Do I Need A Registered Agent in Every State? (Answered)
As a multi-state LLC owner in the US, you may wonder if you need a registered agent in every state your business operates in.
To help you answer this question, we teamed up with our licensed LLC experts with over a decade of experience in the industry and spent 10 weeks researching different registered agent requirements for all states.
This post will help you determine if you should have a registered agent in every state and the benefits of doing so.
- You need a registered agent in every state to keep your business entity in the right standing with the Secretary of State.
- If you expand your business to a new state, you must name a registered agent with a physical address there.
- A registered agent is responsible for handling all correspondence and legal notices on behalf of your business.
- A registered agent must have a physical address in the state of business and must be of legal age.
Do I Need A Registered Agent in Every State?
Yes, you need a registered agent in every state.
Businesses that operate in more than one state should have a resident agent office in each state to act as a contact point with the Secretary of State of that jurisdiction.
A registered agent is a business entity or an individual authorized to handle legal correspondence, accept service of process, and initial business filing paperwork on behalf of a limited liability company.
From our LLC formation experience, we had to appoint a registered agent during the application process.
Also, when our Texas business was expanding to Illinois, we applied for a foreign qualification to operate there and then named a registered agent authorized to transact in Illinois.
"You can decide to work with one national registered agent that's authorized to transact in all 50 states in the U.S.; this way, you name the same agent with a different state address based on where your business expands into"
- Drake Forester, Chief Legal Strategy Officer for Northwest Registered Agent
Requirements For a Registered Agent in the U.S.
Different jurisdictions have different regulations about registered agents, but here are the general requirements for being a company’s registered agent across the U.S.:
- Must have a physical address in the state of business
- Must be a resident of the state (if it's an individual)
- Must be available throughout normal office hours to handle legal papers
- Must be of legal age (if it's a person)
- Must be authorized to provide registered agent services
- Must be authorized to transact business in the state (if it's a foreign company/business entity)
Some states have more stringent rules. For instance, in Virginia, registered agents must be attorneys or members of the corporation's management .
Therefore, we recommend confirming the prerequisites in each state to see whether you qualify.
How To Maintain a Registered Agent in All States?
As your business expands into new regions, you must maintain a registered agent in all the states you transact.
Based on our practical experience, here's how:
1. