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For-Hire Intrastate Operating Authority

For-hire motor carriers transporting property or passengers point to point within Virginia may be required to obtain Virginia For-Hire Intrastate Operating Authority. (Va. Code §§ 46.2-2000 and 46.2-2100 et al.)


Depending on the type of transportation service to be provided, an applicant may have to demonstrate fitness to provide the service, that a need for the service exists, and that the service will be convenient for the public. Successful applicants are issued an operating certificate, license, or permit as appropriate for the service provided. An administrative hearing may be required for Certificate and License applicants.

Certificate and license applicants must include the required surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit with their application.

Before an intrastate operating authority certificate or permit is issued, the applicant must have an insurance company provide DMV with proof of liability insurance and, if applicable, proof of cargo insurance. Then the applicant must register all vehicles that will be used under the authority issued as being operated for-hire and obtain for-hire license plates. The operating authority will be indicated on the registration of vehicles that have been issued Virginia registration. The operating authority will not be indicated on the cab cards of vehicles requiring IRP (apportioned) registration. However IRP registration does not exempt the motor carrier from obtaining operating authority if performing transportation within Virginia.

During the 2017 General Assembly, legislation was passed that changed for-hire operating authority requirements for property carriers. A list of key changes is as follows:

  • Property Bulk (PB) authority type has been eliminated. Current PB authority holders will be converted to Property Carrier (PR) authority effective 1-1-2018.
  • If you are providing property carriage exclusively in passenger cars, motorcycles, autocycles, mopeds and vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less, you no longer are required to obtain operating authority from DMV.
  • Property brokers are no longer required to obtain a license from DMV.
  • The statutory definition of “household goods” has been amended to more accurately reflect the types of property transportation that constitute a household goods move. Under the new law, household goods are defined as personal effects and property used or to be used in a dwelling, when transported or arranged to be transported between residences, or between a residence and a storage facility with the intent to later transport the personal effects or property to a residence. Household goods may be transported under a permit if the move is 30 miles or less. Moves over 30 miles require a certificate. To determine which is needed, refer to the information provided for Property Carriers and Household Goods Carriers.

For more information regarding these changes, refer to the 2018 Property Carrier Update Letter.

In summary, unless conducting exempt operations or exclusively operating passenger cars, motorcycles, autocycles, mopeds and vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less when transporting property, motor carriers who transport property for hire on an intrastate basis in Virginia must:

  • file a Surety Bond (certificate only)
  • provide proof of insurance (certificate or permit only)
  • obtain operating authority
  • title the vehicle in Virginia
  • register each vehicle under their operating authority

Additional Information