Who Is Required To Do A BOC-3 Filing?

where-to-file-boc-3A BOC-3 filing shows that a transportation company has the “Blanket of Coverage” necessary to operate legally in the United States. A BOC-3 is known as the Designation of Process Agent because it is the form that lists the legal process agent or agents for a transportation company.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that following types of inter-state transportation companies file a BOC-3:

– Motor Carriers (large trucks and buses)

– Brokers

– Freight Forwarders

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Initially, the FMCSA was a part of the Department of Transportation. The FMCSA was established as a separate department on January 1, 2000, after the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act was passed in 1999.

The mission of the FMCSA is to:

* Develop regulations for safety and efficiency

* Enforce safety regulations

* Provide awareness and education to the industry and the public

* Partner with stakeholders to reduce crashes

The main program provided by the FMCSA is known as Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA).  This program aims to use data-driven regulations to prevent motor vehicle accidents and deaths.  Each company under FMCSA regulations receives a safety rating known as a CSA score. Brokers and shipping companies use a transportation company’s CSA score to find and hire safe businesses to move their goods. 

The FMCSA uses a network of field offices, service centers, and state-level motor carrier division offices to answer questions, provide guidance, and enforce safety regulations.

Some of the monitoring and programs the FMCSA offers include:

  • Hours of Service
  • National Registry of Medical Examiners
  • International Registration and Fuel Tax

The FMCSA regulates how long drivers may operate without a rest period.  They also certify Medical Examiners to conduct psychical testing of drivers’ capabilities and health.  Many of these regulations have been updated since the year 2000, especially by the 2105 Congressional mandate, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).

Through various regulations, the FMCSA covers all parties involved in operating commercial vehicles, including:

  • Drivers
  • Hiring managers
  • Trainers
  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Dispatchers


BOC-3 Process Agent

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, a process agent is a representative for a transportation company. If a transportation company is ever involved in legal proceedings, the courts need to have an address and person to serve legal documents to within the state of the court’s jurisdiction.

A process agent can be a single person, association, or multi-state company with people available in every state where the transportation company operates. Multi-state process agent companies may also provide services like DOT safety compliance and consultations.

A transportation company must have a process agent in all states that the transportation company traverses or drives through on their delivery routes. Using a process agent company fulfills the legal requirement to have a process agent in states where the transportation company does to have an actual office.  The FMCSA regulations prohibit using a post office box as a process agent.

All brokers, freight forwarders, and any company with a USDOT motor carrier number must have a process agent in the states they traverse or where they operate.

A USDOT number is generally required if a company is for hire and uses vehicles over 10,000 pounds or transports between nine and fifteen passengers across state lines.

BOC-3 Procedure

Transportation companies must first choose and contract with a process agent in each applicable state. The processing agent, not the transportation company, must then file a form BOC-3 with the FMCSA and each state where the transportation company operates.  The BOC-3 is filed online by the process agent.  Brokers and freight forwarders without commercial vehicles act as their own process agents and can file BOC-3 by mail. 

There are fees for hiring a process agent and for filing a BOC-3. Additional fees may be charged if a company wants the BOC-3 to be expedited or it needs to be re-filed due to:

* Company Name Change

* Transfer of Authority

* Reinstatement

Once the FMSCA receives the BOC-3, the agency mails the paperwork that gives the company authority to operate.  It is illegal to transport goods or people until the company’s authority to operate paperwork has been received.  The FMCSA may revoke the authority to operate if a company fails to comply with all the FMCS rules and regulations.