A guide to DOT number requirements

Trucks parked along a field as the sun sets in the distance.

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) is one of the largest government agencies in the United States. The DOT is responsible for regulating all modes of transportation within the US, including interstate and international commercial bus lines, air carriers, motor carriers, and railroads. One area that they regulate is the licensing and registration of vehicles used by these various modes of transportation, including trucking and DOT numbers.

What is a DOT number?

A DOT number serves the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as a unique identifier used to collect and monitor safety information, including inspections and compliance, of companies and to track information about vehicles, including their ownership and registration status, as well as information about the operator.

Do I need a DOT number?

Specifically, you are required to use a USDOT number if you operate a vehicle, which facilitates interstate commerce and matches at lease one of the following:

  • Transporting types and quantities of hazardous materials which a safety permit in intrastate commerce,
  • Weighing 10,001 pounds or more,
  • Transporting over 8 passengers, including the driver, for compensation, or
  • Transporting over 15 passengers, including the driver, regardless of compensation

Interstate commerce is defined by the FMCSA as trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States. This includes trade:

  • Between a place in a state and a place outside of that state, including a place outside of the US,
  • Between two places in a state through another state or a place outside of the United States, or
  • Between two places in a state as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the state or the United States.

The FMCSA provides an easy quiz to determine if you require a DOT number.

How do you get DOT numbers?

To get your USDOT number, you must complete an online application via the Unified Registration System and submit the appropriate documents.

The most common types of documents required are:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN),
  • Dun and Bradstreet Number (if available), and
  • Company Officers with Titles.

For applicants required to file a designation of process agent should ensure filing with FMCSA. The FMCSA requires evidence of filing process agent designation before granting an operating authority registration.

How much does it cost?

The FMCSA charges a $300 filing fee to secure a new USDOT number.


The USDOT number assigned to each motor carrier is unique. It can be used by the FMCSA to track your company’s activity and protect the public from unsafe drivers and vehicles. There are many types of companies that need this number, from freight haulers who move goods across state lines on big rigs to small-time contractors who drive vans around town.

Learn more about trucking authority and motor carrier numbers here.

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