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Eligibility Requirements for Small Business Contractors

To be eligible for a surety bond guarantee:

  • Your business must be classified as small. The business combined with its affiliates must not exceed the size standard designated for the primary industry of the business together with its affiliates. Use the Size Standards tool to determine if your business is classified as small.
  • You must need an SBA guarantee to obtain a bond.
  • The size of the public or private contract or subcontract must not exceed $6.5 million or $10 million if a Federal contracting officer certifies that SBA’s guarantee is necessary to obtain bonding
  • Your business must satisfy credit, capacity and character evaluations completed by the surety company or an agency representing the surety company. 
  • There must be a reasonable expectation of successful contract performance.
  • The contract must require a bond.

How to Apply for a Surety Bond

  1. To apply for a surety bond, you must first choose a surety company or bonding agent who represents a participating surety company. View a list of participating Prior Approval Surety Companies, Preferred Surety Companies and Agents.
  2. You must then complete the surety’s application and provide the necessary credit, capacity, and character information. The surety or agent will underwrite the application and decide whether to issue the bond, and whether an SBA guarantee is required.

Prior Approval Program: If the surety company requires an SBA guarantee as a condition of issuing the bond, you can submit applications by paper or online through the E-App system. The SBA forms listed below must be printed and signed even if you are applying online.

About the E-App System

The online surety bond application system, or E-App, will automatically prompt you to print, sign and mail the required forms to your surety company or agent. Follow the steps below to use E-App.

  1. To access E-App, you must register for an account in the SBA’s General Login System (GLS), which is the login point for all SBA services. After you have completed and submitted the information on the Login Information screen, you will be emailed your ID and a default password.
  2. The first time you log into the SBA General Login System – “Choose Function” screen using the default password, the Change Password screen will appear. Use this screen to select a permanent user password of your choice.
  3. On the General Login System – Choose Function screen, select “Surety Bond Guarantee Applications,” and follow the instructions on the screen to complete and submit your first application.

For more information on how to apply online, view the contractor’s user’s manual or application training tutorial. You can also call SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees in Washington, D.C. at (202) 205-6540 or 800-877-8339.

Related Forms:

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Preferred Program

Follow the steps below to apply for the Preferred Program.

  1. To apply for any SBA surety bond guarantee, you must first choose a surety company in the Preferred Program. Find a surety company participating in the Preferred Program.
  2. The application process under the Preferred Program is paper only. You can contact the Preferred Program surety that you select to discuss application requirements. The surety will underwrite the application and decide whether to execute the bond and whether an SBA guarantee is required.
  3. Complete the required forms below and mail them to the Preferred surety company: