only requires a cargo limit of $5,000. However, this requirement was set in 1935 and you rarely see cargo policies for $5,000. Typical limits range from $50,000 to $250,000. The most common cargo limit is $100k. Limits above $250,000 are also written depending on the value of the cargo being transported.
  • Physical Damage – Physical damage Insurance covers your truck if damaged. It consists of two different parts:
    • Collision – Pays for damage to your truck when it collides with another vehicle or object.
    • Comprehensive – Pays for almost every other peril your truck might face such as vandalism, fire and theft.
  • Other:
    • Bobtail – Bobtail insurance is a liability coverage for truckers that pays for property damage or injuries to others that you cause while the trailer is detached from your truck. Bobtail insurance is for truck drivers who own their own truck, are leased onto a Motor Carrier, and who sometimes drive without a trailer attached.
    • Non-Trucking Liability – Non-trucking liability insurance offers payments for property damage or injuries you may cause while the truck is not being used for business purposes. Many truckers need this coverage because there will be times that the truck is driven for personal reasons.

For more information on insurance, please contact Logistec/TTS.

Where can you obtain the insurance forms BMC-91 or BMC-91X?

The forms BMC-91 or BMC-91X are both used to make liability insurance filings with the FMCSA. We do not provide these forms. The insurance company making the filing maintains their own supply of forms. However, many insurance carriers are set up to make the required insurance filings to FMCSA electronically.

Please feel free to contact Logistec/TTS for more information regarding BMC-91 and BMC-91X forms.

What is a MCS-90 Endorsement?

Motor carriers seeking operating authority (MC Number) must obtain insurance policy with an MCS-90 endorsement from their insurance provider.  This endorsement allows for federal filings of insurance, such as BMC-91/91X (liability) and BMC-34 (cargo).

Misc Operating Authority Information

Can a carrier broker loads?

No. A carrier cannot broker loads without having a proper FMCSA Broker Authority.

What is an MX Number?

A MX Number is a special type of interstate operating authority that is required for Mexico – domiciled motor carriers. If you are crossing the U.S. border, you must have a valid FMCSA authorized “MX” Number and a FMCSA Certificate of Registration for commercial – zone operations. The time it takes to obtain an MX Number differs, depending on the application submitted and the means by which it is submitted.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get a MX Number.

What is an FF Number?

A FF Number is a special type of interstate operating authority that is required for companies that:  

  • Assemble, stores or consolidate freight or arrange for others to do so;
  • Perform distribution operations and break-bulk of freight;
  • Assume full responsibility for the shipment from the time it leaves it origination point until delivered to the customer at the destination point.

A Freight Forwarder is a person or company that is specialized in managing the storage and shipping of goods. If you are performing freight forwarding services, you must have a valid FMCSA authorized “FF” Number and a $75,000 surety bond.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get a FF Number.

What is Temporary Operating Authority?

The FMCSA gives drivers the opportunity to apply for temporary operating authority when situations warrant.  This is common among motor carriers wishing to provide temporary disaster or emergency relief by transporting people, equipment, and supplies to affected areas.

For more information regarding temporary operating authority, please contact Logistec/TTS.

How can you purchase the FMCSA Regulations?

Copies of the FMCSA/USDOT Safety handbook can be purchased at many truck stops across the US and via several online providers. Additionally, regulations issued by FMCSA are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Copies of appropriate volumes of the CFR in book format may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, or examined at many libraries. Visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ for more information.

USDOT Number Information

What is a USDOT Number?

A USDOT Number is assigned by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and is used by various government agencies to identify a motor carrier.  All motor carriers operating in the US are required to have a USDOT Number. The USDOT Number serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company's safety information acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections. Apart from federal regulations, most states require their intrastate commercial motor vehicle registrants to obtain a USDOT Number. Lastly, in order for companies to register for a MC Number or interstate operating authority, they must have a USDOT Number on file with the FMCSA.

Who is required to get a USDOT Number?

A USDOT number is required for companies that operate commercial vehicles transporting goods or passengers in interstate commerce. Also, commercial intrastate hazardous materials carriers who haul types and quantities requiring a safety permit must have a USDOT Number. 

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get a USDOT Number.

How do I apply for a USDOT number?

To apply for a USDOT Number, companies must complete a MCSA-1 form electronically (Motor Carrier Identification Report) with the FMCSA.

Logistec/TTS is a FMCSA licensed Process Service Agency that can help you get a USDOT Number for $300.

Can you move freight once you get a USDOT Number?

Once you have your USDOT number you will be able to operate as a private motor carrier (provided you follow all Federal and State Regulations and registration requirements). You will not be able to operate as a for-hire interstate commerce motor carrier until you have your MC Number (FMCSA Authority).

