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Applying for a License
Contractors License and Performance Bonds
Applying for a License

15. How do I apply for a contractor's license?

You must complete the following steps:

red button Obtain an Application for Original Contractor's License from any office of the Contractors State License Board, by telephone from the CSLB's 24-hour automated public information line, (800) 321-CSLB (2752), or via the CSLB Web site,;
red button Take the time to read and follow carefully the instructions attached to the application. All experience and certifications in support of experience must be submitted with the application. No additional experience verification will be accepted after the application has been accepted;
red button Complete the application and all accompanying forms in ink or with a typewriter. Forms completed in pencil will be returned to you. Make sure you sign and date the application; and
red button Proofread your application for any omissions. If the Board has to return the application to you for any missing information, your license will be delayed.
  PLEASE NOTE: Applicants with a disability requiring special testing accommodations must complete Form 13E-77, Special Accommodation Request For Examination.

You may apply for only one license classification at a time if you are required to pass an exam. After your original license is issued, you may apply for additional classifications.

If you are required to take the examination, complete the following steps:

red button Submit the application, the application processing fee ($250), and all required documents to:

Contractors State License Board, P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826

Be certain to include your return address on the envelope.
red button Do not submit any bonds or the initial license fee with your application. Upon successful completion of your examination, you will be instructed to submit the required documents and initial license fee.

You must submit ALL required documents together to avoid delays-your license will not be issued until all requirements have been met.

If you are NOT required to take an examination for any classification for which you are applying, you must:

red button Submit an application and $400 ($250 application processing fee and $150 initial license fee) plus $50 for each additional classification applied for;
red button Submit a Contractor's Bond or equivalent in the business name of the applicant, and a Bond of Qualifying Individual or exemption statement for each Responsible Managing Officer or Responsible Managing Employee as appropriate. The Bond of Qualifying Individual must be in the names of the qualifying individuals and the business; and
red button Submit proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or, if you have no employees, an exemption certificate (Form 13L-50). NOTE: If the license is qualified by a Responsible Managing Employee, the qualifier is an employee and Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required.

If you are applying for an inactive license, you must:

red button Submit an application, the appropriate application processing fee, and the initial license fee. The same fees are required for inactive licenses as for active licenses. NOTE: Bonds and Workers' Compensation Insurance are NOT required for an inactive license.

Online Information for Applicants

For online information about applying for a contractor's license, go to Topics include:

red button How to order forms and applications
red button How to study for license exams
red button Check on the status of your application
red button CSLB processing times
red button Check the status of a contractor's license
red button Check the status of a home improvement salesperson's registration

16. Will the CSLB acknowledge receipt of my application?

The CSLB will send you a letter of acknowledgment. This letter will contain two important numbers: a nine-digit Application Fee Number and a four-digit Personal Identification (PIN) Number, together with instructions on how to use these numbers to check on the progress of your application.

Your Application Fee Number, also known as your "receipt number," will also appear on the front of your canceled check, on the Notice to Appear for Examination and on a request for you to submit the appropriate documents and initial license fee. Please retain a record of this number, and use it in all inquiries regarding your pending application.

Enclosed with this notice is a Request for Live Scan Service Form (BCII 8016) for each person listed on the application. The person submitting the form must complete the third section (applicant information) in its entirety and take two copies of the completed form to the nearest Live Scan station to have his or her fingerprints submitted to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Live Scan operator will return one copy of the Live Scan form to you. You must keep this copy for the duration of the application process should additional follow-up be required.

A listing of Live Scan locations is available on the Internet.

17. How long does it take to complete the license application process?

Because there are many factors that affect the time it takes to process an application (type of application, workload, vacancies, etc.), processing times continually change. By using your PIN (Personal Identification Number) and your Application Fee Number to do an Application Status Check, you can get information on what date the Board is currently working on in regard to your specific type of application. This information is updated weekly and will give you a good idea of when your application will be pulled for processing.

If no exam is required and all license requirements are met, a license can be issued shortly after being pulled for processing. If an exam is required, you will be given an exam date after the application is processed and considered acceptable (no corrections or additional information is required). Additional time to complete the processing of your application is required after you pass the exam. Your license will not be issued until all requirements have been met.

18. How will I know if my application is approved?

After your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive either a Notice to Appear for Examination, or, if the examination is waived, a request for documents and the initial license fee. Some applications are sent for investigation and, even though you may take and pass the exam, the license will not be issued until the application has been approved and all licensing requirements have been met. Applications which require no examination can be submitted with the Contractors Bond, Bond of Qualifying Individual (if required), proof of Workers' Compensation Insurance, and applicable fees.

19. How can I check on the status of my application?

To check on the status of your application, visit CSLB's Web site,, or call the toll-free automated information line, (800) 321-CSLB (2752). (see Question 16)

20. What happens if my application is not approved?

Your application may be returned to you if it is insufficient or incomplete. You must provide any missing information, make corrections, and resubmit your application within 90 days from the date it was returned. If you do not resubmit your application to the CSLB within 90 days, it becomes void. You cannot reinstate it, and you must submit a new application and processing fee if you wish to pursue a license.

21. If my application is not approved, can you refund my application fee?

No. The fee is for processing the application, whether or not the application is approved. Since each application is filed for processing as soon as it arrives at the CSLB, the fee cannot be refunded.

22. How do I apply for a joint venture license?

A joint venture license is one that is issued to two or more licensees together (sole owners, partnerships, corporations or other joint ventures) whose licenses are current and active. A joint venture license may be issued in any or all of the classifications in which the members of the joint venture are licensed.

To apply for a joint venture license, you may submit your application to the CSLB headquarters office. The following requirements must be met:

red button Each of the licensees participating in the joint venture must show its exact business name and license number as it appears in the records of the CSLB;
red button One of the official personnel listed on the CSLB's records for each participating licensee (the owner, a partner or an officer of the corporation, but not a Responsible Managing Employee) must sign the application;
red button Submit the required application filing fee and the initial license fee;
red button Submit the appropriate Contractor's Bond or cash deposit in the amount of $10,000. The bond or cash deposit must bear the same business name as the pending joint venture. Send the original bond; a copy is not acceptable; and
red button Submit a Workers’ Compensation Certificate of Insurance if the joint venture is hiring employees, or an exemption form if no employees are being hired.

No examination or public posting is required.

23. When does a joint venture license expire?

The joint venture license will expire two years from the last day of the month in which the license was issued. Each license included in the joint venture must be current and active before the joint venture license can be renewed in active status.

24. What is cause for suspension of a joint venture license?

If any of the member licenses ceases to be current and active or is suspended for any reason, the joint venture license will be suspended.


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