DBE/ACDBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

Why apply for federal DBE certification?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) distributes federal funds to finance transportation projects initiated by state and local governments, public transit authorities, and airport entities.  Recipients of federal funds must set an overall goal for DBE participation and monitor results to foster non-discriminatory environments and ensure that DBE’s have equal opportunity to compete fairly.

Becoming certified allows recipients of federal funds to identify your firm as a certified business and keep track of how they are doing toward their DBE goals.

How do I know if I qualify for certification?

The questions in this application and the documents we ask for are to verify the following requirements in federal rules and regulations. Please call us if you have any questions about these qualifications.

The business must be:

  • For-profit
  • A small business based on U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards, which is measured in two ways:

The eligible owner(s) must:

  • Be a minority or woman. “Minority” is defined as Black American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian-Pacific American, and Subcontinent Asian American. Other individuals may be found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis, please call for more information. Definitions are listed in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations .
  • Own at least 51% of the business and show contribution of capital and expertise.
  • Control the managerial and day-to-day operations and possess the power to direct the management and policies of the business.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident.
  • Have a personal net worth less than $1.32 Million.

How long will the application process take? 

An OMWBE analyst will review your application and will contact you within 30 days.  The analyst will likely email you with questions and request additional documentation.

It currently takes approximately 90 days to process your application once we receive all of the required documents. Please call us if you have any questions when filling out your application or when you receive a request for additional information.

Is there a Fee?

Yes, the application fee is $25.00 and then $20.00 per year to process the firm’s annual update.

Application tips

  1. Submit a complete application and all required documents in the application checklist.
  2. Do not leave any area of the application blank. If an area does not apply to your business, indicate “N/A” with a brief explanation.
  3. If in doubt, call us. The most common delays occur because of an incomplete application or response to an additional information request.  We are here to help you!
  4. Be responsive to additional information requests. Check your email for correspondence.
  5. Be specific when writing your proposed business description. Procurement officials and prime contractors search our online directory for key words related to the goods and services they want to purchase. You can look at OMWBE’s online directory for examples: http://omwbe.wa.gov/directory
  6. We recommend you keep a copy of your application packet and supporting documentation for your records



To download the application either use the download button or use right click and select “save as”.