Reciprocity Agreements: How to Transfer Your Out-Of-State Contractor’s License to California

If you’re a licensed contractor in another state and you want to work in California, you may be able to transfer your out-of-state contractor’s license to California via a process called reciprocity. 

It can take a TON of time and effort to get your California contractor license if you go via the traditional route, and for contractors who want to do one or two jobs in California from out of state, that’s basically impossible. 

The reciprocity process, on the other hand, is a much shorter and easier process to go through, allowing you to skip difficult steps like passing the notoriously difficult CSLB exam!

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about reciprocity, reciprocity agreements, reciprocity eligibility, and reciprocity requirements, so you can transfer your out-of-state contractor’s license to California and start making money as a California contractor ASAP!

Reciprocity: What Is It?

Reciprocity is an agreement between states that allows contractors licensed in one state to work in another state without having to go through the full licensing process.

In its simplest terms, if you’re licensed in one state, you can use that license to work in another state under certain conditions. All you need is a reciprocity agreement – an agreement between states that allows you to perform construction work in states where you technically do not have a license.

However, not all states offer reciprocity agreements with California. In fact, there are only a few states that do allow you to transfer your license.

Does My State Have A Reciprocity Agreement With California?

Unfortunately for many, there are only four states that California have reciprocity agreements with – Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, and Utah. If you hold a contractor’s license in any of these four states, you may be able to transfer your license to California via reciprocity. Whether you’re eligible depends on CSLB reciprocity requirements. 

Keep in mind that reciprocity agreements don’t necessarily apply to every type of license or classification. Many specialist licenses may not be transferable, even if your state has a reciprocity agreement with California. 

When in doubt, check with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to determine if your specific license or classification is eligible for reciprocity, and definitely DO NOT perform any work until you can verify your license status.

Reciprocity Eligibility

To be eligible for reciprocity, you must meet certain criteria, including:

Reciprocity Requirements

If you’re eligible for reciprocity, you’ll still need to meet California’s specific reciprocity requirements to transfer your out-of-state contractor’s license. These requirements include:

How Long Does The Reciprocity Process Take?

It’s important to note that the reciprocity process can take some time, but usually it takes no longer than a month, which is a huge savings of time compared to starting the potentially months-long process to get your California contractor license.

Even though you should expect your license in a timely manner – much more quickly than if you got your license the traditional way – you should plan ahead and start the process well in advance of when you plan to start working in California.

Additional Considerations

While reciprocity can make it easier to transfer your out-of-state contractor’s license to California, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind:

Conclusion

Reciprocity can be a useful tool for licensed contractors looking to transfer their out-of-state license to California. By meeting the specific reciprocity requirements, you can avoid the lengthy and time-consuming process of applying for a California contractor’s license from scratch.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that reciprocity agreements don’t necessarily apply to every license or classification, and that you’ll still need to comply with California’s laws and regulations for licensed contractors. 

If you have any questions or concerns about transferring your out-of-state contractor’s license to California via reciprocity, you should consult with the CSLB for guidance.