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Things You Need To Know About The BOC-3 Filing Process

A Comprehensive Guide for the Trucking Industry

Table of Contents

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BOC-3 Explained

BOC-3, the Blanket of Coverage – Form 3, is essential for transporters trailing across states. If you are a transporter, broker, motor carrier, or freight forwarder and fall under the compliance of FMCSA, you will need to file a BOC-3 form.

This form gives you an operating authority under the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). When you operate a transportation company across the states, you are obliged to file for a BOC-3 form. Under any circumstance you are found violating this rule, you may have to pay hefty fines imposed by FMCSA and in the worst case scenario, the regulatory body can suspend your operating authority.   

Here are some things that every transportation company or agent must be mindful of when it comes to a BOC-3 filing. You must know about the purpose, requirements, and implications associated with your BOC-3 form. So, first, let us tell you what BOC-3 is all about.

What Is A BOC-3 Form For?

The BOC-3 form is the Designation of Agents for Service of Process that makes the process agent eligible to work in the jurisdiction of other states mentioned in the form. This form is unavoidable when you open a transportation company that goes across states. It includes motor carriers, brokers, or freight forwarders to have this filed to back their legal visibility.

It is not about transporting goods from one place to another. It is about providing the authority to the process agent to get legal documents on behalf of the client.

How BOC-3 Forms Work

The mechanism is quite simple but very important for the company and its service agent. This BOC-3 by FMCSA appoints a process agent in each state you want to operate in for a legally compliant transport process.

Now, this appointed agent acts as your legal representative in the assigned state and has the complete authority to receive legal documents like lawsuits or summons in your place. Obviously, you can’t open your legal desk in every state you visit for service, so the FMCSA has made this BOC-3 a way to track down your activities as well as make sure each transverse you carry out abides by the law.

Well, coming back to our agent, this process agent then guarantees you will be notified of any legal proceedings. It helps you prevent any hassles that come along with missed documents resulting in default judgments.

What Happens If You Don't File For A BOC-3 Form?

As we have already mentioned, it is mandatory, or called a prerequisite, for obtaining the operating authority from the FMCSA. But, it is also mandatory for you to comply with the terms under this form to maintain your operating authority.

If somehow you fail to comply with this prerequisite and still operate, you may bear the burden of hefty fines. The FMCSA Enforcement Personnel is capable of suspending your operating authority, making you ineligible for a lifetime, or even causing the closure of the business.

The BOC-3 works as your shield from all these suspensions and closures. It makes sure that you are aware of your legal standings, saving your time, money, and reputation.

Can I File My BOC-3 Myself?

Well, the answer to whether you can file BOC-3 on your own or not depends on your specific situation. For example, if you are a motor carrier who runs commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), you can’t file a BOC-3 form yourself.

Why is that so? Because only an appointed process agent can apply for it on your behalf, and it is done online. So, there is no legwork for you, but you can tell the process agent about your terms. By doing so, you test the process agent’s qualifications and service availability.

In other situations, if you are a freight forwarder or a broker who doesn’t run commercial motor vehicles, then you are safe to go and file for your BOC-3 form all on your own. This is the only situation where you can file BOC-3 yourself, and it only applies when you don’t own or operate CMVs.

It doesn’t even matter who goes to file for a BOC-3 because either way, you will have a process agent appointed in each state you have business in. Also, remember that whether you file or the agent files, it is done for each state separately, no matter where you are currently operating.

To avoid the trouble, you can go for a single Blanket Process Agent who can cover all states without having you file for every state individually.

How Much Does A BOC-3 Cost?

This is a good question to ask about your BOC-3 filing. Well, the cost of filing a BOC-3 depends on multiple factors. For example, you will need to pay a fee to the process agent who will do the task on your behalf. Now, what will your agent charge will depend on your state or city.

On average, the process agent fee will be around $20 to $400+. This is a rough estimate as the fee is calculated considering what the agent is offering, e.g., the basic filing, filing updates, address changes, reminders, and other additional services. Besides the agent’s fee, there is also a recurring filing fee charged by the FMCSA.

Are BOC-3 Filings Necessary?

We can’t put more emphasis on how necessary BOC-3 is for a transportation company. To answer the question, yes, BOC-3 is mandatory for any motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder to operate from one state to another.

It becomes necessary because it is a part of FMCSA’s regulations that compels you to apply for it when you are operating a transportation company with commercial motor vehicles beyond your existing state, or it applies when you want the operating authority from the FMCSA to be a process agent, or when you are changing your process agent or changing the operating states.

How Long Does A BOC-3 Filing Last For?

The BOC-3 form by FMCSA doesn’t have any expiration date like many other permits or documents. Once you apply for the BOC-3, it is applicable until you have a change of information or terms in it.

It is valid for a lifetime if it correctly reflects the business information. However, there are certain conditions when you will need to update your BOC-3 form. For example, if your company name, address, or phone number has changed, you will have to file for an updated BOC-3 to reflect these changes.

In another case, if you are operating from a new state and ending your operation in an existing one, you will update it in your BOc-3 form. Well, you know you have to keep it up to date.

Do Intrastate Carriers Need BOC-3 Forms Filed?

There is a difference between interstate and intrastate regulations when it comes to the transportation sector. For your info, the intrastate motor carriers get an exemption from this BOC-3 filing burden. It only applies to companies that expand their operations beyond states.

These are usually the motor carriers that use CMVS, having a GVWR of 10,001 lbs or even more than that. Or, if you are a broker and arrange transport for others but don’t have your own vehicle.

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