Prior Approval & Preferred Programs

Prior Approval Program

In this program, all bond guarantee applications are submitted to SBA for prior review and approval. SBA guarantees 90 percent of the losses incurred on 1) contracts up to $100,000, and 2) on contracts awarded to the following types of businesses:

SBA offers an 80% guarantee on bonds for all other individual contracts up to $6.5 million in value or up to the $10 million if a Federal Contracting Officer certifies that SBA’s guarantee is necessary for the small business to obtain bonding.

Quick Bond Application for Prior Approval Program 

The Quick Bond Guarantee Application and Agreement is for contracts valued at $250,000 or less, and combines the contractor application and SBA’s agreement with the surety to guarantee the bond into one easy-to-use form. The form, the Quick Bond Guarantee Application and Agreement (SBA Form 990A), is available here.

This streamlined application significantly reduces paperwork for both contractors and surety companies participating in SBA's Prior Approval Program and reduces processing time. 

Learn more about how contractors can apply to the Prior Approval Program.

Preferred Program

The Preferred Program enables sureties to issue, monitor, and service bonds without prior approval by SBA. The guarantee rate is 70%.

Please note that SBA does not directly bond a contractor. Instead, SBA guarantees bonds issued by a surety company in order to encourage the surety company to provide bonds to small businesses. Find out how contractors can apply to the Preferred Program. 

For more information about either the Prior Approval or Preferred program, please contact SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees in Washington, D.C. at (202) 205-6540.