Licensing & Compliance Requirements

Interstate Moving – United States of America

A U.S. DOT number is required by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves. (For moves within a state, requirements vary. The licensing and compliance requirements for every state are available at

All IAMTrusted and IAMX-Validated Movers presented in search results at provide links directly to the FMCSA database showing current licensing status and details.

Regulations and Interstate Transportation

FMCSA’s regulations apply to motor carriers that engage in the interstate transportation of household goods and brokers that arrange for such transportation. These regulations require your mover to perform certain services and provide you with specific documents. The regulations only apply to your mover when the mover transports your household goods by motor vehicle in interstate or foreign commerce – that is when you move from one State to another or internationally. The regulations do not apply when your move takes place within a commercial zone (defined at the end of this booklet) or between two points in the same State.

Legitimate Movers and Brokers

Legitimate movers and brokers are registered with FMCSA to engage in interstate operations involving the interstate transportation of household goods. A legitimate mover explains whether they are a broker or a mover. A household goods broker arranges for the transportation of your shipment but does not provide line-haul transportation. A household goods mover actually transports your shipment.

Household goods brokers or movers must provide you with basic information before you move. You should expect to receive the following information:

  • A written estimate
  • Information about the mover’s arbitration program
  • Written notice about access to the mover’s tariff
  • The process for handling claims

You should avoid brokers and movers that are not registered with FMCSA, refuse to perform a physical survey of your household goods, and require cash only transactions. You can determine if your broker or mover is registered with FMCSA by accessing, or calling FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing and (866) 637-0635 for insurance information.


Licensing & Compliance Requirements

International Moving (United States)

International moving companies that offer to ship your household goods or automobiles to or from the U.S. via ocean vessel must be licensed or registered with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).

All IAMTrusted and IAMX-Validated Movers presented in search results at provide links directly to the FMC database showing current licensing status, insurance company and bonding details. 

Obtain Written Estimates

International moving companies usually base their cost upon the volume or the weight of the goods that are shipped. Some moving companies may offer online volume calculators or telephonic estimates based upon the number of rooms moved or a listing of items moved. However, such estimates are often inaccurate. To avoid problems involving online or telephonic estimates, ask potential movers to provide you with a quote based on the mover’s onsite inspection of your goods. A good general rule of thumb is to obtain written estimates for service from several different international moving companies prior to selecting your mover.

Read the Fine Print

Read your estimate and contract for service. Make sure that you understand and agree with all terms and conditions. Note the services and charges that are included and whether any services or charges are excluded. For example, port terminal handling charges are often excluded from international moving estimates, and result in additional costs later. Also, note whether there are any guarantees or disclaimers with regard to the date of delivery. Despite promises made by sales people, promises may not be enforced unless they appear in the terms and conditions of the international moving contract.

Review Insurance Coverage & Terms

Generally, international moving companies limit their responsibility for loss of or damage to your household goods. As such, many companies offer insurance coverage policies at an additional cost. Make sure that you request a copy of the insurance terms and conditions from your mover prior to obtaining insurance. Read all terms and conditions of any insurance coverage offered by your moving company to determine whether such coverage is desirable.  Make sure that you receive a signed insurance document. Note that many moving companies will not provide insurance coverage for your goods unless they are packed by the moving company.


FMC Website Moving Dos and Don’ts
FMC Website Protect Your International Move
FMC Publication International Moving (Checklist)