Jump to Main Content

Applying for the HUBZone Program

HUBZone Certification Eligibility Requirements

 To qualify for the program, a business (except tribally-owned concerns) must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be a small business for its primary NAICS code. Find out if your business is small with the SBA Size Standards Tool.
  • It must meet one of the following ownership and control requirements:
    • Owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens
    • Wholly owned or owned in part by one or more Indian Tribal Governments or by a corporation that is wholly owned by one or more Indian Tribal Governments
    • An ANC owned and controlled by Natives or a direct or indirect subsidiary corporation, joint venture, or partnership of an ANC
    • Wholly owned or owned in part by a CDC
    • A small agricultural cooperative or a small business concern wholly owned or owned in party by one or more small agricultural cooperatives
  • Except for certain concerns owned by Indian Tribal Governments, all other small businesses must have a principal office located in a qualified HUBZone.
  • At least 35% of all of its employees must reside in a HUBZone. Reside means to live in a primary residence at a place for at least 180 days, or as a currently registered voter, and with intent to live there indefinitely.

Firms that are owned in whole or in part by Indian Tribal Governments or corporations wholly owned by Indian tribal Governments, at the time of application must either:

  • Maintain a principal office located in a HUBZone and ensure that at least 35% of its employees reside in a HUBZone; or
  • Certify that when performing a HUBZone contract, at least 35% of its employees engaged in performing that contract will reside within any Indian reservation governed by one or more of the Indian Tribal Government owners, or reside within any HUBZone adjoining such Indian reservation. A HUBZone and Indian reservation are adjoining when the two areas are next to and in contact with each other; and the concern will “attempt to maintain” the applicable employment percentage stated above during the performance of any HUBZone contract it receives.

The HUBZone office has a 35% and principal office calculator that you can use to guide you in determining whether you meet these requirements. Before you use it, review the Certification FAQ.

The Application Process

Before You Begin

  1. Review the HUBZone Primer (transcript), Certification FAQ, and the application guide which can help you prepare to submit the online application.
  2. There are several important registrations that must be completed before you can start the electronic application process:
    1. DUN & BRADSTREET(link is external): Each headquarters and branch office must be registered so that it will have its own D&B ID number known as a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS).
    2. System for Award Management (SAM): The firm’s Employer’s Identification Number/Tax Identification Number (EIN/TIN) must be registered. (NOTE- the principal office address that is applying for HUBZone certification must be entered in the SAM profile associated with DUNS appropriate for this specific physical location.).  You must register in your legal name.
    3. Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS), aka, SBA’s supplemental page: DSBS profiles will reflect each firm’s certification status. At a minimum, you must update your profiles (SAM and DSBS page) every year.  However, you are also required to ensure that information contained in your profiles is up-to-date and accurate at all times. At the SAM Web site, simply update your SAM profile and SAM will update the DSBS profile. (NOTE: edit updated data transferred from SAM to DSBS usually takes up to 24 hours after you have updated the SAM profile.)
    4. SBA’s General Login System (GLS): you must complete registration in this system for each individual that can update information to for your concern. Once you have registered, then you must add the concern’s DUNS and EIN number(s) and then you can obtain access to the HUBZone application module.
  3. Review the list of supporting documentation you will need to submit to your Business Opportunity Specialist after submitting the online application. See the supporting documentation request for detailed descriptions of acceptable versions of these documents. We have also provided a checklist to make it easy for the firm to ensure it has collected all required documents. Please note that depending on the information submitted, SBA may request additional documents.

Application Process Steps

  1. Apply for the HUBZone Certification Online.
  2. After submitting the online application, you will receive an automated email instructing you to log into the General Login System (GLS).  These instructions outlines a time sensitive requirement.   Specifically, the firm has 10 business days to electronically verify the data it entered in its online HUBZone application.  After this verification is completed, the firm has an additional 10 business days to submit the supporting documentation.  The online application plus the uploading of all the supporting documentation in the list, constitute a completed application package.  If either of these steps are not completed within the timeframe provided, the application is withdrawn.   
  3. Check your email SPAM folder to make sure that you are receiving emails from SBA.

Review the Certification FAQ for additional information about the application process.