March 9, 2023

How Long Does It Take To Get a DOT Number?

Rolling down the highway, transporting goods from coast to coast – but do you have the crucial DOT number for your commercial vehicle?

The clock is ticking, and every day counts in the trucking industry. So, let’s dive into obtaining a DOT number and find out just how long it takes to hit the road with all the necessary credentials.

Types of DOT Numbers

Getting a DOT (Department of Transportation) number is a requirement for commercial vehicles operating in the United States. The process of obtaining a DOT number can vary in length, depending on a few factors.

It’s important to understand that there are two types of DOT numbers: motor carriers and brokers. You’ll need to obtain a USDOT number if you’re a motor carrier. You’ll need to obtain a BMC number if you’re a broker.

Obtaining a USDOT Number

Obtaining a USDOT number typically takes between 2 to 14 days. This time frame can be shorter if you apply online, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made the process faster and more efficient through its online system. To obtain a USDOT number, you’ll need to complete the appropriate forms, submit them to the FMCSA, and pay the necessary fees.

Potential Delays

In some cases, the process of obtaining a DOT number can take longer if additional information is needed or if there are errors in the forms. It’s important to ensure that all the information provided is accurate and complete to ensure the process runs smoothly.

Is it Possible to Transport Loads with a Truck During the MC Number Activation Waiting Period?

The answer is no. You cannot transport loads during the waiting period for your MC number activation. However, once you have obtained a DOT number for your operating authority, you can transport loads immediately. Operating a trucking company without an active MC Number can result in severe fines and penalties imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the DOT for non-compliance with federal regulations.

Interstate commerce requires a valid MC Number, and the FMCSA and DOT enforce strict regulations regarding issuing new operating authority. If you cannot transport loads during the 21-day MC Number waiting period, use this time to properly set up your trucking company and ensure compliance with all federal regulations.

What Should I Do While Waiting For My MC Number To Become Active?

While you are waiting for your MC Number to become active, there are several things you can do to prepare for the start of your trucking business:

Organize your paperwork: Make sure all your forms and documents are in order, including your DOT number, insurance policies, business license, and any other required paperwork.

Plan your routes: Identify the routes you’ll be using and make sure they are feasible and profitable.

Acquire necessary equipment: Ensure you have all the necessary equipment, including a truck, trailer, and any other equipment required for your specific haul type.

Hire drivers: If you plan on hiring drivers, start the recruitment process and make sure they have all the necessary qualifications and certifications.

Establish relationships with customers: Start building relationships with potential customers and establishing a network of shippers and receivers.

Stay informed about industry regulations: Stay current on industry regulations and ensure you comply with all federal and state requirements.

Set up your business infrastructure: Establish a system for invoicing, accounting, and record-keeping, and make sure all your financial and administrative systems are in place.


Obtaining a DOT number is essential in starting and operating a successful trucking company. While the process may seem overwhelming, it is relatively straightforward and can be completed in as little as a few days. Following the guidelines set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you can ensure that your application is processed quickly and efficiently.

While waiting for your DOT number to become active, use this time to prepare your trucking company and ensure compliance with all federal regulations. Having a solid foundation and being fully prepared, you can hit the road with confidence and success once your DOT number is in hand.

So, don’t wait any longer; start the journey of obtaining your DOT number today and take your trucking company to new heights.



Submit a Comment