Federal law requires that a process agent be designated in order to obtain the authority to operate from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This agency is responsible for regulation of the US trucking industry. These companies must file Form BOC-3 to the FMCSA in order to receive and maintain this authority.
This article explains what a BOC-3 file is and how transportation companies such as motor carriers and brokers can designate a SOP or process agent.
What’s a BOC-3 agent (or FMCSA Agent)?
You must designate an agent for service of process if you own a transportation business. This agent is also known as an FMCSA agent and resides in every state where you do business.
A process agent, also known as an SOP agent, is basically a business entity that has been appointed by your company to receive legal documents on behalf of the principal. You must physically locate a process agent in every state where you are authorized to work and be available during normal business hours.
Once the process agent has been designated, they are authorized to receive service of process and any other legal documents for your company in the respective state(s). Service of process is the act of delivering documents, usually a complaint or summons, to notify the defendant that legal proceedings have been instituted against him and the subsequent actions that must taken.
What’s a BOC-3 file?
BOC-3 (“Designation of Agents to Serve Process”) is a federal file in the United States. It assigns a process agent to receive legal documents for a company that is authorized to do so in each state. A BOC-3 file is required in order to grant authority for a transport or logistics company to operate.
Motor carriers only process agents can file the BOC-3. The filing must be done online. If you are a broker, freight forwarder or freight agent without commercial vehicles, you can still file the BOC-3 form as a paper copy.
You can expect the following information to be provided when you submit your BOC-3 via the FMCSA website:
Name and address of the carrier (or broker, or freight forwarder).
Signing authority and the person’s title
The name and street address of the SOP agent for each state. This can be listed separately or as a blanket designation. A blanket designation is one corporation or association that has been filed with the FMCSA and will serve as the applicant’s process agency for each state and District of Colombia.
What does a BOC-3 agent charge?
A BOC-3 agent is a cost-effective way to appoint a registered professional agent. It can cost as little as $20 or as much as $100, depending on the service you choose. Many SOP agents also offer additional compliance services.
There are many fees. Professional process agents may charge an annual fee and additional fees for each document they handle. Others charge a one-time BOC-3 fee. Companies often request additional fees for address changes and expedited BOC-3 filing. These fees are frequently requested by companies who want to quickly get their business up and running.
How long does Form BOC-3 take?
After the BOC-3 form is submitted electronically to the FMCSA, the FMCSA will issue operating authorization and mail it to you. Operating authority documents usually arrive within three to four business days. If you haven’t received your operating authority document within 10 business days of the grant date, contact FMCSA. You can also verify whether your operating authorization has been issued by visiting FMCSA Licensing and Insurance Website.
Your BOC-3 could need to be refiled in certain situations, such as a name change or transfer of authority or reinstatement your motor carrier operating authority.
Benefits of using a blanket agent
A company can appoint process agents for specific states, or a blanket agent who covers all of them. A blanket agent is a way to consolidate your FMCSA obligations. This agent is your BOC-3 blanket agent in every jurisdiction where you operate. It is easier for you to track notifications from one agent. You will also receive prompt notifications of any regulatory changes. This helps reduce any potential penalties, such as losing good standing or loss of compliance with FMCSA.
You must choose a blanket agent from the FMCSA approved list of blanket process companies.
Is it possible to act as my own agent for the process?
Only you can act as your own agent in your base state. A physical address must be provided so that service of process can take place during regular business hours.
How do you choose the right agent for your process?
Look for individuals who have experience in the service of process in the transportation industry. They will be able to ensure that official documents are handled promptly and securely when selecting a registered agency service provider. There are many options, but you should only choose a partner that goes above and beyond the statutory requirements. They will provide tools and alerts to ensure compliance and help you meet your obligations without additional charges.
Agents who can be reached during business hours should have a discrete address to protect your privacy and keep process servers from your business.
You can also look into additional services like annual report filings to make sure your filings are accurate and timely in every state.
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