How Long Does It Take To Get A DOT Number? What You Should Expect.

As a company transporting goods and/or people from one point to another, you’ll need to consider getting a DOT number, but you’ll want to verify that it is actually required.  You’ll need to file for a DOT number if your company meets any of the following requirements:

You are engaged in interstate travel, and…

  • You operate a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds
  • You transport 9 to 15 passengers (inclusive of the driver) for compensation
  • You transport 16 or more passengers (inclusive of the driver) without compensation
  • You transport hazardous material (hazmat)

If you don’t meet these conditions then you may only have to register with your local jurisdiction and not the federal DOT.

How long does it take to get a DOT number?

Now that you know you meet the DOT requirements for your own number then you’ll need to fill out an application by going here, you can also complete a physical paper application and send it in via US mail if that is your preferred method of filing.  Once you’ve completed the application process online you receive a DOT number immediately (unless rejected), however, if your application was sent in by mail then typical turn around times can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks processing time.

I’m a trucking company, how do I get my authority active?

There are several types of authorities but first let’s make sure you actually need an MC authority.  You will not need a motor carrier (MC) authority if:

  • You’re a private carrier (you own the goods you will be transporting)
  • You’re a for-hire carriers that only transport goods which are not regulated by the federal DOT
  • You’re a carrier that operates exclusively within commercial zones that are exempt from interstate rules

Assuming you do not meet these requirements, you should log into your account with the FMCSA through their Unified Registration System.  Once the application has been submitted the process can take anywhere from 20-25 business days unless you are subject to further review where it can take an additional 8 weeks or longer. If you have submitted your application by mail then it could take 45-60 days for completion.

In addition to completing an application, you’ll also need a commercial auto liability policy covering your company and all the vehicles operating under your authority.  Except under certain circumstances, the limit of liability will need to be at least $750,000 in liability coverage as required by the FMCSA (if not $1,000,000), however, you’ll strongly want to consider purchasing $1,000,000 as most shippers will not release their cargo without seeing at least $1,000,000 of liability coverage.

Although this is not required to get your authority active, you’ll also need to have approximately $100,000 of cargo coverage and physical damage for your vehicle in case you are in a collision or there is some type of damage that is caused to your vehicle.

Do I still need a USDOT number if I don’t transport goods outside of my state and I don’t carry hazardous material?

The best answer we can give is “it depends”.  Every state is different on what they require so the best solution is to contact you local department of motor vehicle and find out directly from them.  Depending on the goods you transport, the likely answer may be “yes”.

How do I complete my USDOT registration if I’m based in Mexico?

Mexican based operations cannot file their registration online, for that reason they will need to download and complete an MCS-150 and an OP1-(MX) form or you can apply over the phone by dialing (800) 832 - 5660

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