Information for Applicants
Federal Identification Number/Social Security Number (SSN) or (FEID)
The law requires all partnership entities to provide their Federal Employer Identification Number and all applicants to provide their Social Security Number to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) when applying for a license.
If you are applying for a partnership license, provide the Federal Employer Identification Number assigned to the partnership by the Internal Revenue Service. ALL applicants must provide their Social Security Number on the application. Those Social Security Numbers are used exclusively for tax enforcement purposes, for purposes of compliance with any judgment or order for family support in accordance with Section 11350.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or for verification of licensure or examination status by a licensing or examination entity which utilizes a national examination and where licensure is reciprocal with the requesting state. If you fail to provide any of the information requested above, your application for a contractor's license will be returned to you for correction. The CSLB is prohibited from processing an application unless the FEIN or SSN’s are provided. In addition, the CSLB shall report to the Franchise Tax Board those applicants failing to disclose the information requested. The Franchise Tax Board may assess a $100.00 (or more) penalty against you.
The CSLB is authorized to request this information pursuant to Section 30 of the Business and Professions Code and Public Law 94-455 (42 USCA (c) (2) (C)).
Workers' Compensation Requirements
Section 7125.1 of the Business and Professions Code requires all contractors to have Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage as a condition precedent to the issuance of a license unless they are exempt from this requirement. A certificate issued by one or more insurers duly licensed to write compensation insurance in this state or a certification of self-insurance of workers' compensation secured from the Director of Industrial Relations will be required.
Contractors who do not have employees working for them are exempt from the Workers' Compensation Insurance requirement, but they will be required to file an exemption certificate (Form 13L-50) with the Registrar.
Section 11350.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code authorizes district attorneys to notify the State Department of Social Services when there is noncompliance with a family support order or judgment issued by a court of this state. The code requires the State Department of Social Services to compile this information and distribute it to the specified state agencies, (which includes the CSLB). The licensing agencies may be precluded from issuing a license, certificate, or registration to a person on the list until the person obtains a release from the district attorney.
Asbestos Open-Book Examination
Section 7058.5 of the Business and Professions Code requires that the CSLB provide to all applicants, with the request for bond and fee form, a booklet containing information on the handling and disposal of asbestos. The booklet includes an open-book examination concerning asbestos-related work. All Applicants for a contractor's license shall complete and sign the open-book examination and submit it to the CSLB with the required bond and fee form. Completion of the asbestos open-book examination does not entitle you to perform asbestos-related work. Any contractor performing asbestos-related work must apply for the Asbestos Certification (Form 13A-25) and pass the required closed-book examination.
Examination Credits for Additional Experience
Board Rule 829 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations authorizes the Registrar of Contractors to add credit for experience to the examination score when an applicant has failed to pass the TRADE examination.In order to be considered for this credit, the applicant must clearly detail ALL construction experience in the classification applied for beyond the minimum requirement of 4 years within the past ten years. The experience must be clearly listed on the application and properly verified by certificates in support of the applicant's experience when the application is submitted for processing.
PLEASE NOTE: Once the application is accepted, additional experience CANNOT be submitted. The Registrar may grant credit at the rate of one-half (1/2) percentage point for each year of experience, commencing with and including the fifth year, and ending with and including the fourteenth year of experience. This means that the maximum credit for experience that can be added to the TRADE examination score is five percentage points. Credit for experience cannot be applied to the Law and Business examination or the Asbestos Abatement or Hazardous Substance Certification examinations.
Waiver of Examination for Additional Class for Existing License
Section 7065.3 of the Business and Professions Code provides that an examination may be waived for an additional classification under very strict and limited situations. The applicant must: (1) have been listed on a license, active and in good standing for 5 of the last 7 years; (2) have had 4 years experience (at the journeyman level or above) within the last 10 years doing work in the additional classification requested. For a specialty contractor, the requested specialty classification must be closely related to the classification or classifications held. For a general contractor (A or B), the requested specialty classification must be a significant component of the applicant's general construction contracting business. Contractors licensed solely in the C-61 classification may not apply for this waiver. There are no specific provisions for the waiver of an "All or "B" examination for a specialty contractor.