What is a biennial update?

The biennial update is a requirement set by the FMCSA to update your MCS-150 Form (also called the Motor Carrier Identification Report) every two years. Bear in mind, however, you are required to update your MCS-150 Form whenever pertinent information changes on your company, such as your number of trucks, drivers, and yearly mileage. You are required to update your MCS-150 form even if no business information has changed. To ensure you are complying the FMCSA enforces a biennial update requirement. If you don’t update your MCS-150 form, your USDOT number will be deactivated and you could face a fee of $1,000 per day up to $10,000.

Logistec/TTS can assist with your Biennial update. If you are a member of our Process Service program Biennial updates are Free! Contact us for more information.

State Licensing and Permitting

What is UCR?

The UCR (Unified Carrier Registration) is the program that replaced the (SSRS) Single State Registration System. The UCR Program requires individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce to register their business with a participating state and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet. This includes ALL carriers - private, exempt, or for hire. Brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies are also required to register and pay a fee unless they also operate as a motor carrier.

Please feel free to contact Logistec/TTS for more information regarding UCR.

What is IRP and IFTA?

The International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) are cooperative programs to collect and distribute registration and fuel tax revenue between member states and Canadian provinces.  The programs benefit carriers by consolidating licensing and reporting requirements through the base (home) state.

Please feel free to contact Logistec/TTS for more information regarding IRP and IFTA.

Who is required to comply with IRP and IFTA?

Motor carriers crossing state-lines with vehicles over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or three (3) or more axles on the power units are required to register for an IRP and IFTA account.

Please feel free to contact Logistec/TTS for more information regarding IRP and IFTA.

When do you file quarterly IFTA tax returns?

IFTA quarterly tax returns are due on the following dates:

Reporting Period

Due Date

January thru March

April 30

April thru June

July 31

July thru September

October 31

October thru December

January 31


If you do not file an IFTA quarterly tax return, pay the tax you owe, or file your return by the due date, you may be subject to late penalties and interest charges.

Your IFTA tax return must have a postmark before or on the due date when sending it via mail. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the next business day is the final filing date. If you do not receive your return at least 14 days before the due date, call for a replacement. It is your responsibility to file even if you do not receive a notice from the State.

Some states now require online reporting or offer it as an option. If you are unsure what your state requires contact the commercial DMV and inquire.

Please feel free to contact Logistec/TTS for more information regarding IFTA reporting.

Other Licensing and Permitting

What is the Highway Use Tax (2290)?

The Highway Use Tax, also called Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT), is an annual fee assessed on heavy vehicles operating on public highways at registered gross vehicle weights (GVW) over 55,000 pounds.

The GVW for taxing purposes is determined by adding:

  • The actual unloaded weight of the vehicle fully equipped for service;
  • The actual unloaded weight of any trailers or semitrailers fully equipped for service customarily used in combination with the vehicle, and;
  • The weight of the maximum load customarily carried on the vehicle and on any trailers or semitrailers customarily used in combination with the vehicle.

If the GVW is from 55,000 to 75,000 pounds, the HVUT is $100, plus $22 per 1,000 pounds over 55,000 pounds. For over 75,000-pound vehicles, the maximum HVUT is $550 per year.

2290 runs from June through July of each year and must be filed no later than August to avoid any IRS penalties.

For more information or assistance with filing your Highway Use Tax (2290), please contact Logistec/TTS.

What is a SCAC?

The Standard Carrier Alpha Code is an unique two-to-four letter identification used by the transportation industry to identify freight carriers in computer systems and shipping documents, such as bills of lading, freight bills, packing lists and purchase orders. SCAC identification codes were created in the mid 1960's to facilitate computerization in the transportation industry.

SCACs are required when doing business with all U.S. Government agencies and with many commercial shippers including, but not limited to, those in the automobile, petroleum, forest products, and chemical industries as well as suppliers to retail businesses and carriers engaged in railroad piggyback trailer and ocean container drayage. Carriers who use the Uniform Intermodal Interchange Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA) are required to maintain a valid SCAC. The petroleum industry uses SCACs in their integrated software programs that expedite the movement of bills of lading, pipeline tickets, product transfer orders, and inventory data. Many commercial shippers and receivers utilize SCACs in their freight bill audit and payment systems.

SCACs must be applied for and renewed yearly to remain active. Logistec/TTS can obtain your SCAC and keep you alerted yearly when time to renew. Contact us for more information.

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That’s a lot of registrations! It's safe to say you don't stay in business for over twenty-five years without doing something right.

For our customers, this means an estimated 90% reduction in erroneous or delayed registrations and fast, accurate licensing and permitting orders. 

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