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Federal Certification

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

DBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

ACDBE – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise for concessionaires located at airports

SBE - Small Business Enterprise

Why apply for federal certification?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) distributes federal funds to finance state, local, public transit, 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.

How do I know if I qualify for certification?

For all certifications, the business must be:

For all certifications, the business owner(s) must:

  • Own at least 51% of the business and show contribution of capital and expertise.
  • Control the managerial and day-to-day operations.
  • 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, not including a person's primary residence or an applicant business. There are other guidelines, please call our office for more information.

For all certifications, except SBE, 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 click here 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 online 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 2 to 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 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. Be responsive to additional information requests. Check your email for correspondence.
  2. 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.
  3. We recommend you keep a copy of your application packet and supporting documentation for your records.
  4. If in doubt, call us (360) 664-9750. You may also send an email to  The most common delays occur because of an incomplete application or response to an additional information request. We are here to help you!

Start your Federal Certification