Construction Management Education Sponsorship Act Of 1991
Article 8.5, commencing with section 7139, of the Business and Professions Code (Contractors License Law) established the Construction Management Education Sponsorship Act of 1991. This act established a grant program for qualified public post-secondary educational institutions that have courses of study in construction management. An applicant/licensee may voluntarily contribute twenty-five dollars ($25) or more to the Construction Management Education account at the time the initial license fee or renewal fee is paid. If you wish to contribute to the Construction Management Education Account, please submit a separate check or money order payable to the CSLB/Construction Management Education Account. This is a voluntary contribution.
The Contractors State License Board requires fingerprints from all new exam applicants. The fingerprints are used to conduct a criminal background check with the Department of Justice and the FBI.
To reflect these changes be sure your application is not outdated. Applications received after January 1, 2005 cannot be accepted for processing in not current and will be returned to the applicant. For your convenience, we enclose a copy of the current Application for Original Contractor’s License in our Contactors Kits. All outdated applications should be destroyed and replaced with the revised application, which is also available on the CSLB website at www.cslb.ca.gov.
Upon receipt of an examination application by the CSLB, a fingerprint packet is sent to all personnel listed on the application, along with the letter of acknowledgment that contains the Application Fee Number. Each individual will receive his/her own Request for Live Scan Service Form, which must be taken to a Live Scan facility, where the applicants fingerprints will be digitally scanned. Each applicant must use the original Live Scan form sent to them directly from the CSLB; copies of this form are not accepted.
The background checks run concurrently with the licensing process. The CSLB will assign test dates even if the fingerprints have not been submitted, although the applicant should submit his/her fingerprints as soon as possible, since the license will not be issued if the background check is not complete.
It is important to note that having a criminal conviction does not automatically prevent an applicant from obtaining a license. The CSLB reviews each applicant’s history and makes a determination on a case-by-case basis. If an applicant does have a conviction, the license will be denied only if the crime is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the license. When considering the applicant’s history, the CSLB will also consider any evidence of rehabilitation.
What is Live Scan?
Live Scan is a system for the electronic submission of fingerprints and the subsequent automated background checks and responses. Use of a Live Scan machine involves placing individuals’ fingers on a glass scanning surface so a digital image can be scanned. The fingerprints are then stored in the machine’s electronic memory and are immediately transmitted to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for completion of the criminal conviction record review. Live Scan is much faster and more efficient than fingerprint cards, decreasing the response time by several weeks or months.
How do you obtain Live Scan services?
The person submitting the Request for Live Scan Service Form (BCll 8016)must complete the third section (applicant information) in its entirety and bring two copies of the completed form to the nearest Live Scan station to have his or her fingerprints submitted to the DOJ and FBI. The Live Scan operator will return one copy of the Live Scan form to you. You must retain this copy for the duration of the application process, should additional follow-up be required.
Live Scan services are available at most local police departments, sheriffs’ offices, or any public applicant Live Scan site. A listing of Live Scan locations is also available on the Internet at:
You will be required to pay the Live Scan operator the DOJ fingerprint processing fee ($30 or more) and the FBI fingerprint processing fee ($25 or more), as well as the Live Scan site fee. The fee set by each Live Scan site varies. The Board does not set the price.
What if Live Scan is not available to me?
Live Scan is available at most local police/sheriff departments within California. However, if you are located out of state and do not plan to come to California during the application process, you may contact the Board’s automated system at (800) 321-CSLB (2752) to request that fingerprint cards be sent to you. You must take the cards to a law enforcement agency to have your prints completed. Return the cards with the required processing fee of ($60 or more) to the Board for submission to DOJ and the FBI. The agency providing the service may also charge you a = fingerprinting fee. The processing time required for fingerprint cards is substantially longer, and may take three to six months or longer.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) no longer accepts applicant fingerprint impressions unless they are rolled by an individual certified by the California Department of Justice Fingerprint Rolling Certification Program. State law makes an exception to the mandatory certification requirement for law enforcement personnel.
Applying for License
Nearly half of all applications submitted to Contractors State License Board (CSLB) are incomplete and must be rejected!
You must complete your application COMPLETELY for it to be accepted by CSLB.
