Operate as a surety partner or agent

SBA has made it easier for surety agents to quickly issue government-backed surety bonds. This new process saves time and paperwork.


Capital Access Financial System (CAFS)

CAFS is the single login point for all SBA financial services. Prior Approval sureties submit bond guarantee applications and claims for reimbursement to SBA and authorize agents to submit applications electronically through the E-app system, which is accessed through CAFS. Preferred sureties input issued bonds electronically into CAFS.

How to get a CAFS account

Agents must be authorized by a Prior Approval surety company to obligate the surety and issue bonds on its behalf. Follow these steps to get access to CAFS and the SBG Program’s eApplication.

  1. Contact each Prior Approval surety your agency wishes to represent through the program. Agents may authorize with multiple Prior Approval sureties.
  2. Provide the surety with the information they require to authorize your agency and each individual requesting access. Agencies applying for first-time access must designate at least one individual as the CAFS Authorizing Official for the agency.
  3. After your authorization has been submitted to SBA you’ll receive an email with instructions for creating your CAFS account.
  4. SBA security and OSG staff will guide you through the remainder of the process and advise when your access is complete.

Application process for Prior Approval program

After a Prior Approval surety completes the underwriting process and decides to issue a bond with SBA’s guarantee, it must submit an application on behalf of the small business to SBA. Sureties or their authorized agents must submit applications for surety bond guarantee assistance electronically through E-app.

Bond application required forms

The small business must submit the following SBA forms to the authorized surety agent:

The surety or agent must submit the following forms and documents to SBA via E-app in addition to the above:

When submitting an application through E-app, upload forms and documents related to the small business into the “Business Docs” module. Upload forms and documents pertaining to the surety bond guarantee number application into the “Bond Docs” module.

Reviewing an application

E-app will distribute the application to the appropriate area office for processing. After reviewing the application, the area office will either contact the surety agent with any questions or requests for additional information, or make its decision. E-app will then notify the surety agent of the area office’s decision via email.

Quick bond application for Prior Approval sureties

The Quick Bond Guarantee is for contracts valued at $500,000 or less, with some exclusions.

A Prior Approval surety or authorized agent applying for a Quick Bond Guarantee must submit the following forms and documents to SBA:

Application process for Preferred sureties

In the Preferred program, a surety doesn’t need SBA’s approval to issue a bond. However, the surety must receive the following SBA forms from the contractor:

The surety also must notify SBA electronically through CAFS of all bonds it issues within 30 days of issuance.

Bond guarantee fee

Surety companies pay SBA a fee in return for a surety bond guarantee. SBA charges the surety company 20 percent of the fee charged by the surety company to the small business.

Claims for reimbursement of losses

If a contractor defaults, SBA will reimburse a surety's losses. But, a surety must first submit the following forms and documents to SBA:

  • SBA Form 994H
  • Copy of the bond
  • The bonded contract
  • General Indemnity Agreement
  • Initial claims notification report and correspondence
  • Expense invoices

Requirements for the submission and retention of forms and documents are described in Title 13 Part 115.35 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

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Issue bonds with a government guarantee

Surety partners work with SBA to fulfill government-backed surety bonds to small businesses.
Last updated December 26, 2023