Biennial update? What is that and who is required to do one?

| 3/4/2015

Some information has been floating around recently that may have you confused about the biennial update required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The short answer is, don’t panic.

If you are a motor carrier, hazardous material safety permit applicant/holder, or intermodal equipment provider regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you must update your registration information every two years.

The form must be filed before motor carriers or intermodal equipment providers begin operations and every 24 months according to a schedule based on the number your U.S. DOT number ends in. For instance, if that number is 1, you must file by the last day of January; 2 by last day of February; 3 is March; and so on. If it’s zero, you must file in October.

For those who try to do things ahead of time, you’ll want to hold off a bit. Only MCS-150s filed in the month they are due will count. If you file in the preceding month, you’ll just have to do it again.

If the next-to-last digit of the number is odd, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider shall file its update in every odd-numbered calendar year. If the next-to-last digit of the U.S. DOT number is even, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider shall file its update in every even-numbered calendar year.

FMCSA issues a warning letter in the mail – not via email – at least 30 days in advance of a biennial update deadline.

To file your biennial update free of charge, go to, sign in using the PIN provided in your warning notice from FMCSA, and complete the biennial update process. It will ask you to submit a credit card for verification of identity, but will not charge the card.
You may also complete the biennial update process by mail or by fax. Go to the above website and request or download the MC-150 form. Complete the form and follow the provided instructions for mailing or faxing it to FMCSA. For more info, call 800-832-5660.

According to the FMCSA, biennial updates are processed immediately if done online, but updates filed by fax or mail may take three to four weeks to process.

Now, when it is time to update, you don’t want to ignore it or put it off. Failure to update the MCS-150 could result in a $1,000 per day fine for every day it’s not renewed, and the fine is capped at $10,000.

If you are a member of OOIDA and have questions or need assistance completing the update, call the Permitting and Licensing Department at OOIDA’s Business Services Department at 800-444-5791.

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