CSLB Application Denials and the Appeals Process

Let’s take a minute to discuss CSLB Application Denials and the Appeals Process.

application denialIt’s a boring subject I know, but it’s good information to have if you find yourself stuck in the AIU vortex.

If your application is denied by the Application Investigation Unit, Section 485 kicks in.

§ 485. Procedure upon denial

Upon denial of an application for a license under this chapter or Section 496, the board shall do either of the following:

  • (a) File and serve a statement of issues in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
  • (b) Notify the applicant that the application is denied, stating (1) the reason for the denial, and (2) that the applicant has the right to a hearing under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code if written request for hearing is made within 60 days after service of the notice of denial. Unless written request for hearing is made within the 60-day period, the applicant’s right to a hearing is deemed waived. Service of the notice of denial may be made in the manner authorized for service of summons in civil actions, or by registered mail addressed to the applicant at the latest address filed by the applicant in writing with the board in his or her application or otherwise. Service by mail is complete on the date of mailing.

Added Stats 1972 ch 903 § 1. Amended Stats 1997 ch 758 §

The key here is that 60 day deadline to file your appeal request. I would suggest filing your appeal as soon as possible to get the appeal process started.

From here Section 487 applies and it outlines the Hearing process.

§ 487. Hearing; Time

If a hearing is requested by the applicant, the board shall conduct such hearing within 90 days from the date the hearing is requested unless the applicant shall request or agree in writing to a postponement or continuance of the hearing. Notwithstanding the above, the Office of Administrative Hearings may order, or on a showing of good cause, grant a request for, up to 45 additional days within which to conduct a hearing, except in cases involving alleged examination or licensing fraud, in which cases the period may be up to 180 days. In no case shall more than two such orders be made or requests be granted.

Added Stats 1972 ch 903 § 1. Amended Stats 1974 ch 1321 § 10; Stats 1986 ch 220 § 1, effective June 30, 1986.

The important part in this section is that the hearing shall be conducted within 90 days of the hearing being requested. Unless you, the applicant, request or agree to a continuance. I wouldn’t agree to a continuance because I wouldn’t want to give the board the ability to delay the process any further. If the OAH grants a request for extension, you’re stuck with it. The CSLB likes to say that the process can take 4-6 months, but I think this is a scare tactic. Section 487 suggests that a hearing could take place in as little as 3 months.

After a hearing request is submitted, Section 488 comes in to play.

§ 488. Hearing request

Except as otherwise provided by law, following a hearing requested by an applicant pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 485, the board may take any of the following actions:

  • (a) Grant the license effective upon completion of all licensing requirements by the applicant.
  • (b) Grant the license effective upon completion of all licensing requirements by the applicant, immediately revoke the license, stay the revocation, and impose probationary conditions on the license, which may include suspension.
  • (c) Deny the license.
  • (d) Take other action in relation to denying or granting the license as the board in its discretion may deem proper.

Added Stats 2000 ch 568 § 2 (AB 2888).

This one is interesting because of item (c). This suggests that the CSLB could deny the license… again. What’s curious is that it was a denial that led you down the appeal/hearing path in the first place.

So there you have it, some interesting facts about CSLB application denials and the appeals process.

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Comments

  1. lucas vieira says:

    I applied for a general B back in 2013 but i was only 22 year old
    and got flagged and asked for proof of experience wich i didnt have,
    now im 5 years later and im 27 and have my taxes in order and all that!
    do you think they flag me again as soon as they see my application again?

  2. Michael V says:

    Hi im about to submit my application this week. I do owe 8,500 in back child support. I am currently making payments for my obligated child support. I also owe anout 4,500 to Franchise tax board. Do you think that will hinder my application approval? Any information would be great. Thanks

    • Hello Michael,

      The cslb does check with the Franchise Tax Board and with Child Support Services, so I’d say you’d have a difficult time obtaining a license… more for the back taxes than the child support since you could provide documents to show you have a payment plan in place for CSS.

  3. Aimee Pfaff says:

    Just received the denial after 8 months of trying because he doesn’t have proof of framing experience. CSLB told him to go work for a general contractor to get framing experience and then reapply. At 53 years of age, working for $15 an hour isn’t an option. 45 years of construction experience should count for something but it doesn’t. Is there any chance appealing to the board will help?

