Updating records is commonplace in the transportation industry. Whether it is related to regulations, insurance, banking, or business operations, most records require updating at least every 1-2 years. Organizing these updates into a calendar is a great way to make sure your business will not be hit by having inactive records that may lead to out of service incidents, which eat into a carrier’s bottom line. One key piece of operating information that requires updating every 2 years is a motor carrier authority update, called the biennial update for your DOT Registration/MC Authority.

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About the Biennial Update

The FMCSA requires all carriers to submit a motor carrier authority update every 2 years. You are required to submit this updated MCS-150 (Motor carrier Identification report) even if your company has not changed its information, has stopped interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business and did not notify the FMCSA. Failure to complete the biennial update will result in the deactivation of your USDOT number, and could even result in civil penalties of up to $1k per day, up to a maximum of $10k. Check out our step by step guide and deadlines below that will help make the process easier and ensure you do not face deactivation or hefty fines.

Step by Step Guide

Updating your information is free. The best way to file your update is online.

For online updates, follow the following steps:

  • To complete the registration online, you’ll need your USDOT number, assigned PIN, EIN/SSN, and Company Official information. You can request a PIN mailed or e-mailed to you.
  • Go to the FMCSA Main Registration website, and navigate to the section titled “Existing Registration Updates”. Select the first bullet (“I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update (MCS-150) and click continue.
  • Carefully read the instructions carefully and click on the “File Electronically” button.
  • You will then be sent through pages to fill in your information. Remember, don’t use your web browser buttons (Back, forward, or refresh) during this time otherwise you will lose your information and will have to start the process again.
  • Once you have completed your update and are ready to submit, you will be asked to input a valid credit card number as your electronic signature. The FMCSA will not charge your credit card.
  • Submit the form, and print and a copy of your updated MCS-150 for your records. You will be given a tracking number for your submission.

If you do not have access to the online resource to file your update, you may submit in via fax or mail by following these steps:

  • Registration and update forms can be downloaded via the FMCSA website. Or, you can request to have a pre-printed form mailed to you by calling the FMCSA Support Services at 1-800-832-5660 (Select option 1 (US DOT number questions), then press zero to speak to an agent).
  • On the form, select the second “Reason for Filing”: “Biennial Update or Changes”. Continue filling out the form with all your company information.
  • Sign the form, and make a copy for your records prior to mailing it off.
  • Submit your completed and signed form via fax at (202) 366-3477.
  • Submit your completed and signed MCS-150 via mail to:

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Attention: Office of Registration and Safety Information
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

Note: Forms must be received by FMCSA on or before the date your Biennial Update is due to avoid deactivation of your USDOT number and the assessment of civil penalties. Please allow ample time for mailing. Mailed applications, on average, take four to six weeks processing time.

Motor Carrie Authority Update Deadlines

Filing schedule: Each motor carrier must file their biennial update every 24 months per the following schedule:

USDOT number ending in: Must file by last day of:
1 January
2 February
3 March
4 April
5 May
6 June
7 July
8 August
9 September
0 October

If the next-to-last digit of its USDOT Number is odd, you must file your update in every odd-numbered calendar year. If the next-to-last digit is even, you must file your update in every even-numbered calendar year.

For example, if your DOT number is 123456, you would be required to file your biennial update by the last day of June, of every odd calendar year; so, you would have filed in June of 2017, and again in June of 2019, and so on, every 2 years following.

Make sure your MCS-150 Update is filed on time and with completed information. Applications that are incomplete, unreadable, or unsigned will be rejected and returned via mail, which will delay the update to your DOT number and possibly force deactivation. Stay organized so that your business can operate without interruptions!

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Step By Step Guide to Filling out Your Motor Carrier Authority Update (MCS-150) was last modified: by