How To Change Registered Agent in California (The Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: April 5, 2024
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As an LLC owner in California, you may wish to change your registered agent for one reason or another.

In that case, it's critical to understand the steps involved and the regulations you must follow to keep your firm in compliance with California state requirements.

In order to assist you in replacing your registered agent, our experienced professional panel collaborated and spent considerable time navigating the Secretary of State's website to determine the amendment documents and necessary procedures to complete the process.

Quick Summary

  • To change your registered agent in California, you must fill out and submit a Statement of Information form with the California Secretary of State.
  • Domestic and foreign business entity owners can change their California registered agents online, by mail, in person, or through a professional service.
  • Considering the relatively low business failure rate in California of 13.2% within the first year, compared to the national average of 20.8%, maintaining compliance by timely changing your registered agent can contribute to your business's stability and longevity.
  • In my opinion, diligently updating your registered agent is not just a legal formality but a strategic move for ensuring uninterrupted business operations in California.

How To Change Your California Registered Agent?

Male and female showing how to change your registered agent in California

To change your registered agent in California, you must fill out and submit a Statement of Information form with the California Secretary of State.

This form, required for all California LLCs within 90 days of incorporation and biennially thereafter, can also be used at any time to update your registered agent details.

The update process is simple: enter your new LLC registered agent information on the Statement of Information and submit it via online, mail, in person, or through a professional service for processing.

1. Changing Your Registered Agent Using a Professional Service

If you're a busy entrepreneur, you can hire a professional to change your registered agent service.

Most professional services have pre-filled Statement of Information documents that you can use to edit as per your business.

They'll then file the registered agent paperwork for you; you'll only need to pay the processing fees plus the state fees.

Once the SOS approves your amendment application, the professional service will notify you.

2. Changing Your Registered Agent Online

Hands on laptop showing how to change your registered agent in California

In light of the booming business landscape, evidenced by 213,893 new establishments opening in California between March 2021 and March 2022 as per the US Small Business Administration, changing your registered agent online offers a quick and efficient solution for staying compliant [1].

Visit the official California Secretary of State website and select the type of form you want to file, in this case, the Statement of Information.

Follow the commands therein and fill out the details of your business, including the new registered agent's contact details.

Once you verify all the details, submit the online form and pay the $30 state fees.

3. Changing Your Registered Agent by Mail or In-Person

To change your LLC's registered agent in California, you can proceed by mail or in person.

Here's a detailed step-by-step process for each method:

Changing by Mail

  • Access and Download Form: Visit the California Secretary of State's website and download the Statement of Information (Form LLC-12) PDF document.
  • Complete the Cover Sheet and Form: Fill out the cover sheet with your contact and business information. Then, complete the Statement of Information form, including your new registered agent's details.
  • Signature: Ensure the form is signed under the signature line by an authorized person.
  • Payment: Attach the $20 filing fee (check or money order payable to the Secretary of State).
  • Mail the Documents: Send the completed cover sheet, Statement of Information form, and payment to:
    Secretary of State
    Business Programs Division Business Entities
    P.O. Box 944260
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2600

Changing In Person

  • Download Form: Obtain the Statement of Information (Form LLC-12) from the Secretary of State's website.
  • Fill Out the Form: Complete the form with your new registered agent's information and your business details.
  • Payment: Prepare the $20 filing fee.
  • Submit: Hand-deliver the completed form and payment to the Secretary of State's office located at:
    1500 11th Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814

Who Can Be A California Registered Agent?

Paper on the table on changing registered agent in California

"If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems."

- Majora Carter, Urban Revitalization Strategist & Broadcast Producer

Any individual or business entity can be a California registered agent as long as they meet the state qualifications for being a registered agent for the service of process in this state.

Registered agents are responsible for handling correspondence with the California Secretary of State on behalf of limited liability companies during regular business hours [2].

To be a registered agent for service of process in California, you must meet the following California registered agent requirements:

  • Must have a California physical address
  • Must be authorized to handle legal documents
  • Must be permitted to transact business in California
  • Must be available throughout normal business hours to accept service of process and legal correspondence
  • Must be at least 18 years old

FAQs

Do I Need The Consent Of The New Registered Agent in California?

Yes, in California, you need the consent of the new registered agent before appointing them for your business entity.

Can I Change The Registered Agent For A Foreign Entity Doing Business in California?

Yes, you can change the registered agent for a foreign entity doing business in California by filing the appropriate form with the California Secretary of State.


References:

  1. https://advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/2023-Small-Business-Economic-Profile-CA.pdf
  2. https://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/faqs#agent-question4

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