    • Hi Aimee,

      I’m sorry to hear that you got the cslb shaft. They think it’s just so easy to get the experience they require. Yes, you can appeal. It can be a very lengthy process. Another option is to find someone who would be willing to be an RMO on a license with him.

  4. Dockdoorguy says:

    I’m starting the process to obtain a C61-D28 license. I’ve had three DUI’s in the past, most recent offense in 2013. Im currently on informal probation until June of 2019. Should I wait til then to apply? Or should I try and go for it while on informal probation?

    • The cslb wants to see at least three years since the conviction or release from probation/parole. You should call the cslb criminal background unit and check with them. 916-255-1007

  5. 1 How old are you? Two the more life exp. and proven work exp. Not by your own words of unlicensed self employment. True affidavits stating you worked as Journeyman. 8 years part time will suffice as 4 years in the past 10 yrs. Or full time 4 yrs in the past ten. The app process is very tricky.The more exp. you gain is better for you and your business. School of hard knocks. I’m 53 applied the first time in 1993 I allowedmyself to get screwed unlicensed by a pos still haunting me today. I just passed my exams for my c39 roofing. I put in 36 years of roofing. Until my app gets approved the bill increases. Don’t be discouraged today’s times are hard but be diligent and push forward. Life’s lessons are as important as trade lessons. Live learn and prevail!

  6. Hello,

    I applied for my license in May of 2016. I went through a school and they reviewed my info and said I qualified for my license with the documentation provided.
    I did the classes while waiting for response from the CLSB. I was issued a test date. I did my studying and passed the law and trade for my General B. After is tested I received a letter in the mail that I was part of the 3%. So I sent them all the information I had then they denied my license. I requested a hearing as soon as I got the denial. That was January 2017. I just received my papers back from the CLSB last week saying I have a hearing in 3 months. At this rate I am at a loss of what to do with the hearing. I have been contemplating getting an attorney but seeing if there is a route that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • January 2017 to June 2018 before you even received a hearing date?? WOW!!

      You could have an attorney with you at the hearing, but I’m not sure if they are allowed to speak on your behalf. An attorney experienced in this type of hearing could determine if the judge and cslb are following protocol.

  7. Robert Liguori says:

    Who do I contact to press my issue?
    I’m 37 now. Started working full time in the c-53 out of high school with my grandfather. He was Old school handshake kind a guy no license nothing, Life happens, at 22 I’m left with his phone number , tools and become self-employed. In 2005 I am 25 figure I have no excuse not to do better for myself than he did for himself. And made a decision to get legit. Similar story paid the school passed the test in Norwalk, passed the background, Denied for insufficient experience. Screw it right? I Make an honest living treat people right I keep pushing forward.
    Fast forward 12 years, wife three kids mortgage later. I need too stop procrastinating and get my License already ! I lose a lot of work and no doubt would have gotten had I been licensed. Again paid the school passed the tests in San Bernardino and the background, investigator required proof from my experience. I sent all my all my invoices since ‘03. My personal/buinsness taxes for the last 4 years , and some 30k work related receipts .after pleading my case and explaining away, I get 000 experience credited to my application. I am the tradesman with the beat hands and boots and sore back, proudly so! Not just trying to contract, I’m the f*$%#r with the actually experience! Like many of you. So suffices to say my paperwork /invoices are no where close to being “proper”. Most my invoices have no signatures nor dates( maybe some you you can understand) receipts need to be support by additional info, and my taxes do nothing for verifying my experience. And they hit me with the “new construction experience” to which I have over the years, and replied I don’t have permits in my name because I’m not licensed so it’s homeowner /builder and I don’t have as much as she was requesting honestly speaking because I just don’t get awarded those size of jobs that often being unlicensed. Although I do 80k swimming pool remodels, to which are often far more complicated than new construction . Apologies this is long-winded wasn’t gonna do it but thought why not. Anyway she’s three months ago after receiving my denial letter I sent my request for hearing. Although I’m sure they’re not interested at that time I sent 20 reference letters along with another of my own letter(for the fourth time) and additional business proof, commercial truck ins , buisness bank account, Home loan docs that accepted my employment . Anyways … they sent word they received it within a couple weeks but stated I will get a hearing between 6 and 18 months? Any suggestions if there’s anyone left after this novel

  8. Jorge Trujillo says:

    I applied for my C36 license back in November and passed the test in February, provided everything they needed and asked for. My application was one of the 3% to get investigated for work experience. I worked for Mr. Rooter for 2yrs and a half and provided that as proof the other six years I been self employed and also provided all my taxes and Invoices she requested. Now they want to deny me because the girl investigating the case said that pluming technician and rooter technician is not enough experience for a plumbing license. Do I have to have new construction in my experience to qualify for a C36? Shouldn’t they have investigated my work experience before giving me the test and making me waste all this money in trying to get my license?

