New interstate carriers have a lot to think about and hoops to jump through. It can be intimidating, even for experienced truckers, to navigate the regulations surrounding interstate operators. Luckily for you, you’re in the right place! DOT Operating Authority has helped people like you get everything they need to transport interstate goods legally. Here’s what you’ll need to be an interstate carrier:
A USDOT Number
Hopefully, we don’t have to tell you that a USDOT number is essential to getting your interstate operations up and running. But even if you already have a USDOT number, it’s a good idea to check and make sure it’s accurate. All the information on your account needs to be up-to-date, of course. But the biggest thing to check is that you’re registered as an interstate carrier. USDOT numbers can be for inter or intrastate carriers. If you weren’t previously an interstate carrier, your USDOT number probably lists you as an intrastate carrier. So make sure to update your number, or get one if you don’t have one at all!
IRP or Trip Permits
IRP stands for the International Registration Plan, and is incredibly important for interstate truckers. Your truck’s registration won’t be recognized by other states without registration with IRP. This can obviously get you into serious trouble with the law. IRP allows you to buy your registration once and have it recognized all over the country. It’s an easy way for interstate carriers to set up their business.
IRP registration can be a bit expensive, however. It isn’t worth it to purchase IRP if you’re only going to leave your state once or twice a year. For those who are mostly, but not entirely, intrastate, you can purchase temporary trip permits instead. These permits last for a few days and provide you with a more affordable option for your registration.
IFTA or Fuel Tax Permits
IFTA, or the International Fuel Tax Agreement, is similar to IRP in many ways. It’s an agreement across the Lower 48 states to allow truckers to purchase just one license for fuel taxes, rather than having to file fuel tax returns in every single state they drive through. Doing that would be a huge hassle, so interstate truckers can now purchase IFTA decals to avoid that. It’s a big win for interstate carriers!
Just like with IRP, IFTA has a short-term permit equivalent, too. These are called fuel tax permits, and they allow you to purchase temporary fuel tax licenses for each state. If you’re only leaving your base state a few times in a given year, consider fuel tax permits to save yourself and your business some money.