An incomplete application can needlessly delay receiving your license. Delays can last weeks or even months and possibly result in the application being voided and the application fee being forfeited.
Spending a few extra minutes now may save you weeks or months later!
Before you submit your application, follow these simple directions.
Sign the forms.
Fill out all applicable information.
Make sure you submit Certification of Work Experience forms that have been filled out completely, ensuring that you have documented four (4) years of applicable experience in the classification for which you are applying.
Carefully read the General Information section that immediately precedes the application package, and follow the specific instructions that are included throughout the application package to help ensure that your application is complete.
All applicants for licensure are required to submit a full set of fingerprints for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check. Fingerprints are compared to the records of the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether a criminal history exists. After submission of an application to CSLB, each individual listed on the application is sent instructions on the process for obtaining and submitting fingerprints. For more information, please visit CSLB's website at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/About_US/FAQS/Fingerprint_Q_And_A.aspx
This general information can assist you as you complete the attached application. Detailed instructions are provided throughout the application package. Please refer to the CSLB publication Blueprint for Becoming a Licensed Contractor for more detailed information about the licensing process. To receive a copy of this publication, contact CSLB or visit CSLB’s website at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/BlueprintForGettingLicensed.pdf
Before you submit your application, review and check off the following items.
Enclose the non-refundable $300 application fee with your completed application. CSLB will not process your application without the fee made payable to the Registrar of Contractors. (The $180 initial license fee will be submitted separately after you pass the examination.)
Your application may be returned if it is insufficient or incomplete. You must provide any missing information, make corrections, and resubmit your completed application to CSLB within 90 days after the date that it was returned to you, or your application will become void. You cannot reinstate a void application – you must submit a new application and $300 application fee if you wish to pursue licensure.
Complete the application and all accompanying forms legibly in black or dark blue ink or with a typewriter. Forms completed in pencil will be returned to you. Please make sure that you and other appropriate individuals sign and date the forms where applicable.
Full legal names of all personnel are required. If an individual does not have a middle name, write, “None” or “No middle name” in the space provided. If an individual has only an initial for his or her first or middle name, write “(Initial only)” after the initial.
Leave no blank spaces. If a particular question or request for information does not apply to you, put “na” in the blank space to indicate that the question has received your attention but that it is not applicable.
You must provide a street address for both your business and residence. P.O. Boxes are not acceptable for the street address.
You must complete the personal information requested in Section 4 on page 2 of the application for each individual who will be listed on the license. U.S. Social Security numbers are required for all applicants (see page 4 of this General Information section for information on the collection of Social Security numbers).
Note: the symbol “#” is used interchangeably with the word “number” where space is limited in the application. The terms “qualifying individual” and “qualifier” are used interchangeably. The qualifying individual is the person who meets the experience and examination requirements for the license and who is responsible for the employer’s or principal. A qualifying individual is required for every classification on every license issued by CSLB. The qualifying individual may or may not be the owner of the business. (See Contractor’s License Law & Reference Book, Chapter 1, or Blueprint for Becoming a Licensed Contractor, Questions 49-53)
If you need additional copies of forms (such as Certification of Work Experience, Section 4 – Personnel Full Legal Names and Addresses), make copies of the blank forms before you begin or visit CSLB’s website (www.cslb.ca.gov) to print additional copies.
Please be aware that CSLB does not license Limited Liability Companies.
EXAMINATION ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
The qualifying individual for a contractor’s license is required to pass the written Law and Business Examination and a specific trade examination, if required, unless he or she meets the requirements for a waiver (see next page for information regarding examination waivers).
To be eligible to take an examination, the qualifying individual must have had, within the last 10 years, at least four (4) full years of experience in the classification for which he or she is applying. The experience must be at no less than a journeyman level, or as a foreman, supervisor, contractor, or owner/builder. A “journeyman” is defined as an experienced worker who is fully qualified (as opposed to a trainee, helper, laborer, assistant, apprentice, etc.) and is able to perform the trade without supervision; or a person who has completed an apprenticeship program. Experience is documented on the Certification of Work Experience form (see below).
