Questions about Commerce’s Export Voucher Program? Here are some answers to the questions we receive most often.

Companies can qualify for one STEP voucher per federal fiscal year (Oct to September of the preceding year).

Yes.

Applications for an export voucher will only be considered for events or activities taking place in the future.

No.

Yes, as long as the destinations are within the same general region of the world. The export voucher cannot be used to fund “around the world” tickets.

No. The voucher must be relinquished and you must submit another application for the new event.

Vouchers may be approved for these companies if at least 51% of the product’s value-added (including R&D) is from the U.S

You can go to the WA Department of Revenue website to look up your NAICS code. Then you can look up your NAICS code in the SBA table to determine if you are an SBA defined small business.

The state of Washington requires vendors (which include Export Voucher recipients) to have a Statewide Vendor Number (SWV#) before they can be paid by any state agency. If the Department of Commerce approves your Export Voucher application, this is how you will receive your reimbursement.

In compliance with SBA’s regulations, a voucher cannot cover more than 75 percent of a company’s expenses for an event. Therefore, a company must demonstrate that they have paid the amount covered by the voucher, and an additional 25 percent which will not be reimbursed.

You must fly basic economy and use a US carrier when available, or an airline from an Open Skies Partner if a US carrier is not available. When you return from your trip, you must submit your boarding passes and the email confirmation from the airline stating your itinerary and confirmation of payment.

All necessary documents must be submitted 30 days after the last travel date. Once everything is submitted, you can expect to see your reimbursement in about three weeks.

Companies that meet the criteria for an Export Voucher may also be eligible for other Department of Commerce initiatives. These services leverage federal, state and private funding to increase small business access to capital that helps grow businesses and create new jobs.

Links and Resources

Success Stories

More than 350 companies have used export vouchers to offset their exporting expenses. From mobile app developers and wakeboard manufacturers to remanufactured engine specialists and turnkey metalworkers, Washington State small businesses brought home more than $220 million in new export sales with assistance from this popular program, funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

Read more success stories…

Need Help?

Michele Ko
STEP Export Voucher Program
Business Development Manager
michele.ko@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 206-256-6102