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If you operate commercial vehicles from another country into the United States, consider the following credential and reporting requirements prior to entry. Note that some jurisdictions have additional requirements.

Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that IRS assigns. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers.

Operating authority (MCSA-1 and OP-1)

Before beginning operations, a new entrant for-hire carrier must submit an online registration application MCSA-1 form to the FMCSA, file proof of required insurance, and submit a Designation of Process Agents (BOC-3). The MCSA-1 also serves as the application for a USDOT number. When all fees and documents have been received and adequate, the USDOT number becomes active and authority to operate is granted. Existing carriers request new authority on the Form OP-1.


The FMCSA registration process requires that companies define the type of business operation (motor carrier, broker, shipper, freight forwarder, and/or cargo tank facility) that they plan to establish. MCS-150 forms can ONLY be used to update a USDOT number, not for initial registration with FMCSA. Form MCS-150B is the Combined Motor Carrier Identification Report and Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Application.

Process agent (BOC-3)

A process agent is a representative upon whom court papers may be served in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder. Every motor carrier must designate an agent for each state in which it is authorized to operate and for each state traversed during such operations.

Insurance filings

All applicants for motor carrier, freight forwarder, and broker authorities must have specific insurance and legal process agent documents on file before the FMCSA will issue the authorities.

MCS-90 insurance filing

The Form MCS-90 is an endorsement issued to a motor carrier of property by an insurance company to show proof that the carrier has in effect the minimum levels of financial responsibility required by the FMCSA.

MCS-90B (buses) insurance filing

Form MCS-90B is an endorsement issued by an insurance company to a motor passenger carrier as evidence of compliance with the public liability requirements.

Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)

Private property carriers, for-hire passenger, property, and exempt commodity carriers, freight forwarders, leasing companies, and brokers engaged in interstate commerce must register annually under UCR. Carriers domiciled in Canada or Mexico operating in the U.S. are also subject to UCR registration.

Heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT)

The HVUT applies to highway motor vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. Carriers must file IRS Form 2290 and Schedule 1 if a taxable vehicle is registered in their name under any state or District of Columbia, Canadian, or Mexican law. Carriers that are required to pay the HVUT will need to have an EIN.

Vehicle registration

Commercial vehicles travelling into the U.S. may be required to be registered. This can be done using the IRP or by purchasing trip permits in all jurisdictions in which travel is intended. The requirements and GVW thresholds vary between jurisdictions. Jurisdiction registration and contact information is on the IRP website at www.irponline.org.

E-Manifest (ACE- Automated Commercial Environment)

The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection shipment reporting regulation. Highway carriers are required to send crew, trucks, trailer, and shipment details over the internet to U.S. Customs before reaching the U.S. border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection can be found at www.cbp.gov.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The International Programs web page from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides resources and guidance for motor carriers domiciled in the U.S. and Canada who operate beyond their own borders to transport international freight.

Find out more at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/international-programs.