What is an Authority Number, and Why Do You Need One

Authority Number

An authority number is a legal identification number provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the Motor carrier operating businesses. When you start a moving company, you need to get all the legal permissions from the government to run the business successfully.

If you do not get a DOT and MC number from the officials, you will get massive fines from the state. 

What is a dot number? And what is a MC number? You may ask. Here is all the information you need about transportation authority numbers,

DOT Number

DOT stands for Department of Transportation. A USDOT number is an official identification mark that helps the government identify transport-related businesses working from the USA. It is a necessary document for transportation businesses. 

It permits businesses to carry their load on inter-state routes. Depending on your cargo, you can need an MC number. 

MC Number

MC stands for the motor carrier. The MC authority is an authority for motor carriers to carry federally administered goods that can be part of a trade in the US future market.

 Hence, if your trucks or motor carriers are responsible for moving regulated commodities on the inter-state course, ensure that they have an MC number. Getting an MC number is necessary for businesses whose services are for hire.

Without an MC number, your transportation will be illegal. You cannot transport regulated cargo outside the state even when you have applied for the MC number; you need to have an MC number at hand when crossing the interstate borders. 

Scenarios Without an MC number

Private Load

If you are a company that produces the goods and transports them in your interstate commerce, you do not need to get an MC number for your trucks and Vehicles. 

Non-Regulated Cargo

If the transported commodities are not federally regulated and are not a part of the US future market, you do not need to register your vehicles for an MC number. It does not matter that you are a for-hire business in the case of non-regulated goods. 

 Working in a Commercial Zone

If your business takes place in the commercial zone of your state, and you have an authority permit for working in that single state, then you do not need to worry about an MC number. 

An MC With a DOT Number

If you have a Dot number, you are authorized to transfer goods on the interstate route, but it does not qualify you to transport federally regulated goods. Therefore, if you have to carry regulated commodities, you need to apply for an MC number to get authorized. 

All interstate operating authorities need a DOT number, but only vehicles transferring regulated goods need an MC authority number.

Protocol For First-Time Applicants

If you have recently started a business for transferring regulated goods as a for-hire company, you might not have a DOT number just yet. In the case of lacking a DOT number, you need to apply through the unified registration system.

If you already have a DOT number and need to apply for an MC number to get authorized for regulated goods, you can request it through FMCA’s legacy registration system

There are other types of MC authority numbers that you may need in particular situations,

MX Authority Number

The MX in MX authority stands for Mexico. If you are a citizen of Mexico or have a domicile that regards you as a citizen of Mexico, get an MX authority number with other authority numbers. 

FF Authority Number

FF in FF authority stands for a frequent flier. If you travel by air with a particular airline frequently, you need to apply for an FF authority.


In Conclusion, try to assess your situation and then apply to get relevant authorities. An application filed in the unified registration system will take 20 to 25 days until approval. If there are additional reviews, it can take longer. On the other hand, the application filed through the US mail carrier can take 45 to 60 days until approval.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.