How to Change from Intrastate to Interstate | Step-by-Step Guide

Are you looking to change from driving within your state to traveling across state lines? If traveling from one state to another, consider changing your route from intrastate to Interstate. It can be a complicated process, but it’s not impossible. This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to know How to Change from Intrastate to Interstate.

What is the Interstate Operating Authority?

Transporting freight across international borders can be a lucrative business. Before you can embark on this journey, there are certain legal requirements that you need to fulfill. One of the most important is obtaining an International Operating License. The Motor Transport Office, also known as the Truck Office, is issued this license and is necessary for anyone looking to transport goods internationally.

Suppose you already have a working permit or Motor Carrier (MC) number for intrastate operations but want to expand your business to interstate routes. In that case, you will need to change your permit status. This process is called changing from intrastate to Interstate and involves several steps. You will need to apply for an International Operating License from the relevant authorities in your country.

How to Change from Intrastate to Interstate | Step-by-Step Guide

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Once you have obtained your International Operating License, it’s time to update your MC number to reflect your new permit status. The Federal Office of Motorcycle Safety (FMCSA) provides both numbers together, but it’s important to determine whether you also need an International Operating License. Here are some rules that can help you make this decision.

  • Consider the type of cargo that you will be transporting. If your business involves moving goods across international borders, then an International Operating License is necessary. 
  • If your transportation activities are limited to domestic operations only within the United States, then there is no need for an International Operating License. 
  • It’s important to assess your operation’s size before deciding whether to obtain an International Operating License.
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Rental work

As a business owner, it’s essential to ensure that you’re getting paid for the work you do. If your company is renting out assets for profit, there are certain rules and regulations you need to be aware of. If you’re not careful, your business could be considered a lease rather than an organization that moves property. When determining whether your company is engaged in rental work is how much control you have over the assets being rented.

In a traditional employer-employee relationship where the property is moved around as part of the job duties, the employer generally retains control over those assets. When your company rents out equipment or other assets regularly and has little control over how renters use them, it’s more likely that your business will be considered a lease.

Crossing State or Country Borders

If you are planning to travel for work or personal purposes and anticipate crossing state or country borders, then having an interstate working permit is essential. The permit is required for those engaged in activities that cross state or international borders. Permit demonstrates the holder’s qualifications and credentials to perform their duties while traveling through different regions.

It’s important to note that not everyone may require an interstate working permit, even if they do cross public lines. For example, individuals shipping their property across state borders may not need a permit as they are not actively engaging in work-related activities. Some exemptions depend on the circumstances of your travel plans. It’s always best to check with the relevant authorities to determine if you need a permit.

What is an Intrastate Authority?

How to Change from Intrastate to Interstate | Step-by-Step Guide

Many shipping companies choose to operate solely within one state. This decision may be based on various factors, including the company’s size, resources, and market demand. If you decide to operate exclusively within your state, you typically need an intrastate authority. An intrastate authority is a permit that allows a carrier to transport goods within a single state. Carriers must meet certain requirements and submit appropriate documentation to their state’s Department of Transportation (DOT). 

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It typically includes proof of insurance coverage, compliance with safety regulations, and other specific state requirements. Companies operating only within their home state may also need to hold additional licenses or permits depending on the type of cargo they are transporting.

How to Change from Intrastate to Interstate

How to Change from Intrastate to Interstate | Step-by-Step Guide

If you plan to operate your commercial vehicle in more than one state, it is essential to have a DOT number. The DOT number is similar to your driver’s license number and serves as a unique identifier for your business. It is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and helps track safety records, inspections, and compliance reviews. You must register with the FMCSA for an executive agency or MC number to operate in multiple states.

This registration process will enable you to manage your business more efficiently and comply with federal regulations. The requirements for obtaining an executive agency or MC number vary based on several criteria. The three main criteria that determine how you can change from intrastate to interstate operations include the size of your vehicle, the type of cargo you carry, and the distance traveled outside your home state.

Operation of a company car

Operating a commercial vehicle comes with its own set of rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure safety on the road. The requirement for a USDOT number if certain criteria are met. If the vehicle transports hazardous materials, it is required to have a USDOT number. It is important as hazardous materials can pose significant risks to drivers and others on the road. 

If a security clearance is required for domestic trade, the commercial vehicle must also have a USDOT number. It ensures that only authorized personnel handle sensitive information or materials during transportation. Any commercial vehicle weighing 10,001 pounds or more must also have a USDOT number to operate legally.

Participation in trading

Participation in trading requires businesses to understand the regulations surrounding commercial vehicles and shipping. You will likely need a DOT number if your shipping company ships cargo directly from your store or warehouse. It is because the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates commercial vehicles that transport goods across state lines.

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Even if you drive a vehicle that could be considered a commercial vehicle, such as a delivery van or box truck, you may not necessarily need a DOT number. The determining factor is whether your business engages in interstate commerce, meaning the transportation of goods between two or more states.

It’s important to note that some states have additional requirements for intrastate commerce (transportation within one state). So even if you don’t need a DOT number for interstate commerce, research state-specific regulations before transporting goods within your state.

Location of your company

If you plan to run a home company that ships merchandise within one country, you may not require a DOT number. The location of your business plays an essential role in determining whether or not you need to acquire this number. Some nations have stringent regulations demanding that every motor carrier operating commercial vehicles on their highways have a DOT number.

Transitioning from domestic to international trade is relatively easy if you possess a DOT number and ship products within the same country. With this number, you only need to contact the International Bureau of Operations and register your business by paying the necessary fees. Having a DOT number also means that regulatory bodies will closely monitor your transport operations, ensuring compliance with safety and operational standards.


This step-by-step guide will help you transition from intrastate to interstate driving. The process for changing from intrastate to Interstate can vary depending on your location. Some states have similar regulations as the FMCSA, making it easier for carriers to transition between them. Following the instructions lets you know how to change from Intrastate to Interstate. So take the first step in your journey to becoming an interstate driver!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Intrastate and Interstate?

Intrastate refers to commerce between states, while Interstate refers to commerce between states and other countries.

What are the benefits of changing my state from Intrastate to Interstate?

Interstate drivers enjoy some significant benefits over intrastate drivers. These include: 
1. A higher speed limit. Interstate highways typically have a speed limit of 65 mph, while most intrastate highways have a speed limit of 55 mph. 
2. Faster travel times. Interstate highways are typically wider and have fewer traffic jams than intrastate highways. 
3. More rest stops. Interstate highways typically have more rest stops than intrastate highways.

How do I know if I am ready to change my state?

You may not be ready to change your state until you have a conversation with yourself about why you want to change your state. Ensure you are clear about what you want and why it is important.