DBE/ACDBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

Thank you for your interest in federal certification. There are two types of federal certification through OMWBE:

DBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

ACDBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise for concessionaires located at airports

Why apply for federal certification?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) distributes federal funds to finance state, local, public transit authority, and airport transportation projects. Recipients of USDOT funds must set an overall goal for DBE participation and monitor results. Becoming certified allows these entities to identify your firm as a certified business and keep track of how they’re doing toward their 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. Please call us if you have any questions about these qualifications.

The business must be:

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. Definitions are listed in federal rule Title 49 C.F.R. 26.67 Electronic Code of Federal Regulations . Other individuals may be found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis, please call for more information.
  • 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.
  • Be economically disadvantaged. “Economically disadvantaged” is generally defined has having a personal net worth less than $1.32 million. There are other guidelines, please call our office for more information.

How long will the application process take? 

It takes about 90 days to process your certification application, depending on the complexity and completeness of your application. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Within a week of receiving your application, we will email you to let you know we have assigned your application to a certification analyst.
  2. An analyst will review your application and documents, and call you in about two weeks with questions and any needed additional information.
  3. After your analyst receives this additional information, it takes about 4 weeks to analyze your file.
  4. We will contact you to schedule an on-site visit at your business.
  5. Your analyst will conduct the on-site visit and finish processing your application.
  6. Your application then goes through the final review, which takes about 1 to 2 weeks.
  7. We will email you a letter once we have made a final decision on your certification.

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.
  3. Be responsive to additional information requests. Check your email for correspondence.
  4. 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-of-certified-firms
  5. We recommend you keep a copy of your application packet and supporting documentation for your records.
  6. 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!

Please include the non-refundable application fee of $25 and supporting documentation with your completed application and mail to:


P.O. Box 41160

Olympia, WA 98504-1160

If you have any questions, please call us at 360-664-9750 or 1-866-208-1064 or email us at receptionist@omwbe.wa.gov You can also visit our office for assistance:

1110 Capitol Way South Suite 150 Olympia, WA 98501

We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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