    • Did they say if you were granted any time at all? They don’t necessarily need to communicate with the employer if you provided w-2’s, pay stubs, etc. I don’t know where the plumbing tech and rooter tech come in to play, but it sounds like they didn’t approve of the wording in your experience outline. Hard to say without seeing the app and their request for correction letter.

      Was the app “denied” or did you withdraw it? If it was officially denied, you have appeal rights and you’d have to wait a year before reapplying. If you withdrew the app, there is no waiting period to reapply. But… you will have to show proof of experience again.

      • Jorge Trujillo says:

        She did give me more time to provide more proof but kinda said that if I don’t have experience in new construction in plumbing then that would disqualify me for the license. R Rooter send them out a statement stating that I was a plumbing technician for them and she said that experience wouldn’t count either. I’m still going to send more proof of my self employment but don’t have much experience in new construction which would be my only issue. And I was wondering if they could deny my experience just because of that.

        • “don’t have experience in new construction in plumbing then that would disqualify me for the license. R Rooter send them out a statement stating that I was a plumbing technician for them and she said that experience wouldn’t count either.” The law does not require that someone’s experience has to be in new construction. I’d call BS on that one and make her prove to me that the law gives her the authority to deny experience because it wasn’t in new construction. Experience at the journeyman level working for a licensed C-36 is valid experience. If the employer/contractor is paying your journeyman level wages, then the cslb has no business discounting that experience because the employer called you a “technician.” The people at the cslb reviewing applications… who have ZERO experience in construction… are called Technicians!! The person reviewing your experience is “licensing deputy” and I guarantee you she has NO construction experience!

          Bottom line… they make up the rules as they go and they assume most people won’t go through the appeal process, so that allows them to do pretty much whatever they want.

          • Jorge Trujillo says:

            Thanks for your help, I am determined to take this all the way even if i need to get legal help. This is what I been doing for more than 8 years and I really need this license to grow my business.

  9. Jason G says:

    Hello Everyone,
    So I submitted my application to the Norwalk office on February 20, 2018, and what I found works quickly was I constantly checked online for status, and as soon as I saw that it went to judgement and flag review, I called and called and kept calling until I reached the person handling my application and good thing I did too cuz otherwise I wouldn’t have known anything for awhile. It was flagged from an old license that was revoked but I was just an RME and a young kid and I wasn’t th qualifying partner so they cleared it and I have my test date coming up at the end of April. I’m curious if anyone knows if they can still deny it after I pass the test for any reason? I figure once the approved it, they can’t decide later to deny it. Has anyone had any issues with this? I can understand if you lie or say no to any criminal background and then find something but other than that, I can’t think of any reason why they would review it again. Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jason,

      If you’ve been cleared by the investigating unit, you should be good to go. And props for being persistent! Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  10. jonny snow says:

    Are all application investigated or just the 3%? Or do all applications get investigated and the 3% gets extensively investigated. what is the denial rate of an application?

    • CSLB Rules and Regs state:

      824. Application Investigation Required In addition to a review and verification of all applications for licensure, the Registrar shall conduct a comprehensive field
      investigation of a minimum of 3% of all such applications. Such investigation shall include those areas of experience claimed and such other areas as the Registrar deems appropriate for the protection of the public.

      All claimed experience shall be supportable by documentation satisfactory to the Board. The Registrar shall provide to the Board,
      for its approval, acceptable forms of such documentation and shall inform the applicant in the application form that such documentation
      may be requested by the Board.
      (Authority cited: Section 7008, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 7068, Business and Professions Code.)

      I am not aware of any CSLB stat that provides a denial rate. Each app is different and the documents that applicants have to provide to prove their experience varies widely.

  11. scott bryant says:

    I applied for my license last September and my application was quickly accepted. I passed both tests once scheduled and secured the requisite bond and insurance which have both been properly filed with the state. I was then informed that i was denied due to a previous felony charge that is completely unrelated to the trade. They indicate that I can appeal or wait and reapply in five years.

