Motor Carrier Permit FAQs

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Get answers on Motor Carrier Permit (MCP) requirements, fees, testing, inspections, and more.

Online Renewal

Yes. You can apply for your Motor Carrier Permit online by going to DMV’s Online Services and you will find the link under Industry Licenses and Permits.  Visit the Motor Carrier Permit Online Renewal page to start your application. 

Yes, the department has improved customer service by leveraging technology to create a faster way to provide service. Starting Spring 2021, courtesy notices will be mailed out that directs carriers to renew their MCP online.

This may result in your bank account being debited more than once. You only need to submit your application once, and a transaction confirmation will be emailed to you shortly afterwards.

Your bank account will not be charged until your MCP has successfully been processed. If your application has no errors and does not need to be reviewed, you can expect your bank account to be charged in 2-3 business days after you submitted your MCP renewal application. However, if your renewal application requires further review, funds will be withdrawn later. Please allow 30 days before inquiring about your MCP.

Yes, a receipt will be mailed once your submitted payment has been entered into our MCP system and your MCP has been issued.

Please allow for 30 days to receive your renewed MCP via mail. After 30 days, if you do not receive your MCP, please contact the Motor Carrier Permit Unit at 916-657-8153.

General FAQs

No. The single point of contact for all matters related to the MCP program is the Registration Operations Division located at DMV Headquarters in Sacramento, California. The MCP Operations Unit is not open to the public. However, there is a public drop box labeled “Motor Carrier Permit” at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Building West Lobby
2570 24th Street
Sacramento, CA 95818

For more information, contact MCP Operations.

A Seasonal MCP, commonly referred to as a Seasonal Permit, can be issued to an intrastate motor carrier operating on a “For-Hire” basis for a period of no less than six months, but no more than 11 months in a 12 month term.

Seasonal carrier fees are based on the size of the fleet and are comprised of the Safety Fee plus one twelfth of the Uniform Business License Tax (UBLT) for each month the MCP is valid, along with the full Carrier Inspection Fee (CIF). Seasonal carriers will pay the CIF only once in their seasonal term. Extensions can be requested for a fee of $5 plus one-twelfth of the UBLT based on the fleet size per additional month of operation in the seasonal term. A seasonal MCP cannot be issued to an Interstate motor carrier.

MCP Fee and Penalty Charts

The CA# is issued exclusively by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to identify motor carriers and is used as the MCP number.

CA# applicants must complete a Motor Carrier Profile (CHP 362) and mail, fax, or deliver it in-person to their closest CHP Motor Carrier Safety Unit.

Not all motor carriers who require an MCP need to participate in the Basic Inspection of Terminals (BIT) program (see below).

For more information, visit the CHP website or contact the closest Motor Carrier Safety Unit, the Commercial Records Unit, or Commercial Vehicle Section (see page three of the CHP 362 form).

Yes, all motor carriers are required to provide proof of compliance with California’s Workers’ Compensation laws. Submit one of the following or certify on the Application for Motor Carrier Permit (MC 706 M) that you are not subject to California workers’ compensation laws:

  • A Certificate of Insurance (MC 65 M).
  • A Certificate of Insurance electronically submitted by the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).
  • A Certificate of Consent to Self-Insure issued by the by the director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) of the Office of Self-Insurance Plans (OSIP).
  • A signed exemption statement, stating that in your operations as a motor carrier you do not employ any person in any manner so as to become subject to the workers’ compensation laws of California.

For additional information regarding Workers’ Compensation requirements and laws, go to Department of Industrial Relations or call them at 1-800-736-7401.

Yes, a motor carrier who employs only family members is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. For additional information regarding workers’ compensation requirements and laws, go to Department of Industrial Relations or call them at 1-800-736-7401.

MCP application fees are based on the type of motor carrier operation (for-hire or private) and the number of power units in the motor carrier fleet. A motor carrier fleet includes all power units owned, leased and/or operated by the motor carrier.

Initial MCP application fees for motor carriers with interstate operations are prorated based on the actual mileage driven within California. However, the CIF is not prorated and is due in full. Interstate motor carriers are issued a non-expiring MCP and are not required to pay renewal fees, including the CIF.

All fees applicable to the type of motor carrier operation are due upon application for an MCP.

California Revenue and Taxation Code (RTC) §7236 imposes new penalties for failure to pay MCP fees, when due, on permit terms with an effective date of January 1, 2016, and later. Penalties will increase and continue to accrue until all fees are paid.

MCP Fee and Penalty Charts

Under the BIT program, the CHP selects terminals for inspection based on the available carrier performance data or the commodity transported. Carriers must maintain and make available for inspection vehicles and records at the terminal(s) inspected as required by the California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§34501 and 34501.12.

Trailers are included in BIT inspections but are not considered when identifying vehicles for payment of MCP fees.

For more information contact the closest CHP Motor Carrier Safety Unit, the Commercial Vehicle Section (see page 3 of the Motor Carrier Profile (CHP 362)), or check CHP’s website.

The CIF applies to all carriers and is determined by the number of motor vehicles in the carrier’s fleet. Interstate carriers with non-expiring permits will pay the CIF only upon initial application. Seasonal carriers will pay the CIF only once in their seasonal term.

MCP Fee and Penalty Charts

Fees are based on the size of the motor carrier fleet (power units only, not including trailers) at the time of initial application or at renewal. Additions or deletions to your fleet during the current MCP term do not have to be reported to DMV until you renew your MCP. Renewal fees will be based on the new fleet size information. A list containing the license plate number, state of issuance, and the vehicle identification number (VIN) of all vehicles in the motor carrier fleet is always required when applying for an MCP.

