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registration through online and paper forms

FMCSA to build a new online registration system

April 26, 2024
After a long and rocky road with the Unified Registration System, the agency announced that it is requesting approval from the Office of Management and Budget for a new online system to simplify registration processes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working to implement a new online registration system to replace the Unified Registration System.

FMCSA announced that it is submitting a request to the Office of Management and Budget to implement the new FMCSA Registration System. This system, FRS, will replace URS. It will allow users to register and access several historically separate paper forms in one online system.

The agency has tried to build a simplified online registration system for almost three decades. After suspending its rollout of URS indefinitely in 2017, FMCSA’s announcement of another registration system brings new hope for an easier registrant experience.

The registration system aims to simplify FMCSA’s registration processes and forms. These processes help the agency track motor carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, and other industry groups.

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The old: Unified Registration System

FMCSA has tried to develop an online registration system for nearly 28 years, according to a Federal Register posting on URS.

The agency announced its plans to develop a single online information system back in 1996. After a long series of proposals, revisions, and many delays, FMCSA partially implemented URS in December 2015. At that time, URS only allowed first-time applicants to apply for their initial FMCSA registration.

This initial implementation was meant to be the first part of a multi-phased rollout for URS. The agency’s next planned phases would have introduced features for existing registrants—however, these phases never came.

In previous Federal Register postings, FMCSA blamed this on “unforeseen delays and complications in the IT development process.” The agency struggled for several years to migrate its data from multiple separate legacy platforms into a central database.

URS remained trapped in this partially developed state and, in January 2017, FMCSA formally suspended URS for existing registrants indefinitely. As before, existing registrants continued to use several separate paper forms to manage and update their information.

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The new: FMCSA Registration System

Under the new FRS, FMCSA says that several forms will be integrated into a single, simple online system that will ask users a series of relevant questions. The integrated forms include OP-1, OP-1(P), OP-1(FF), OP-1(NNA), MSC-150, MCS-15B, and BOC-3.

The new registration system is not yet completed, and FMCSA stated that it cannot estimate how much time the new platform will save users.

In the meantime, registrants can continue to use their regular forms to navigate FMCSA’s registration process.

About the Author

Jeremy Wolfe | Editor

Editor Jeremy Wolfe joined the FleetOwner team in February 2024. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with majors in English and Philosophy. He previously served as Editor for Endeavor Business Media's Water Group publications.

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