How to Get Your MC Authority

June 3, 2024

Team ACV




How to Get Your MC Authority

ACV facts & figures

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If you’re a transporter, carrier, or, driver for hire and are wondering which rules and regulations apply to you, then read along. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about MC authority including what it is, who needs it, and how to get it. 

What Is MC Authority? 

MC authority is short for Motor Carrier Authority, a term that means a company is legally authorized to transport goods across state lines using their own vehicles. Authorization is granted via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a governing body that also grants other types of authority (such as broker authority). Once a company is granted MC authority, they’ll receive a unique number that permits them to do business.1 

Some authority types may already sound familiar:

  • Motor carrier of property: Hauling public goods—including vehicles—or anything that is not items from someone’s home for a personal residential move
  • Motor carrier of household goods: Refers to moving companies

There are also specialized MC authorities :

  • Brokers: Matching shippers and carriers; includes both brokers of property and of household goods
  • International movers: Handling international cargo; includes both U.S.-based enterprise carriers of international cargo and U.S.-based enterprise carrier of international household goods²

Who Needs MC Authority? 

Any company that seeks to become an interstate carrier or owner-operator needs an MC Authority number.3 This is one of many requirements—such companies will also need a USDOT number which helps monitor safety requirements and inspections.  

MC authority is also necessary for freight brokers. Without authority, they are not  allowed to work between shippers and carriers. Just remember that since freight brokers are only intermediaries, they won’t need a USDOT number since they won’t actually be operating owned vehicles.

Who Doesn’t Need MC Authority?

Any carriers who will only be driving intrastate will not need an MC authority number. Additionally, companies that only transport their own cargo and carriers for hire who transport non-regulated goods are also exempt from MC authority requirements.2 Finally, note that if you plan to become a driver, you will work under the MC authority number of the company that hires you—MC authority is only for trucking companies.2 

What Is the Difference Between an MC Authority and a USDOT Number?

As mentioned above, the MC authority number is required along with a USDOT number, and there is a distinct difference between the two. All carriers need a USDOT number, while only those crossing state lines will need an MC authority number.1 The USDOT number is used for safety permits and audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and other inspections related to safety.2 

Steps to Getting MC Authority 

Before embarking on the process, be sure you are aware of the costs and requirements. You will need to show: 

  • Proof of insurance: For brokers, you will need to show a surety bond of at least $75,000. Carriers also have to show coverage. 
  • USDOT number: Carriers should obtain the USDOT number before the MC authority process. 
  • Application fees: $300.1

Once you have those items prepared and ready, you can begin the application process by following this checklist:

1. Create a Business Entity

The FMCSA registration for MC authority will ask you to submit a set of details that you need to have ready. This includes the type of company you’re opening, what kinds of cargo you’ll transport, your Employer Identification Number (EIN), and more. Get yourself set up as an official business entity with a plan so that you can get pre-approved for insurance and be prepared to begin the process. 

2. Apply for a DOT and MC Number

Fill out the FMCSA registration forms for your MC authority number. Submit all of the business information we listed above, as well as details about your vehicle, such as the VIN, make and model, year, weight, etc. 

3.Get a BOC-3 Process Agent

This is an individual who can help with the legal documents on behalf of your business. This can be a point of contact for the FMCSA so they can get in touch easily throughout the time when you own a business. 

4. File for UCR Permit

After obtaining a USDOT and MC number, you’ll need to file for a Universal Carrier Registration permit that shows you have insurance coverage. 

5. Register for IRP and IFTA

The International Registration Plan (IRP) lets carriers conduct interstate transport. The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a similar interstate agreement that pertains to fuel taxes.2  You will need to register for both. 

6. Sign Up for Drug and Alcohol Testing

You must complete this step before you can begin your first carrier load and must carry out the FMCSA-required drug and alcohol testing according to the frequency they outline.2 

Partner With Us at ACV Transportation

Working with our team at ACV Transportation will give you access to carrier opportunities across the US. We collaborate with dealerships across the country to deliver vehicle inventory, so working with us means you get access to an account manager, fast payments, and a Preferred Carrier Program.  Get started today to learn more. 


  1. “MC Authority 101: Everything You Need to Know.” DAT Freight & Analytics. Retrieved May 23, 2024. 
  2. CloudTrucks. 2023. “How to Get Your MC Authority.” CloudTrucks. Retrieved May 23, 2024. 
  3. FMCSA. “What is Operating Authority (MC number) and who needs it?” FMCSA. Retrieved May 23, 2024.