Apply for an export voucher and reduce your export-related expenses

The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Export Voucher Program provides direct cash assistance to qualifying small businesses to help them expand their international sales.
Flags from around the world representing exports

Export Vouchers, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), reimburses eligible export expenses up to $10,000, depending on the expense.

The following lists the eligible activities and reimbursement levels. If your business qualifies, you may receive up to the maximum allowed for that activity, or a lesser amount. Awards are granted based on committee review of your export voucher application.

Qualifying Export Expenses

  • Design of international marketing, digital advertising
  • Website design, maintenance and international payment handling
  • Online market listing fees
  • E-commerce platform fees
  •  Expenses to set up a website to accept international payments
  •  Services of the U.S. Commercial Service
  •  International shipment of product samples
  •  Compliance requirements to enter an export market
  •  Export research tool subscription
  • Cost associated with international IP protection (limited to the following–USPTO PCT transmittal fee, filing fee, search fee; Hague Intl Design App transmittal fee, Trademark Madrid Protocol fee)
  •  International business travel (airfare only)
  •  International trade show or trade mission fees (virtual or in-person)
  •  Foreign market sales trips
  • Translation of marketing media, including audio/video
  • EXIM Credit Insurance fees

Are You Eligible?

Qualifying companies must:

  • Be organized or incorporated and operating in the U.S.
  • Be a registered business in Washington State
  • Meet a) the applicable industry-based small business size standard established under section 3 of the Small Business Act; or b) the alternate size standard applicable to the program, under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act and the loan program, under Title V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 695 et seq.) The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards are found at 13 C.F.R Part 121. Use this link for information on size standards for your business based on your NAICS code.
  • Be in good standing with the Washington State Department of Revenue. 
  • Have a Federal Identification Number tied to a Washington address.
  • Adhere to the following additional program criteria:

(a) have been in business for not less than the 1-year period ending on the date on which the Export Voucher is to be awarded
(b) demonstrate understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers;
(c) export goods or services of US origin or have at least 51% US content (ex-factory price of a good minus the aggregate value of foreign sources equals more than 51%);
(d) have in effect a strategic plan for exporting; 
(e) demonstrate export readiness; and

  • Agree to provide information on export sales data resulting from the Export Voucher-supported activity, and respond to all subsequent Commerce surveys on a timely basis. Commerce will send surveys every six months, for up to 4 years. By applying for an export voucher, you are agreeing to respond to these confidential surveys with information on export sales data.

Apply for an Export Voucher

Export vouchers are funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Links and Resources

Success Stories

More than 900 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 $750 million in new export sales with assistance from this popular program, State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), funded through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Read Export Voucher Program success stories.

Need Help?

Callum Cleary
STEP Program Coordinator
Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness

Phone: 206-256-6145