To qualify for any of the three types of OTI license issued by the Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”), your company must demonstrate to the FMC that at least one of your company officers has a minimum of three (3) years working experience for an FMC licensed NVOCC, ocean forwarder, or ocean carrier in the USA. This person is called the FMC Qualifying Individual (“QI”). Generally speaking, one person cannot serve as the QI for more than one licensed company. The QI does not need to be a company shareholder. Your QI must have three references to the FMC who will provide evidence of the applicant’s experience in this area. These references will be contacted by the FMC license office, and must confirm the ocean experience of the proposed QI based on their first-experience. For example, the references must confirm they contacted the QI for ocean rate quotations, or to book ocean shipments. Please click here for a list of the 10 Requirements to Obtain an OTI license.
Types of OTI Licenses
In May 1999 new licensing requirements for ocean freight forwarders and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) operating in the USA were established by the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). Due to these regulations, each ocean transportation service provider in the USA acting as ocean freight forwarder or NVOCC agent must obtain a license to operate as “Ocean Transportation Intermediary” (OTI) before it begins operations. This applies on both imports and exports. The FMC issues three (3) different OTI licenses.
How can the Law Office of Rose H. Robbins help you with the OTI License Application Preparation?
Some companies have filed their applications directly with the FMC, but others have relied on us to help prepare the application and all the attached documentation, file it with the FMC, pay the fees, and follow-up with the FMC. We will send you a retainer agreement for our flat fee. If all goes smoothly, the applications can be approved by FMC within 60 days.
Once you have retained us, your first step in the application process should be to review the regulations issued in 46 CFR Part 515. After review, prepare the application (Form FMC-18) in draft form and FAX or e-mail to us. This is just a rough first draft; handwritten answers are fine. We will review your application carefully, and advise corrections or additions necessary to meet FMC requirements. We will send you an updated draft, along with a letter explaining everything that will be required to put your application in good order and move forward. When you have any questions about the OTI license requirements, we will be pleased to answer these promptly.
We submit the OTI Applications to the FMC on-line (for the lowest filing fee) and also send a hard copy by courier with an attorney cover letter and payment for the filing fee (filing fee is in addition to our legal fees). We confirm receipt by the FMC, confirm this with you, and advise what you can expect during the FMC processing. We promptly respond to all FMC questions or requests regarding your application, and keep you well advised of its progress. However, you must expect the FMC also to contact your references directly. The FMC’s review of your application will take about 60 days. We will notify you when your application is approved, and when you are required to finalize bonding.
The OTI license filing fee is non-refundable after it is submitted to the FMC, because processing of applications filed begins almost immediately. Your application can be “withdrawn” if you request this, but the filing fee is not refundable. Our legal fees for handling the application is also non-refundable. Also note, these fees do not cover the NVOCC tariff publication.
The Law Offices of Rose H. Robbins assists companies in most phases of the import/export business including the application for OTI licenses with the FMC. Please call us at: 954/946-8130 or contact us by submitting the form below to set up a free consultation.