March 16, 2023

MC Number Vs DOT Number – A Step By Step Guide

Do you feel confused about the difference between a DOT and an MC number if you are planning to start a transportation or logistics business?

It’s a common misconception that these numbers are the same, but they are two different numbers with different purposes and requirements. The transportation industry is heavily regulated, and it’s important to have the right information to ensure your business operates legally and efficiently. 

This blog post will unravel the mystery behind these numbers and help you understand the key differences, what you need to know, and how to obtain them. So, buckle up and prepare for a journey through MC number vs DOT number.

What is a DOT Number?

A DOT number is assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to motor carriers operating in interstate commerce. 

The DOT number is used to identify a specific motor carrier and is required for all commercial vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds. This includes trucks, buses, and other vehicles transporting goods and passengers across state lines.

What is an MC Number?

The FMCSA grants motor carriers that transport goods an MC number. Motor carriers transporting goods in interstate commerce must obtain this number, also known as a motor carrier operating authority number.

The MC number tracks and monitors a motor carrier’s compliance with federal regulations and ensures that they operate safely on the roads.

What is the Difference Between MC Number And DOT Number?

If you are still trying to decide which operating authority is appropriate for your business from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or if you require both, let’s delve into the differences between the two. As mentioned previously, one of the significant disparities is the requirement for operations within or outside your home state. 

A USDOT number is mandatory for both interstate and intrastate commerce within the United States. However, you may only need a DOT number if your operations only occur within your state boundaries without crossing state lines. Conversely, crossing state borders for interstate operations only requires an MC number.

How Do You Know Which One You Need?

To determine which number you need for your business, you must first understand the transportation services you will offer. If you plan to transport goods, you will need an MC number and for transporting passengers, you will need a DOT number. If you plan to do both, you will need both numbers.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Dot Number And MC Number?

Getting your DOT number and MC number can take some time, as the process involves several steps and requires the submission of various forms and documents. The exact amount of time it takes to obtain these numbers varies, but it can range from several days to several weeks.

To obtain a DOT number, you must fill out the USDOT Number application and submit it to the FMCSA. You will also need to provide information about your business, including the type of vehicles you operate and the commodities you transport. Additionally, you will need liability insurance and provide proof of insurance to the FMCSA.

Obtaining an MC number is similar but requires a few additional requirements. In addition to filling out the Application for Operating Authority, you will also need to submit proof of insurance and provide information about your business, including the types of goods you transport, the vehicles you operate, and the states you will operate in.


In conclusion, understanding the difference between a DOT number vs an MC number is crucial for businesses that operate in the transportation and logistics industry. The FMCSA requires both numbers and uses them to track and monitor a motor carrier’s compliance with federal regulations. 

It is important to determine which number you need for your business and to make sure that you have the correct number before you start operating. With this information, you will be well on your way to getting your DOT or MC number and operating a successful transportation business.



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