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.


  1. 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!

  2. 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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