CVC §34520 requires motor carriers and drivers to comply with the CSAT requirements of the United States (U.S.) Secretary of Transportation, as set forth in Part 382 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Additionally, upon the request of an authorized employee of CHP, motor carriers are required to make available for inspection copies of all results and other records pertaining to controlled substance and alcohol use and testing conducted pursuant to federal law, including those records contained in individual driver qualification files.

For more information please contact the closest CHP Motor Carrier Safety Unit, or Commercial Vehicle Section (see page three of the Motor Carrier Profile (CHP 362)), or check CHP’s website.

Yes. Upon initial application or renewal, all MCP applicants are required to self-certify their enrollment in or exemption from a CSAT program. Both the Application for Motor Carrier Permit (MC 706 M) and the MCP Renewal Application (MC 134 M) has a section for self-certification.

No. The transportation of U.S. Mail or freight containers, whether empty or loaded, has been deemed interstate commerce. If you are under contract with the United States Postal Service (USPS) and transport only U.S. mail or if you only transport freight containers, you are not subject to MCP requirements even if all your transportation is conducted in California.

Contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Unified Carrier Registration for additional information regarding interstate commerce.

A “for-hire” motor carrier is a carrier who transports goods or property for compensation. A “private” motor carrier is a carrier who does not transport goods or property for compensation. Since refuse is considered to be the property of the carrier, after pick up, the carrier is not transporting someone else’s property for compensation. Therefore, a refuse transporter is considered a private carrier.

No. Only carriers who operate or employ drivers to operate those vehicles listed below are required to obtain an MCP:

  • Self-propelled commercial vehicles as defined in subdivisions (a), (b), (f), (g), and (k) of CVC §34500.
  • Any motor truck of two or more axles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 lbs.
  • Any other motor vehicle used to transport property for compensation.

The EPN program was established to provide employers of commercial drivers and regulatory agencies a means of promoting driver safety through ongoing review of driver records (CVC) §1808.1).

Employers must obtain a requester code and enroll any driver employed for the operation of any vehicle if the driver is required to have any of the following:

  • Commercial Class A license.
  • Commercial Class B license.
  • Class C license with Special Certificates or Endorsements issued pursuant to CVC §§12517, 12519, 12520, 12523, 12523.5, 12527, 12814.7, or 15278.
  • Any driver of a passenger vehicle having a seating capacity of not more than 10 persons, including the driver, operated for compensation by a charter-party carrier of passengers.
  • Passenger Stage Corporation with a certificate of public convenience and necessity, Transportation Network Company, or other permit issued by the California Public Utilities Commission.
  • A regularly organized fire department.
  • The Board of Pilot Commissioners (BOPC) for Monterey Bay and the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun, and its port agent.
  • A motor carrier who contracts with a person to drive a vehicle described in subdivision (k) of CVC §1808.1 that is owned by, or leased to, that motor carrier.
  • Taxicab drivers engaged in transportation services.
  • Employees who operate vehicles on official California state business (SAM Chapter 7-751)

For more information regarding EPN enrollment call (916) 657-6346. For information regarding commercial driver’s license requirements, call (916) 657-5771 or (916) 657-5772.

Learn more about the EPN program

Generally, all information provided on the MCP application is public record, is regularly used by law enforcement agencies, and is open to inspection by the public.

The following information contained in the MCP application is designated as confidential:

  • List of employees provided annually by motor carriers with 20 or more vehicles.
  • EPN requester code number.
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • Driver license (DL) number.
  • Specific payment information.
  • Social security number (SSN).

MCP operations provides brief, specific public information via the telephone at no charge. To request information from MCP records, complete and sign an Information Request Motor Carrier Permit (MC 430 M). Be sure to include the requester’s driver license number on the form.

Submit the completed request and required fee to the address shown on the form. Information request fees are non-refundable. Requests submitted without payment will not be processed.

Information RequestedRequired Fees
Duplicate MCP$15.00
Applications (Copy Per Year)$20.00
Carrier Status Screen Prints (Each)$5.00
Copy of Insurance Certificates (Each)$20.00
Active Carrier List (CD)$125.00

Subpoena charges are $24.00 per hour, or $6.00 per ¼ hour or fraction thereof. Additional fees of $16.00 per hour may be incurred if documents are retrieved from the off-site storage facility.

Submit requests to the following address:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Legal Affairs Division
Legal Office, MS C-128, Third Floor
2415 First Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95818

Operating as a motor carrier of property without an MCP is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than three months, or both. CHP may also confiscate and impound your vehicles. Penalties may also be assessed when applying for an MCP (RTC §7236).

DMV may suspend an MCP when any of the following actions/activities occur:

  • Failure to pass BIT inspection by the CHP.
  • Failure to comply with CSAT requirements of federal law as described in Subdivision (a) of CVC §34520.
  • Failure to make copies of CSAT results and other records available to CHP as required by Subdivision (b) of CVC §34520.
  • Knowingly leasing, operating, dispatching, or otherwise utilizing vehicles from a carrier whose motor carrier permit is suspended, when the suspension is based wholly or in part on the failure of the motor carrier to maintain any vehicle in safe operating condition.
  • Failure to be enrolled in the EPN program.
  • Suspension and/or revocation of an owner-operator’s DL.
  • Failure to maintain liability and/or worker’s compensation insurance.

In addition to the MCP, there are many permits that may be required when operating commercial vehicles in and out of California. These websites provide additional information about commercial vehicle permits.

DMV reviews all carrier records on an ongoing basis.