DBE Certification Eligibility

To be certified as a DBE, a firm must meet the eligibility requirements of 49 CFR Part 26. For more information on DBE eligibility requirements, please refer to the USDOT DBE website.

DBE Application Process

For-Profit Status

Only a for-profit business may apply for certification; non-profits are not eligible to apply.

Business Size

To be eligible for DBE certification the firm's average annual gross receipts may not exceed the size standard of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) (See 13 CFR part 121) for the NAICS codes in which the firm performs work. Additionally, the average annual gross receipts cannot exceed the DBE program cap of  $30.72 million. The receipts of the applicant and all affiliates are included in determining the size of the firm.

Social and Economic Disadvantage

A firm must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Women, Black Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, and other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the SBA are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Firms owned by individuals who are not members of one of the above presumptive groups may also apply for certification. Those individuals must make an individual showing of disadvantage pursuant to Appendix C of 49 CFR Part 26. Each individual whose ownership and control is relied upon for DBE certification must have a personal net worth that does not exceed $1.32 million. The individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm and equity in their primary residence are not included in the net worth calculation.


The ownership of the disadvantaged individuals must be real, substantial and continuing.  Additionally, the contributions of capital and expertise by the socially and economically disadvantaged owners to acquire their ownership interests must be real and substantial and derived from individual assets.


Only an independent business may be certified as a DBE. An independent business is one whose viability does not depend on another firm or firms. The firm must possess the resources (equipment, personnel, licenses, financial, bonding, etc.) necessary for the work it seeks to perform as a DBE. The disadvantaged owners must possess the formal power to control the business and its day-to-day operations. The disadvantaged owners must have managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to the type of business in which the firm is engaged. If state or local law requires an individual to have a particular license or credential in order to control a firm, the disadvantaged owner must possess the required license or credential.

Out of State Applicants