How to Apply for an OTI License

U.S.-based companies or sole proprietors operating as Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFF) or Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) are required to obtain a license from the FMC. Non-U.S.-based NVOCCs are not required, but may apply for a FMC-issued license.

Application Process for U.S.–based NVOCCs and OFFs:

  1. Appoint a qualifying individual:
    • A qualifying individual must have at least three years of demonstrable OTI experience and, depending on the business form, be an officer of the applicant's corporation, the sole proprietor, or a partner in a partnership.
    • The qualifying individual’s experience must have been gained in the United States.
  2. Submit electronically or print out and complete Form FMC-18: Application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary.
  3. Submit Form FMC-18 and the required license application fee.

Application Process for Non-U.S.–based NVOCCs that Chooses to be Licensed:

  1. Appoint a qualifying individual
    • A qualifying individual must have at least three years of demonstrable OTI experience and, depending on the business form, be an officer of the applicant's corporation, the sole proprietor, or a partner in a partnership.
    • The qualifying individual may have gained experience outside the U.S.
  2. Submit electronically or print out and complete Form FMC-18: Application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary.
  3. Submit Form FMC-18 and the required license application fee.
  4. A non-U.S.-based NVOCC must establish a presence in the United States such as an unincorporated branch office.

Changes to Your Information
Form FMC-18 must be filed if any of the following changes:

  • Change in qualifying individual
  • Name
  • Address
  • Business structure change
  • Additions or removals of trade names
  • Other changes to information reported on the original Form FMC-18

Summiting Proof of Financial Responsibility
Here are the three methods of submitting proof of financial responsibility (46 CFR Part 515 Subpart C) based on type of OTI:

    Licensed, U.S.-based NVOCCs and OFFs are required to submit proof of financial responsibility (most likely in the form of a surety bond), in the amount of $50,000 (for an ocean freight forwarder license) or $75,000 (for NVOCC license). For each unincorporated branch office in the United States performing OTI services, the OTI is required to provide the FMC with the addresses of those branch offices.

    Licensed, Non-U.S.-based NVOCCs are required to submit proof of financial responsibility in the amount of 75,000.

    Non-U.S.-based NVOCCs, unless licensed, are required to submit proof of financial responsibility in the amount of $150,000; and are required to use a licensed OTI for any OTI services performed on its behalf in the United States.

 

Contact Information

Licensing and Proof of Financial Responsibility

Phone: 202-523-5787

Fax: 202-566-001

E-mail: bcl@fmc.gov

 

Forms & Applications

Automated Application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (FMC-18)

Application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (FMC-18)

Ocean Transportation Intermediary Bond (FMC-48

Optional Rider for Additional NVOCC Financial Responsibility (FMC-48A)

NVOCC Service Arrangement Registration (FMC-78)

Ocean Transportation Intermediary Group Bond Form (FMC-69)

Optional Rider for Additional NVOCC Financial Responsibility for Group Bonds (FMC-69A)