Are you considering starting a trucking business in California? Here is some important information from the California DMV Motor Carrier Permit office on what is required and how to obtain a permit.


What is a Motor Carrier Permit?

A motor carrier permit is a document issued by the DMV’s Motor Carrier Services Branch. The permit is issued to the motor carrier as evidence of the registration with the DMV of their Carrier Identification number (CA#), as required by CVC Section 34620. Additionally, the permit verifies the motor carrier has met all of the statutory requirements to commercially operate motor vehicles on California’s highways. The permit contains information specific to the motor carrier (e.g., name, mailing address, CA#, and effective/expiration dates of the permit).

Who needs a permit?

  • Any person or business entity that is paid to transport property in their motor vehicle regardless of vehicle size or weight. Persons who transport property for compensation are deemed a ‘For-Hire’ motor carrier.
  • Generally, any person or business entity operating a commercial vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more, either for business or personal use. Persons operating such vehicles are deemed a ‘Private’ motor carrier.


Who will not need a permit?

  • Vehicles operated by household goods and/or passenger carriers as defined in Section 5109 of the Public Utilities Code (those vehicles operate under Public Utilities Commission authority)
  • Vehicles operated by household goods carriers to transport used office, store, and institutional furniture and fixtures when operated under a household goods carrier permit issued pursuant to Section 5137 of the PUC.
  • Pickup trucks with a GVWR of less than 11,500 pounds, an unladen weight of less 8,001 pounds, and equipped with a box-type bed not exceeding 9 feet in length, when operated in a non-commercial manner.
  • Utility trailers, camp trailers, or trailer coaches.
  • Vehicles providing transportation of passengers only, a passenger stage corporation transporting baggage and express upon a passenger vehicles incidental to the transportation of passengers.
  • Vehicles used only for personal use and are 10,000 pounds GVWR or less.
  • Two-axle daily rental trucks with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds when operated in non-commercial use.
  • Vehicles which are exempt from vehicle registration fees.


When should a new carrier apply for a permit?

A permit is required before vehicles can be operated on California roadways so new carriers should apply prior to starting operations. Permit terms are a 12-month period beginning at the date of initial application and expiring on the last day of the twelfth month.

How do I obtain a Motor Carrier Permit?

To obtain a permit the following need to be provided to DMV:

  • A completed application form (DMV 706 MCP) (PDF)
  • Proof of financial responsibility (DMV 65 MCP)
  • Proof of Workers’ Compensation insurance or signed exemption
  • A valid Requestor Code issued by the Employer Pull Notice Program (EPN) if you employ drivers with a Commercial Class A, Class B, or Class C driver license with a hazardous materials endorsement. If you have questions or need forms contact the EPN Unit at (916) 657-6346.
  • A Carrier Identification number (CA#) issued by the CHP
  • Payment of fees


May I apply for a Motor Carrier Permit at my local DMV Field Office?

No. The single point of contact for all matters related to the Motor Carrier Permit program is the Motor Carrier Services Branch located at DMV Headquarters in Sacramento, California. The MCP Operations Unit is not a public office however there is a public drop box labeled “Motor Carrier Permit” in the lobby of Building West at 2570 24th St. For more information contact MCP Operations at (916) 657-8153.

Where do I send my application and insurance to obtain a Motor Carrier Permit?

Make a copy for your records and mail your completed application (DMV 706 MCP) (PDF)fees, and proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Motor Carrier Services Branch
Motor Carrier Permit Operations
P.O. Box 932370 – MS G875
Sacramento, CA 94232-3700

Overnight delivery:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Motor Carrier Services Branch
Motor Carrier Permit Operations
2415 1st Avenue – MS G875
Sacramento, CA 95818

Motor Carrier Permit drop box:

Department of Motor Vehicles – Building West Lobby
2570 24th Street
Sacramento, CA 95818

How do I obtain a Carrier Identification number (CA#)?

The Carrier Identification number (CA#) is issued exclusively by the CHP as part of their Biennial Inspection of Terminals (BIT) Program and is used as the motor carrier permit number. Not all motor carriers who require a motor carrier permit need to participate in the BIT Program.

CA# applicants must complete a Motor Carrier Profile (CHP 362) and mail, fax, or hand-carry it to their closest CHP Motor Carrier Safety Unit.

Note: CA# s will be issued exclusively by CHP effective July 1, 2009.

For more information contact the California Highway Patrol, or call (916) 843-3400

What are the liability insurance requirements to obtain a permit?

Levels of liability insurance vary from $300,000 to $5,000,000 combined single-limit coverage depending on the type of vehicles and the property transported. Proof of insurance must be submitted on one of the following forms (CVC34631, CCR 220.06):

  • Certificate of Insurance (DMV 65 MCP)
  • Surety Bond (DMV 55 MCP)
  • Certificate of Self Insurance (DMV 131 MCP)

To apply for a Certificate of Self Insurance, a motor carrier must meet the following requirements:

  • The motor carrier fleet is comprised of 25 or more commercial vehicles registered in the motor carrier name.
  • The required level of liability insurance does not exceed $750,000.
  • There are no unsatisfied judgment(s) against the motor carrier name or the “Doing Business As” or trade names listed on the application for MCP resulting from property damages and/or bodily injury (including death) caused by a motor vehicle accident.

Self insurance forms may be obtained at For additional information contact MCP Operations at (916) 657-8153.

Additional information pertaining to self insurance for MCP purposes may be obtained in the California Code of Regulations, Title XIII, Article 3.5.


To get the best deal on truck insurance from the best insurance agency in California, call us at 800-750-1812 for a fast quote from one of our friendly agents today!