How One Can Get An International Freight Broker License?

Importing and exporting goods takes more than transporting a good from one country to another country. The process of importing and exporting involves packaging products, clearing customs, and ensuring goods in case something happens. Hiring an international freight broker to train in forwarding the goods internationally can ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to get your packages to their destination cautiously and legally.

What does the international freight broker do?

Almost every business organization needs to have a freight broker to grow and move their business. And freight brokers are tapped by these businesses to address their requirements. As the link between organizations with shipping requirements and the authorized shippers themselves, licensed freight brokers can start working even if they do not have any capital-intensive logistics or carrier business. 

How one can get an international freight broker license?

One need to follow these steps to get the international freight broker license such as –

Step 1 – Picking up a business structure

A freight brokerage is a business and will need to engage as such. That means choosing and then declaring a structure for the business –

  • Individual/Sole Proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Corporation

The right choice may not be recognizable. Plus, there need to be some pros and cons to each of these options, and a long-term indication as well. That’s why many entrepreneurs, freight brokers or otherwise, consult with a lawyer or accountant about which framework to select. A consultation is no requirement to get a license. Rather, it is a resource that some freight brokers rely on to build the best foundation for their budding business. You will need to report which structure you select on the international freight brokerage license application. 

Step 2 – Obtaining a motor carrier number

The next step is to procure a motor carrier number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is the agency that oversees freight brokers and grants licenses. You will need to request a number by submitting the OP-1 Form, which functions as an initial application for a freight broker license. This form requires general business information including business structure and applicants. Apart from this, need to select either “Broker of Household Goods” or “Broker of Property” under Section III designating the Type of Operating Authority. Once all the details in the application are filled applicant will receive a motor carrier number within four weeks. 

Step 3 – Securing a surety bond

Every freight broker will need to prove that they have a type of surety bond known as freight broker surety bond before being granted an international freight broker license. This process can seem confusing and astounding at first, especially compared to the other steps on this list, but it is quite simple to obtain a surety bond. Freight broker surety bonds hold a broker financially accountable for misconduct that causes damages to clients or the public at large. When a broker does something illegal or unethical, the parties hurt by that demeanor may file claims against the surety bond for compensation equal to the damages caused. 

The surety that backs the bond collateral immediate payment in full for all valid claims. Afterward, the broker that caused the claim needs to repay the surety – with interest and fees added or have the debt sent to collection and the bond contract terminated, which would invalidate the freight broker license. So, securing a bond involves finding a trusted surety agency, completing an application, and submitting a credit check. The surety will then cite a premium price unique to each applicant. The international freight broker license requires a $75,000 surety bond. But the bond cost will be a small percentage of the total, less or more depending on the credit. 

Step 4 – Picking up a process agent 

A process agent serves as a representative for a freight broker if the broker must be furnished with court papers. Essentially, process agents are a way to hold brokers legally liable, similar to how surety bonds hold them financially liable. The international freight broker will need to work with a process agent in each state where they have an office or write contracts, but some companies can endeavor blanket coverage in all states. Once selected, the process agent needs to fill out application form BOC-3 for submission to the FMCSA. 

Step 5 – Registering the business

The final step before getting your international freight brokerage license is to register with the Unified Carrier Registration. This is a nationwide database of broker registrations, financial liability information, and fee disclosures. By joining this registry, a broker acknowledges abiding by rules that apply to everyone in the industry. And pay all the necessary fees to the state where the main office is located. Brokers need also to get familiarize themselves with all the rules admissible to freight transport in the states where they conduct business. Knowing these rules could benefit you prevent expensive infractions later, including claims against the freight broker surety bond?


There are two major challenges in getting an international freight broker license i.e. costs and lack of appropriate knowledge of the sector. So, before lodging your application for an international freight broker. Consider working for an international freight brokerage or any closely related firm to build up your knowledge on how the sector works as well as gain essential contacts. Once you are confident enough to run your logistic firm. It is time to take it further by applying for a license.

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