March 30, 2023

Operating Authority Renewal: The Ultimate Guide For Trucking Companies

Your operating authority is the ticket that allows you to function as a trucking company in the US. It could be the MC authority, the FF number, or the MX number. Depending on the capacity that you operate in your operating authority is going to differ. Applying for your operating authority is very easy. But operating authority renewal is going to be a little different. 

If your company operates as a motor carrier or trucking company or falls under any other regulated entity governed by the US Department of Transportation, you must ensure that you renew with utmost care and precision. If you want to change the name of your company or its address or any other related details in the record of the authorities, you are going to update your USDOT and operating authority record on time. The federal motor carrier safety administration requires all these entities to update their information every 2 years already. There are:

  • Routine updates
  • Biennial updates
  • Updates related to the activation and deactivation of the US DOT number
  • Reactivation of the US DOT number

Your routine USDOT number updates and biennial updates are two of the most common updates that you will have to perform. Failure to complete your biennial update may result in civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day. These can go up to $10,000 per day but may not exceed this amount.

Having said that, If you plan to make changes to your trucking company’s details or way of doing business, such as a change of address, you’ll need to undergo operating authority renewal or reapplication.

Renewing Your Operating Authority When Changing Your Company Name

Whether you are a motor carrier, a broker or a freight forwarder, updating your operating authority in case you want to change your official or commercial name requires you to fill out the OP–1 Series form. You will also have to pay a 14 dollar fee for this name change. The online application is going to require you to submit your credit card information and your USDOT pin as well. The online registration form is available for download.

However, you can continue with the online process as well which is usually the fastest of all. If you are filing for a name change, you will be given an option on the form that says the same thing. There are attached instructions that you will have to follow exactly as given on that page. You can either submit a web form or download it and send it to the federal body through fax or you can also post it through US mail. Remember, name changes will be made only when the authorities have all the required information and documentation with them.

Changing Your Company Address During Operating Authority Renewal

This is also a very critical thing to do. Whether it is your MC number, FF number, or any other operating authority, there are three ways to submit your address change request.

The online method is the fastest. You can use the license and insurance system to request a change of address. The filing instructions will be given on the page and you will have to follow exactly what they say.

You can also download the form which is the MCSA-5889 motor carrier records change form. Fill it out and upload it just as has been instructed on the website. You will receive a tracking number in your official / registered email inbox.

Through US Mail
This is probably the longest process because it takes around 6 to 8 weeks to complete. You can mail this information to the

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Attention: Office of Registration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Room W65-206
Washington, DC 20590

Using Fax
The same form can be sent to 202-366-3477. The complete form must contain the following information:

  • The MC number
  • The name of your company
  • The former and current addresses and telephone numbers of the company
  • Signature of the applicant or that of your representative

Activating Or Reactivating Your Operating Authority

Your MC/FF/MX number may require reactivation or reinstating if it has been inactive for long. You’re required to do the following:

You must file your proof of insurance along with your BOC-3 form with the FMCSA as this is the designation of process agents form.

If you are a motor carrier, and if you have an active USDOT number, you must make sure that it is up to date with the most correct and accurate contact information. To make sure that your request for the reinstatement of your operating authority is observed and acted upon, you will have to ensure that your USDOT number is active and not out of service.

You can submit your MCS-150 form with this reinstatement request to update your company-related information. If you are a passenger carrier, it is not possible for you to request the reinstatement of your operating authority if the authorities have placed you out of service considering you an imminent hazard.

This means that your safety rating was not satisfactory. You will have to reapply for your operating authority using the OP-1 application form and pay the application fee too which is $300.

Revoking Your Currently Active Operating Authority, Do People Do That?

Yes, people do that when they are in the process of shutting down their business or changing their company operations entirely. For example, if you want to suspend your interstate operations, you can request a voluntary revocation of your operating authority. You will have to check whether the status of your operating authority is showing active or inactive. Requesting a voluntary revocation is very easy. You just have to have your USDOT pin with you. There is the form OCE-46 that you will have to complete here. Keep in mind that you can reinstate your registration at any time in the future if you decide to start performing those operations or want to revert to your old business functions.


There is a lot that goes into operating authority renewal. There are a lot of details and several numbers and names that you will have to remember. This is exactly why dot compliance groups and third party administrators exist. You shouldn’t have to deal with all these complex formalities and extensive paperwork. You should be focusing on your business and thinking about how to grow it even further. It is time to choose a third party administrator for your compliance needs today.



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