    I received what appears to be a standard denial letter which has the typical “application” number along with a “denial notification” number. They have also added a “Compliant HQ#” which has me confused. Is a Complaint number something that they issue internally as part of the denial process? I assume that the denial for a felony record is likely an uphill battle during the appeal process regardless of the felony charge.

    Thanks in advance for your insights.

    • Hello Scott,

      Sorry to hear that you’re going through the CSLB maze. Yes, the HQ number should be associated with the denial.

      Did the felony take place within the last 7 years or are you on probation currently? If so, that would explain the denial.

      If you choose to appeal (hire legal counsel) you could ask for a probationary license.

    • Hello Scott,
      I am curious to know if you checked yes on the application for any criminal conviction? I just got my application approved and waiting test date. I did Check yes on mine but it was 18 years ago and disclosed everything. Is that your situation as well? If you checked No, then that could be the reason.

      • I dont understand the process with the CSLB when it comes to fee’s and process, because I have 1 felony conviction as an juvenile charged as an adult that occurred 32 years ago. I filed an application, checked the felony box, was approved to take the test, which I passed both law & trade. The criminal investigative unit asked for supplemental information, which I provided and more, such as Rehabilitation letters (volunteering for the homeless & troubled youth, last parole officers highly recommendation letter, a recommendation from a 2020 UPC committee member, as well as many self help certifications throughout the years), not to mention I have meet all qualifications for a license regarding felony, but yet now there telling my case is in for review and I can appeal the process. Why take me through all this if the senile appears the norm. why not just fast forward me straight to the appeal process and save time & money for everyone?

        • Hi Phillip,

          As a general rule, if you’ve been off of felony probation for at least seven years, and the crime did not involve fraud, grand theft, child issues, or trade related, the cslb will usually allow the license to be issued. Not knowing the specifics of your case or the cslb’s comments/decisions, I wouldn’t be able to give you a definitive answer as to why they want to deny you.

          If they do deny you, you have the option of appealing that denial to get in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The cslb will go out of their way to make that process as difficult as possible by delaying the appeals process. Legally they have 90 days to issue an appeals hearing date, that rarely if ever happens within 90 days. If you get to an ALJ, they may/may not allow an attorney representing you to speak at the hearing, but I’d have one with me anyway.

          You could contact your State Rep, click here, and file a complaint with their office. They would contact the cslb and ask for clarification.

          Regarding the cslb process and fees… it’s government red tape at its finest. By denying you, they are actually losing money because of the renewal fees they would gain down the road. Being a self funded agency, they are shooting themselves in the financial foot when they deny licenses. Why they allow applicants to test before a fingerprint report comes back to them…who knows! It does seem to be a cart before the horse kind of thing. They created the text of the legislation that was passed by the legislature.

  12. As a consumer, how do you appeal a decision made by the CSLB. I just received a letter about a year after the case was open stating that due to current Civil Case they will be closing this case with no violation charges against contractor. The thing is that there is no civil case open at the time being and all my money is going into construction of my abandoned project and not legal fees. I have presented bullet proof evidence to the CSLB clearly showing the contractor was in clear violation of many laws.Please inform as how I should go forward with an appeal as this investigation is critical if I do open a civil case.

  13. Wtf? Denied for a HIS license for a felony I committed 11 years ago. Should I appeal or request a hearing?

    • Hello Zack,

      That is certainly past the length of time they like to see for a felony. Was the conviction directly related to construction? You don’t need to disclose that here, I’m just asking. You can request an appeal, but that process can be lengthy.

  14. Random 3 percent seeks license says:

    What can be done if an investigator is non-responsive? My application is one of those RANDOM 3% to be investigated. Both test were passed almost 2 months ago, and all documents requested by investigator were sent following the Acceptable Forms of Experience Documentation over a month and a half ago. We have emailed, faxed and left various messages (including messages via employees from the call center), and investigator has yet to reply.

    • You could contact the Registrar, David Fogt. His most recent position at the CSLB was the Enforcement Chief. Email me (or use my contact form) and I’ll give you his contact info.

