Step 1: General Renewal Information
This step informs you of things you should know about the expiration of your license and renewal process.
- Active licenses expire every two years.
- Inactive licenses expire every four years.
TIP To verify your expiration date, check your current pocket card or check your license status online.
- Approximately 60 days before your license is due to expire, CSLB will send you a renewal application. To ensure timely receipt of all license maintenance information, be sure to notify the Board of any change to the address maintained on Board records.
- If you have not received a renewal application from the CSLB within 45 days of the expiration date, you can order a renewal online or by calling the CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
- An acceptable renewal application must be received at CSLB's Headquarters Office prior to the expiration date of the license to avoid any unlicensed time. It is your responsibility to make sure your license is renewed, even if you don't receive a renewal form.
- Because processing times can vary significantly, timely submission of your renewal is strongly recommended.
- Beginning in 2021, the registrar is required to retroactively reinstate an expired contractor’s license if a completed license renewal application is received with the appropriate fees within 90 days of the license expiration date (SB 1474).
- Timely Active Renewal Fee - $450
- Timely Inactive Renewal Fee - $225
- Delinquent Active Renewal Fee - $675
- Delinquent Inactive Renewal Fee - $337.50
If an acceptable renewal is not received on or before the expiration date, you are required to pay a delinquent fee. The delinquent fee for active renewals is $225. The delinquent fee for inactive renewals is $112.50. The above delinquent fees include the renewal fee and delinquent fee.
Changes in License Structure
- If there has been a change in business entity (such as sole owner to corporation, sole owner to partnership, partnership to corporation, etc.) you will not be able to renew the license. You will be required to apply for a new license.
- If there has been a change in the corporate registration number assigned by the Secretary of State's Office, you will not be able to renew the license. You will be required to apply for a new license for the new corporate entity.
- If there has been a change to the Owner of a Sole Owner license or General Partners of a Partnership license, you will not be able to renew the license. You will be required to apply for a new license.
If your license is renewed inactive, you do not need to maintain any bonds, workers compensation, or designate a qualifying individual. You cannot actively contract with an inactive license. If you renew inactive and later wish to have the license put on active status, you will be required to submit an Application for Reactivation and pay the required fee.
Renewing a Corporate License
Prior to renewing a corporate license, CSLB checks the Secretary of State's records to verify the corporation's status and registered name.
- A corporation must have "Active" status with the Secretary of State's Office. A corporation with suspended status must clear the suspension with the Secretary of State's Office before the license can be renewed. CSLB cancels the license if the corporation has dissolved, merged, or surrendered the right to do business in California through the Secretary of State's Office.
- A corporate license number is issued exclusively to a specific corporate registration number. If this number changes, a new contractors license number will be required for the new corporation.
- The corporate name on CSLB's records must match with the corporate name on Secretary of State's records. Before a corporate name can be changed on CSLB's records, the registered name must first be changed through the Secretary of State's Office.
Renewing a Suspended License
A suspended license, with the exception of Secretary of State suspensions, can be renewed either active or inactive. However, if renewed active, you will not have "good standing" status nor be issued a pocket card while under suspension. The suspension must be cleared before you can be returned to "good standing" status, begin actively contracting, and receive a pocket card.
Renewing an Expired License
If you renew your license after the expiration date, or if an acceptable renewal has not been received prior to the expiration date, the renewal is considered delinquent and a delinquent fee is assessed. When renewing delinquent, the license will only be renewed from the date an acceptable renewal is received at CSLB through the remainder of the current renewal period. There will be a break in licensing time and any work performed while the license is expired is considered to be unlicensed.
You may petition for a retroactive renewal of the license under the following circumstances:
- The CSLB must receive a written petition within 90 days of the expiration date.
- You must show that the delay was due to circumstances beyond your control.
You may renew an expired license any time within five years after its expiration. If your license has been expired for more than five years, you will be required to reapply by completing an Application for Original Contractor's License.
IMPORTANT: You cannot actively contract with an expired, inactive, or suspended license.