U.S. Small Business Administration

  • HUBZone Certification


  • Certification Designation: HUBZone 
  • Race Conscious: No 
  • Gender Conscious: No
  • Re-Certification: Annual
  • Graduation: None
  • Approval Timeline: 30-60 Days 
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: www.sba.gov/HUBZone 

Overview (Download PDF)

The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program encourages economic development in historically underutilized business zones - "HUBZones" - through the establishment of preferences.  SBA's HUBZone program is in line with the efforts of both the Administration and Congress to promote economic development and employment growth in distressed areas by providing access to more Federal contracting opportunities. The SBA regulates and implements the HUBZone program by:

  • Determining which businesses are eligible to receive HUBZone contracts;
  • Maintaining a listing of qualified HUBZone businesses that Federal agencies can use to locate vendors;
  • Adjudicating protests of eligibility to receive HUBZone contracts; and
  • Reporting to Congress on the program's employment and investment impact in HUBZone areas.

The program’s benefits for HUBZone-certified companies include:

  • Competitive and sole source contracting;
  • 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities; and
  • The Federal government’s goal of awarding 3% of all dollars for Federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small business concerns.


To qualify for the program, a business, except tribally-owned concerns, must be a small business for its primary NAICS code and 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 party 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; or 
  • 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.

Certification Process

There are several important registrations that must be completed before you can start the electronic application process:

  • Dun & Bradstreet: Each headquarters and branch office must be registered so that it will have its own DNB DUNS Number.
  • 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.). 
  • Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS), aka, SBA’s supplemental page: DSBS profiles will reflect each firm’s certification status. It is recommended to keep your profiles (SAM and DSBS page) up to date through the SAM website.  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.)
  • General Login System (GLS): you must complete registration in this system for each individual that can update information to your concern. Once you have registered, then you must add the concern’s DUNS and EIN number(s).

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.

  • Signed HUBZone Program Certification Signature Sheet (see Related Forms, below)
  1. Principal office location lease/rental agreement and utility bill
  2. Last 3 years of business tax returns, including all schedules and attachments
  3. Most recent personal Federal tax returns for all owners, including all schedules and attachments
  4. Citizenship documentation of business owners that are U.S. Citizens
  • For Corporations:
  1. Articles of Incorporation
  2. Copies of all stock certificates (front and back), and stock ledger
  3. Corporate Bylaws and any amendments
  4. Certificate of Good Standing
  • For Limited Liability Corporations (LLC):
  1. Operating Agreement and any amendments
  2. Articles of Organizations and any amendments
  3. Certificate of Good Standing
  • For Partnerships: 

  1. Partnership Agreement and any amendments
  2. Official payroll record
  3. HUBZone maps of employees' home addresses
  4. Most recent State Unemployment tax filing/report
  5. Valid (unexpired) Driver’s License, DMV ID or voter registration cards for each employee residing in a HUBZone

HUBZone Locator

The HUBZone Certification Application

Agency contact information is included in the PDF Overview above.