Mexican-based Carriers entering the U.S.

When transporting goods between Mexico and the United States, there are a few things Mexican carriers need to know.

In a recent conversation, a client asked us about transporting goods between Mexico and the United States. This conversation inspired us to put together this blog post full of information for Mexican carriers. So, if you are a Mexican driver operating in the U.S. here are important details that you must observe if you want to bring cargo to and from the U.S.

Crossing international borders brings new rules and regulations. We’re here to help make sure you are ready and compliant when you start your international trip.

What Registration Do Mexican Drivers Need to Enter the U.S.?

As soon as you hit U.S soil you will need a MX number as well as a USDOT which is assigned to you by the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Association (FMCSA). Along with the MX and USDOT, you will also need a FMCSA Certificate of Registration for commercial zones or a long-haul Provisional or Standard Operating Authority Registration. Even if you are only planning one trip into the U.S you will still need to obtain all the paperwork mentioned.

There is no set rule on who you need to apply with first, the FMCSA or the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT), but just know that you will need to have the SCT authority RFC number before the FMCSA will issue your OP-1 or OP-2 authority.

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Long-Haul vs. Commercial

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are two types of trips when coming into the United States. Depending on which type you plan to do, will determine what additional paperwork and forms you will need to file.

The first type is Commercial, where you haul within the commercial zone in and around the municipalities right at the U.S- Mexico border. For a listing of these commercial zones found in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico you can click here. For this type of operation, you will need to apply to the USDOT for a Certificate of Registration (OP-2 authority).

The second type of transport is considered long-haul, where you transport beyond the Commercial zones into the continental U.S. This requires a Provisional Operating Authority (OP-1(MX) authority).

Both applications require that the carrier take specific steps and provide accurate information. Contact us if you need help determining which forms apply to you, and how to fill them out.

Once you get your Operating Authority and Certificate of Registration. . .

Once you are issued and you receive your U.S Operating Authority and Certificate of Registration you must keep a copy of the entire original in the vehicle at all time to avoid facing penalties. Just the front cover or the application will not be accepted.

Cabotage for Mexican Drivers

No matter what kind of authority you get approved for, Mexican drivers cannot pick up U.S. goods and deliver them within the U.S. See our Cabotage blog for more rules on what a foreign-domiciled carrier can and cannot do while transporting within the borders of the United States.

Record of Service Status and Hours of Service

Once you pass the border into the United States, you must abide by their requirements for keeping a driver log. This means an Electronic Logging Device (ELD), or an AOBRD is required for keeping track of your duty status.

There have been a few exceptions to this rule (agricultural haulers for example), so be sure to check to see what applies to your operation. You can always contact us for more clarification and help.

Other Requirements for Crossing the U.S Border

An additional requirement for transporting into the U.S is proof of insurance. You must have the original proof in the vehicle at all times.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Whether you are driving a semi with a B-train, a tow truck, or a pick-up truck, it doesn’t matter to the USDOT. Whether you are transporting goods commercially is what matters. So, make sure if you are moving paperclips in your Prius for commercial gain you have a MX number.

Español vs. English

You do not have to keep files in English, but if a form is identified by name or number, the only approved version is the English version.

Final Notes on Transporting from Mexico to the United States

Give yourself the appropriate amount of time to apply and get issued all necessary documents to start your international carrier business. Just having the applications does not make you eligible to transport commercial goods. You will need the official Operating Authority paperwork on hand, otherwise you will risk getting put out of service along with a heavy fine. So be warned, it can be as long as a few months for all the paperwork to be processed, so plan your business accordingly.

For more information visit the FMCSA website or contact us for more help