What is the FMCSA Biennial Update?

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information every two years. You are required to provide this update every two years even if your company has not changed its information, has ceased interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business and you did not notify FMCSA. Updating your information is free, however Federal Carrier offers services to help you navigate the Biennial update.


Is it Time for your Biennial Update?

Believe it or not, the Biennial Update is a very straightforward requirement set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA. More specifically, this update states that truck or transport companies must check and update a motor identification report or MCS-150 every two years and in some states it’s required to update every year.

In other words, any motor carrier or business with a hazardous material permit is required to update their registration every two years, hence Biennial Update. At the same time, you might be asking yourself the following question:


“If nothing changes with my company do I still need to update my application?”


The simple answer is YES, this information needs to be updated even if no changes occurred within this time frame. Penalties do apply when the process is ignored, forgotten or overlooked.

Now, let’s take a look at what might happen in the case of non-compliance.


About Failing to Comply with the Biennial Update

If you do in fact fail to update your information every two years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can deactivate your USDOT or license number. The FMCSA can also fine such businesses up to $10,000 and this fine is actually handed down more often than you might think.

For this reason alone, it’s best to simply track your renewal date and update this information as soon as possible to prevent such fines or an “Out of Service” taking place.

Either way, failing to complete the biennial update is not something you’ll want to happen!


What Else You Should Know About the Biennial Update

Unfortunately, many company owners fail to realize that such information needs to be updated when changes take place within the business. That is to say, even if you filed a biennial update last week, you still need to notify the FMCSA about significant changes when they happen. For instance, if the company changes ownership, you need to file a biennial update and the same goes for a change of address or contact information.

And remember: the same fines may apply when this information is not volunteered.

Otherwise, insurance is a common cause of complications for the biennial update and you simply must ensure you have the right insurance in place. As for the actual process, updating this information is surprisingly quick and just as convenient to access.


When Is the MCS-150 Submission Deadline?

The deadline to submit your updated MCS-150 varies based on the last two digits of your USDOT Number. The ​year​ you are required to update the form is based on the ​second to last number​ of your USDOT number.

  • If the number is ​odd​: You file your biennial update every ​odd-numbered year.
  • If the number is ​even​: You file your biennial update every ​even-numbered year.

The ​month​ you have to file your MCS-150 is determined by the ​last number​ of your USDOT number. You can figure out when to update your form based on the table below:


USDOT Number Ending In: Deadline to Update MCS-150 Form:

Filing schedule: Each motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider must file the appropriate form at the following times:

  • Before it begins operations; and
    Every 24 months according to 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


What is the process to do my Biennial Update?

You can simply ​visit this page​ on the FMCSA website and update your company information using the relevant PIN number. Just so you know, this PIN number is provided by the FMCSA. However, you can also ​download the MC-150 form​ before either faxing or posting this document to the FMCSA. Needless to say, you will also need to complete this form.


Can I File my Biennial Update by Myself?

Yes, you can file a biennial update or allocate this work to someone within the company (links to resources down below). The truth is, It’s just important not to forget this process and mark it down in a calendar. After all, the process costs little more than time but the same cannot be said for any failure to comply! That’s why a partner like Federal Carrier Compliance Registration is good to have on your side. They can and will keep you 100% compliant without you having to worry about it.


How Do I File my Biennial Update?

Biennial updates can be completed and filed online for free or by email, standard mail, phone or by fax. You can call 800-832-5660 to have an MCS-150 form mailed to you as well. Once you have completed the form, you can mail it to the address indicated on the form. You cannot make updates verbally over the telephone unfortunately, a signed form is required.

  • Online – If your USDOT Number is active, you may update your registration online. You’ll also need the assigned PIN, EIN/SSN, and Company Official information. You can request a PIN mailed or e-mailed to you.
  • By email – You can upload a signed MCS-150 to the FMCSA’s web form; you will then receive a tracking number by email
  • By mail* – Once you have completed the MCS-150 form you must print the completed form and mail it to the address indicated on the form
  • By fax – you can fax your signed MCS-150 form to 202-366-3477 or 606-330-3802.
  • By Phone – Federal Carrier can help complete your biennial update over the phone – call us at 877-659-9442 (this option is not free, though we will help you file correctly and on time)

*Important note for hard copy registrations: 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.


How long does it take to Process Biennial Updates?

Biennial updates are processed immediately if done online, but updates filed by email, fax or mail may take three to four weeks to process.

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