Business Resources & Programs

Unified Certification Program

For individuals with Limited English Proficiency and sensory disabilities, this information is available in various languages, Braille, large print, on audio-cassette, or computer disk. To obtain a copy in one of these alternate formats, please call or write to the California Department of Transportation, Office of Business & Economic Opportunity - MS #79, 1823 14th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 324-1700, FAX (916) 324-1949.

California Unified Certification Program (UCP)

General Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Information

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), through its operating administrations which include Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, distributes in excess of $20 billion annually throughout the nation to help finance thousands of projects across the country. Although a major portion of the funds is allocated for highway construction, funds are also provided to local public transit authorities, including the District, for mass transit projects. The DOT DBE Program provides a vehicle for increasing the participation by disadvantaged businesses in these procurements.

The main objectives of the DBE Program are:

    * To ensure that small DBE firms can compete fairly for federally funded transportation-related projects.

    * To ensure that only eligible firms participate as a DBE firm.

    *To assist DBE firms in competing outside of the DBE Program.

In order for small disadvantaged firms, including those owned by minorities and women, to participate as a DBE in DOT-assisted contracts, they must apply for and receive certification as a DBE. For the state of California, DBE certification is performed by the certifying agencies of the California Unified Certification Program (CUCP).

For additional information about the DBE Program, please visit the U.S. D.O.T., Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

General Criteria for Certification as a DBE

   1. The firm must be an existing for-profit "Small Business Concern ", as defined pursuant to Section 3 of the Small Business Act and Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations implementing it (13 CFR Part 121). Further, the average annual gross receipts for the firm (including its affiliates) over the previous three fiscal years shall not exceed the cap of $23.98 million, as adjusted for inflation by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

   2. The firm must be at least 51% owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. In the case of a corporation, such individuals must own at least 51% of each class of voting stock outstanding and 51% of the aggregate of all stock outstanding. In the case of a partnership, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals must own 51% of each class of partnership interest. In the case of a limited liability company, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals must own at least 51% of each class of member interest.

   3. The firm's ownership by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals must be real, substantial and continuing, going beyond pro forma ownership of the firm.

   4. The firm must be an independent business, and one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it must control its management and daily operations.

   5. The firm must be owned and controlled by individuals, each of whose personal net worth does not exceed $1,320,000, excluding an individual 's ownership interest in the applicant firm and the individual 's equity in his or her personal, primary residence. "Personal Net Worth " means the net value of the assets of an individual remaining after total liabilities are deducted. A "Personal Net Worth Statement " is included in the DBE Certification application.

   6. "Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individual" means any individual who is a citizen of the United States (or lawfully admitted permanent resident) and who is:

         1. Any individual found to be socially and economically disadvantaged, on a case-by-case basis, by a certifying agency of the CUCP, pursuant to standards of the U.S. D.O.T. in 49 CFR Part 26, Subpart D-Certification Standards.

         2. Any individual in the following groups, members of which are reputably presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged:

               1. "Black Americans" which includes persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa;

               2."Hispanic Americans" which includes persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race;

               3. "Native Americans" which includes persons who are American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians;

               4. "Asian-Pacific Americans" which includes persons whose origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Samoa, Guam, the U. S. Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kirbati, Juvalu, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, or Hong Kong;

               5.   "Subcontinent Asian Americans" which includes persons whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, Nepal or Sri Lanka;

               6. Women; and

               7.   Any additional groups whose members are designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the SBA, at such time as the SBA designation becomes effective.

If your company satisfies all the above criteria, you may be interested in applying for DBE certification status.


Out of State Applicants

Your firm must be certified by the UCP in your state in which you maintain your principal place of business. If your firm is certified in your home state:

1. You must provide to California UCP a complete copy of the application form, all supporting documents, and any other information you have submitted to your Home State or any other state related to your firm's certification. This includes affidavits of no change (see §26.83(j)) and any notices of changes (see §26.83(i)) that you have submitted to your Home State, as well as any correspondence you have had with your Home State’s UCP or any other recipient concerning your application or status as a DBE firm.

2. You must also provide to California UCP any notices or correspondence from states other than your Home State relating to your status as an applicant or certified DBE in those states. For example, if you have been denied certification or decertified in a different State, or subject to a decertification action there, you must inform California UCP of this fact and provide all documentation concerning this action to California UCP.

3. If you have filed a certification appeal with DOT (see §26.89), you must inform State B of the fact and provide your letter of appeal and DOT's response to California UCP.

4. You must submit an affidavit sworn to by the firm's owners before a person who is authorized by State law to administer oaths or an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.


Click here for the current list of Certifying Agencies