The Process of Getting a Virginia General Contractors License

Getting a Virginia general contractors license in the state of Virginia involves several steps to ensure applicants have the necessary qualifications and skills needed to operate as a contractor. This legal document allows individuals or businesses to work on construction projects in Virginia that exceed $1,000 in value. But how do you go about obtaining this license? Here is a step-by-step guide to the process of getting Virginia general contractors license.

Requirements for Licensing

Some basic requirements must be met before beginning the application process. Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a minimum of three years of experience working in the construction field under the supervision of a licensed contractor
  • Successfully pass the Business and Law exam and a trade exam related to the type of work you want to perform
  • Have a physical address in Virginia where their construction business will be located
  • Provide proof of workers’ compensation and liability insurance coverage once licensed

Submitting License Application

Once the basic requirements have been met, applicants can submit their initial license application. The application can be found on the Virginia Board for Contractors website. Required documents to submit include:

  • Completed application form
  • Application and exam fees (currently $150 application fee and $80 per exam)
  • Copy of driver’s license or government-issued ID
  • Employment verification from previous contracting employers
  • Company formation documents if applying as a business entity

Applications should be mailed to the Virginia Board for Contractor’s office along with all required documents. Incomplete applications will be returned. Allow 4-6 weeks for review and processing.

Scheduling Exams

Once the application is approved, applicants will receive notice they are eligible to schedule their exams. There are two required exams – the Business and Law exam and a trade-specific exam relevant to the work the applicant wants to perform. Exams are administered by PSI and can be scheduled online or by phone. Seats fill up quickly so it’s best to schedule exams promptly upon receiving approval.

Preparing for Exams

Thorough preparation is important for maximizing the chances of passing both exams on the first attempt. The Business and Law exam covers topics like insurance, liens, and regulations. Study materials like practice tests are available for purchase online. For the trade-specific exam, study contractor reference books, take supplemental training classes or get a study guide relevant to your trade. Applicants have 3 attempts to pass each exam within 1 year before having to reapply.

Receiving License Upon Approval

Once both exams are passed, results are sent to the Board for Contractors. Applicants should allow 4-6 weeks for license processing. Once complete, the initial license will be mailed. Licenses must be renewed annually to remain active. As long as renewal requirements are met like continuing education, the process takes just a few weeks. Licensed contractors can now operate legally within the state of Virginia.

Additional Business Requirements

Having an active Virginia general contractors license allows a business to bid and perform contracting work. However, there are some additional permits and insurance needed depending on the projects. Contractors must also obtain:

  • Local business licenses for any cities/counties worked in
  • Any necessary building, plumbing, or electrical permits for jobs involving those trades
  • General liability insurance of at least $500,000
  • Workers’ compensation insurance for any employees

Contractors are also expected to comply with all local and state business regulations regarding proper record keeping, tax filings, and contractual agreements with clients.


Having a Virginia general contractors license demonstrates credibility as a qualified construction professional. While requiring some work up front, following the outline licensing process through application, testing, and ongoing compliance helps ensure contractors have what it takes to run a business legally and protect consumer interests through certification. With preparation and diligence, aspiring contractors can achieve licensure to grow their careers in the Virginia building industry.

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