The requirements necessary to obtain a contractor license vary from state to state, and contractors must have a license for each state in which they plan to work. General requirements such as proof of citizenship are the same in each state, but examinations and personal reference requirements vary.
General contractor license requirements for each state include a high school diploma or equivalent document, proof of U.S. citizenship, documentation of all state licenses, two passport-sized photos, explanations for any citations or liens from previous construction work, as well as proof that the applicant is at least 18 years old. Most states also require applicants to pass a written exam that covers construction law, business organization and other required skills.
In states with slightly stricter application policies, applicants may be required to show proof of on-the-job experience or show qualified references from architects, engineers or previous employers. Some states also require licensed contractors to post a state license bond, which offers no protection from liability if there is a fire or other type of accident at the job site. Anyone who attempts to do general contracting work in the United States without a license is at risk of receiving a significant fine.