Moving Company Licensing Overview

MovingLike most careers which require a deep technical knowledge of the trade, movers need to be licensed to perform a moving job. There may not be college or graduate training that a mover goes through to become a certified licensed mover, but they need to follow certain rules and regulations to become one. It’s with these movers that you should trust your belongings, and only to these movers. Just like you would never go to a doctor who doesn’t have a medical degree, so to you should not use a mover who is not properly licensed.

These are the 3 main types of moves, each of which requires a different type of license:

1Interstate: With this type of move your goods cross state lines (or country borders), regardless of the distance traveled, and regardless if you end up in the same state that you started in. Movers who perform Interstate moves need to have a license issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and must also have a U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) number. You can verify a mover’s credentials on the FMCSA website:

2. Intrastate: With this type of move your goods never leave the state that the move starts in, regardless of the distance traveled. Each Intrastate mover has different requirements and licenses based on the state they move in. You can do more research on each state’s license requirements by clicking here: Local Moving Company Licenses.

3. International: With this type of move your goods are moved from one country to another, regardless of the distance traveled. International Movers have several types of licenses. The standard one is an OTI (Ocean Freight Forwarder) which is filed with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). There is also a NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier) OTI, which is similar to a standard OTI, but with an additional tariff filed with the FMC to document the services and fees the International mover are legally bound to uphold.

So when you’re ready to move, figure out what type of move you’re making (Interstate, Intrastate, or International), and make sure the mover you choose has the appropriate licenses. One easy way to research movers is by requesting free moving quotes from Here you can get moving estimates from moving companies who have already been pre-screened for the necessary licensing requirements.