CSLB may grant up to three years of credit toward the four-year requirement for completed education and/or apprenticeship programs. Education/apprenticeship is documented in Section 6 of the application.
CERTIFICATION OF WORK EXPERIENCE FORM
The Certification of Work Experience form must be completed by the qualifier and certified by a person who has direct knowledge of the experience and work period listed. The experience must be verifiable through payroll records or similar documents.
To assist you in completing Part 1 of the Certification of Work Experience form, the Description of Classifications document is available on the CSLB’s website. This document may be used as a reference only - do not copy directly from the document when listing the specific trade duties you have performed or supervised in the classification for which you are applying.
The Certification of Work Experience form may not be required if the qualifier:
Has ever served as the qualifier on a license in the same classification for which he or she is applying; or
Has passed both the Law and Business Examination and the trade exam for the same classification within the last five years.
Acceptable Forms of Experience Documentation
Applicants are not required by law to submit any of the documents listed below; however, failing to submit pertinent documents may significantly delay the investigation and may result in a denial of your contractor’s license application. In addition, you may be required to provide additional proof of experience from other contractors in the same trade classification. The CSLB will usually ask for further documentation before rejecting the application outright; however, each application is unique, and the State may have other reasons for rejecting a specific student that that we might not have considered.
STATE OR FEDERAL INCOME TAX FORMS that show income from construction activities: These include W2 forms from an Employer; 1099 forms from a Contractor; Schedule C forms for Self Employed Individuals, etc., and must cover the required time span of the investigation. These are often the most useful documents to the investigator for determining the total time in the trade(s). Additional verification of type and level of experience may be required.
PERMITS (city and/or county building departments): If the permit was issued to you, provide the permit along with a statement detailing the work you performed on the permit. If the permit was issued to someone other than you, submit the permit and a letter or certificate from the person that was issued the permit. The letter or certificate must show what work you performed in relation to that building permit.
CONTRACTS: If the work performed was related to the classification being applied for copies of contracts you have entered into and performed will be considered..
PAYCHECK STUBS from employers
APPRENTICESHIP CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION
UNION JOURNEYMAN BOOK or letter from the union
OFFICIAL COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS
CANCELED CHECKS: Copies of both sides of canceled checks from jobs you have performed may be submitted for consideration. The checks must be accompanied by a letter or certificate from the person who paid the check and must state what services were performed.
COPIES OF DEEDS, PROOFS OF SALE AND PERMITS may be submitted if you are claiming credit for work done on your properties. Include a statement that notes the dates of the projects and details the work that was done on the property.
ITEMIZED BILLS AND INVOICES for work performed
MATERIAL RECEIPTS: Material receipts submitted for consideration must be accompanied by letters or certificates from the individuals for whom you performed the work and applied the materials.
DD-214 (Discharge papers from the service): if your service duties were construction related
NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OF EXPERIENCE FOR OUT-OF-STATE EXPERIENCE
NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OR LETTER FOR OUT-OF-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE
All of the documents mentioned above are subject to verification. This does not limit you from producing any other documents you may wish to include. In addition, the Registrar may request documentation other than that listed above.
If you are required to retake an examination, you have 18 months after the approval of your application in which to achieve a passing grade on the exam (subject to some limitations). During that period, you may take the exam an unlimited number of times. A $50 fee is required each time you reschedule an exam. (See Business and Professions Code Section 7074 for more detailed information on re-examinations.)
TRANSLATOR FOR EXAMINATION
If you have difficulty understanding or reading the English language, CSLB may allow you to use a translator to read the examination for you. The translator you choose must be approved in advance by CSLB. If you would like to use an interpreter during your examination, please check the box near the bottom of Section 3 on page 1 of the application and information will be sent to you regarding the process.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS –AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), CSLB provides reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities that may affect their ability take the required examinations. Applicants wishing to request reasonable accommodations pursuant to the ADA must complete the Special Accommodation Request for Examination Form (available on CSLB’s website at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/FormsAndApplications/SpecialAccommodationRequestForExamination.pdf and submit it to CSLB with the appropriate supporting documentation. In order to make the necessary arrangements to accommodate candidate needs, the form and supporting documentation should be submitted as soon as possible.
