Employers are required to register their commercial motor vehicles with the FMCSA to obtain a USDOT number. Vehicles that must register for a USDOT number are those used in interstate commerce and fall into one of the categories below:
- Have a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more
- Transport more than eight passengers for compensation
- Transport 15 or more passengers without compensation
- Are used to transport certain types and quantities of hazardous materials
In order to obtain a USDOT number, employers are required to register under the Unified Registration System (URS). This system monitors and ensures compliance with FMCSA regulations.
What’s the Unified Registration System?
The URS is an electronic registration portal that provides forms that motor carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders can use to register and update information with the FMCSA. This portal was created to make the registration system more unified by combining multiple registration processes and allowing for a more convenient process.
The URS is mandatory for all users that are regulated by FMCSA. This includes:
- Motor carriers
- Intermodal equipment providers
- Hazardous materials safety permit applicants/holders
- Freight forwarders
- Cargo tank facilities
Applying for a USDOT Number
Employers can apply for an MC DOT number through the URS. When registering, employers will receive an applicant identification number for the application process. This is a temporary identification number used only for the application process and doesn’t apply to anything else.
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To register on the URS, employers will go to the FMCSA website and click on the “To get started, click here” button. They’ll then be directed to the welcome page, where a new registrant will click on the “New applicant” box.
The applicant will continue through the portal until they come to a page that provides them with what required information is needed by the FMCSA. The page will provide a list of documents or information that’s needed in order to complete the registration process successfully. This includes:
- Contact information
- Business description
- Operation classification
- Vehicles they plan to operate
- Driver information
- Hazardous materials information
- Cargo tank facility information
- Transportation of passenger information
- Household goods information
- Financial responsibility information
- Affiliation with others information
- Certification of statement
- Compliance certifications
- Applicant’s oath
Different information will apply for different applicants. Applicants won’t need to fill out information for some of the categories as some only apply to certain applicant operations.
Once submitted through the URS, the registration is processed immediately and an applicant will receive their USDOT instantly unless there’s an issue. If there’s an issue, the registration will be rejected, at which point the applicant should contact the FMCSA via its website.
If after an applicant has applied and they have additional documentation that they must submit, they can enter the portal and upload the documents to their application.
It’s important to note, an applicant cannot engage in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle without an active USDOT number.
An existing registrant can access the portal with their login information to make any changes, update their information, or request more operating authorities if needed. Registrants are required by the FMCSA to keep their information up to date.
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