In this paper, application of the CPT cone resistance (qc) for footing bearing capacity estimation is examined. The analysis focuses on axially loaded circular footings bearing on sand. The approach proposed in this study can reduce the uncertainties associated with the bearing capacity equation, as no estimation of or selection of an equation for Nγ is necessary. Instead, normalized limit unit bearing capacities q bL/qc are calculated from non-linear finite element and cone penetration resistance analyses for various soil and footing conditions. Based on results in this study, a method for estimating qbL directly from the CPT cone resistance (qc) is proposed. Effects of the relative density (DR), the lateral earth pressure ratio (K 0) and the footing size are also addressed. There is a size effect on the values of qbL/qc. The size effect increases as the footing diameter B increases. Copyright ASCE 2006.