Corporations must be registered with the Secretary of State and in good standing prior to being issued a contractor’s license. The Secretary of State can be reached by calling (916) 653-2318 or by visiting their website at www.ss.ca.gov. Corporations must provide a current and active registration number on the application. All corporations must also provide the name(s) of their corporate officer(s): domestic corporations – president, secretary, and treasurer; foreign corporations – president only. Write these titles in the space provided for the appropriate personnel in Sections 3 and 4.
Partnerships must list their Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), which is available from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS can be reached by calling (800) 829-1040. Personal Social Security numbers are not acceptable for the FEIN.
The examination is waived if the qualifying individual is currently engaged in the construction business, or has actively been engaged in the last five years, and meets specific waiver requirements as mandated by law. (See Business and Professions [B&P] Code Sections 7065.1-7065.4)
If you are applying for a waiver of the examination, complete the Application for Original Contractor’s License – Examination Waiver (7065).
A Limited Partner is responsible for the business only in proportion to the amount of his or her financial interest; however, he or she does not participate in the daily operation of the business. If a member of the personnel is listed on the application as a Limited Partner, he or she cannot, in the future, be granted a waiver of the examination or a license continuance.
Listed below are the contractor license classifications. For a complete description of the classifications, refer to the Description of Classifications document available on CSLB’s website
Limited Specialty (see below)
Lock and Security Equipment
Boiler, Hot Water Heating, and Steam
Low Voltage Systems
Building Moving and Demolition
Cabinet, Millwork, Finish Carpentry
Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Painting and Decorating
Parking and Highway Improvement
Construction Zone Traffic Control
Earthwork and Paving
Flooring and Floor Covering
Framing and Rough Carpentry
General Manufactured Housing
Warm-Air Heat, Vents, & Air Conditioning
Insulation and Acoustical
Lathing and Plastering
The C-61 Limited Specialty classification is for contractors who specialize in work not listed above (for example, D-50 Suspended Ceilings) or who perform work that is a specialized part of an existing classification (for example, D-29 Paper Hanging). The Description of Classifications document contains a full listing of the subcategories of the C-61 classification.
BOND AND INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
Refer to CSLB’s website (including Blueprint for Becoming a Licensed Contractor) for information on the bond and insurance requirements for licensure. For more detailed information on bonds, refer to A Guide to Contractor License Bonds, which can be viewed on CSLB’s website.
REISSUANCE OR REASSIGNMENT OF LICENSE
If the qualifier has previously been licensed, it may be possible to have the previous license number reissued or reassigned. (See B&P Code Section 7075.1 & Form 13A-1h)
CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT EDUCATION ACCOUNT
A grant program was established in 1991 to provide funds for qualified public post-secondary schools that teach construction management. Applicants may voluntarily contribute to the account when paying the application fee or the license renewal fee. If you would like to make a voluntary contribution, please submit a separate check or money order made payable to CSLB/Construction Management Education Account, mark the box on the top portion of page 1 of the application, and write in the dollar amount in the space provided. (See B&P Code Section 7139, Article 8.5)
NOTICE ON COLLECTION OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
With the exception of the driver license numbers, all information requested on the application is mandatory, including disclosure of Social Security numbers (SSN). Collection of the SSN is authorized by B&P Code Section 30 and Public Law 94- 455 (42 U.S.C.A. 405(c) (2) (C)). SSNs are used exclusively for the purpose of tax enforcement and/or compliance with any judgment or order for family support in accordance with Family Code Section 17520. If you fail to disclose your SSN, you will be reported to the Franchise Tax Board, and they may assess a $100 (or more) penalty against you. The official responsible for the maintenance of this information is the Registrar of Contractors, Contractors State License Board. The information may be transferred to other state or government agencies. Individuals have the right to review files or records about them maintained by the agency unless the records are identified as confidential information and exempted from the Information Practices Act, Section 1798.3.
NOTICE ON COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
When CSLB receives your application, an acknowledgement letter is sent to you that explains how to check the status of your application online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752) using the Application Fee Number that is provided in the acknowledgement letter. The mailing will also contain instructions for obtaining and submitting fingerprints as required by law. Please include your Application Fee Number in any correspondence.