  15. Mike Hollowell says:

    I’m extremely frustrated. I went to ASU and earned a bacholer degree in construction management. I was recruited on campus and worked for a large gebefamily al contractor in the southwest on various hospital projects that were typically over 50 million. As a project engineer and assistant project manager, I drafted contracts, reviewed sub contractor’s work, and facilitated owner meetings with design professionals. I worked in this capacity for nearly four years. I find it troubling that my application is going to be denied for lack of work experience. I was informed that my experience was not hands on and managing trades was not worthy of counting toward the work experience. Although they granted me 3 years experience for my construction management degree, they are penalizing me for pursuing a career in construction management. This seems arbitrary and capricious. I guess I should have skipped college and started swinging a hammer. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Any thoughts?

    • Hello Mike,

      My guess is that your work experience outline was not formatted properly, but we can’t unring that bell. Did they send your experience to an investigator and/or did you receive a denial letter? If so, you can appeal that decision. If you were “denied” in the license application review process then you don’t have the right to appeal.

      CM experience is generally put above all other experience, but you still need to have experience in the field as a journeyman or supervisor. If you included this text in your experience outline – “project engineer and assistant project manager, I drafted contracts, reviewed sub contractor’s work, and facilitated owner meetings with design professionals” it would raise a red flag. The law does state that you must have field experience to qualify.

      • Mike Hollowell says:

        Full disclosure, I am an active member of the CA State Bar.

        I worked for a general contractor that is currently ranked in the top 100 US contractors based on gross revenue. My entire 3 years with the company was spent onsite, in the field, building a $50 million/+ cancer treatment hospital and $85 million/+ luxury condominiums. This was included in my application and certified by the Director of Human Resources for my former company. In addition, I provided statutory declaration detailing my role as an onsite supervisor. Apparently, because my company didn’t self-perform any work, my time supervising subcontractors is not sufficient enough to sit for the examination.

        If I am denied during the application process, shouldn’t I still be able to challenge the determination that my work experience was insufficient to sit for the exam? Regardless of whether I was “denied” in the license application review process, doesn’t the CA Administrative Procedure Act provide me with a potential remedy? I would like to think that a denial by the agency is a final action subject to review under the APA. But I certainly could be wrong.

        Thank you for your time and feedback.

        Mike

        • Hello Mike,

          I’m assuming you used your college degree to augment the time needed to apply.

          If you receive a letter from the cslb giving you the option to withdraw or provide another qualifier and you do neither, the app will be denied or go void. If you receive a “denial” letter, you’ll have an opportunity to appeal that decision. At which time (3-6 months) a hearing will be scheduled with an ALJ, where you can plead your case.

          Note, once you have a denied application in your file, every subsequent application you submit will raise that flag and you’ll have to prove your experience with documentation.

          • Mike Hollowell says:

            They finally accepted my certification of work experience. I sit for the exam in December. This process was very frustrating considering the individuals who review certification of work experience often lack any construction background or knowledge. Good luck to all the other applicants out there.

          • Congratulations on getting past this point. Good luck on the exams!

  16. Jason Leos says:

    I applied for my license, and was sent to the investigation unit for work experience, meam while they gave me a test date. I took my test and passed both law and trade. A month after it was sent to another investigation unit, and I was denied my licence because of lack of proof of work experience. I was signed off by a general contrator, sent in my schedule c’s etc. I appealed the decision back in April 2016, it was sent to the a.g.I just called the cslb a week ago and they said that they are backed logged 18 months to two years, mean while my business is on hold and I’m in limbo. What if anything can I do to speed up the process.

    • Hello Jason,

      Seems you got caught in the tail end of the CSLB’s illegal critical classification fiasco.

      I would suggest you contact your State Representative. http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ You can file a question/complaint through their website. Explain that you passed the exams, provided the documentation they requested, and that your livelihood is on hold while the CSLB is dragging their feet in an obscene backlog.

      Explain that you met the requirements under B&P Code Section 7065, which states:

      7065. Investigation, classification, and examinations
      (a) Under rules and regulations adopted by the board and approved
      by the director, the registrar shall investigate, classify, and qualify
      applicants for contractors’ licenses by written examination. This examination
      shall include questions designed to show that the applicant
      has the necessary degree of knowledge required by Section 7068 and
      shall include pertinent questions relating to the laws of this state and
      the contracting business and trade.

      It is possible for the CSLB to grant you a probationary license under B&P Code Sections 7073 and 7077.

      Don’t take no for an answer, just keep pressing!

  17. gill kelly says:

    My application was denied because of incomplete paper work.. I sent it in.. They received it.. I still haven’t heard back.. It’s been 4 months… What should I do

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