Licensing Requirements for Charter-Party Carriers



Scammers are calling both new applicants and existing carriers and claiming they are calling from the CPUC. (Note that carriers' contact information is publicly available on the Commission's website.) These scammers say that additional money ($500-$1,000) must be paid by wire transfer or over the phone with a credit card or the application (or current permit or certificate) will be denied. If you receive a call  like this asking for money, tell the caller NO and hang up.

The CPUC does not solicit extra funds to complete new applications or renewals once the CPUC has received the filing fee and application.


Important information to consider before completing and submitting a charter-party carrier (TCP) application


Before you decide to apply, please be aware of the various costs you would be responsible for as a charter-party carrier.

  • Insurance: The cost of insurance typically has the largest impact on your business plan. Before you apply, Licensing staff advise that you shop and compare the rates and services provided by different insurers.
    • Insurance tends to cost significantly more if you seek TCP authority without a vehicle, as opposed to including your vehicle information (Form PL664 and DMV commercial vehicle registration) with your application.
    • To find insurers who make filings with the CPUC, look at the carriers on our web site at Click on the File Number of any carrier; you will see detailed information about that carrier, including the name and address of its insurance company.
    • All carriers must have public liability and property damage insurance on file with the CPUC – see General Order 115 for levels of insurance required for charter-party carriers.
    • Carriers who have employees must also have workers’ compensation insurance on file with the CPUC.
  • Application fee: Non-refundable. $1500 for a charter-party “A” certificate, $1000 for all other permit or certificate types
  • Inspection fees: If you intend to operate a bus, be aware that there is an inspection fee due to the California Highway Patrol, currently set at $15 per vehicle.
  • Controlled Substance and Alcohol Testing Program: Vary, depending on the drug consultant
  • Employer Pull Notice  
  • DMV Weight Certificate
  • Airport licensing (if you plan to operate at an airport that requires an airport license)

Remember that filing fees are not refundable. Licensing staff advise that you not submit an application if you’re not certain you will be ready to start operating (and paying for all the necessary insurance) within 2-3 months.



Several TCP licensing requirements depend on processes that are outside the CPUC's control and can take as long as two months. Consider starting these processes either before or at the time that you submit your TCP application:

  • DMV Employer Pull Notice Program: complete and submit forms INF 1104 and INF 1105, accessible on the DMV's Employer Pull Notice Program Forms webpage. It may take approximately six weeks to receive a Pull Notice Contract
  • DMV commercial vehicle registration: complete and submit the Commercial Registration of a Passenger Vehicle (REG 590) form, accessible on the DMV's Vehicle Registration Forms webpage.
  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing Certification Program: enroll with one of the CPUC’s approved providers (see Drug Consultant List (Excel format)) and complete a drug test.
    •  If you choose to enroll before receiving your first status update/deficiency letter, be sure to provide your drug consultant with the form. Your first status update/deficiency letter will include your TCP number; after you receive that letter, be sure to provide your TCP number to your drug consultant, as they will need to submit your drug test results directly to us (we will not accept your results from you, the applicant).
  • If you intend to operate at an airport, you will need to contact the Ground Transportation Unit of each airport and inquire into the airport permitting process.
  • If you intend to apply as a LLC, LP or Corporation, get your articles of incorporation, file that with the Secretary of State. If you don’t include this, your application may be returned.



Information relating to vehicle liability, cargo, and workers’ compensation insurance policies for motor carriers of passengers and household goods must be filed with the Commission electronically. In order to use the Commission's insurance e-filing system, you must be a representative of an insurance company, surety company, or an authorized California Surplus Lines Broker. See the Insurance Requirements page for more information.





(Note: if you prefer, these forms may be requested from our licensing section via email: )

DMV commercial registration sample 1

DMV commercial registration sample 2