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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 469 668 3175 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.
early 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.
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
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
Before you submit your application, review and check off the following items.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabiliti1es 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 469 668 3175. 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
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.
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.
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)
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
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 469 668 3175 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.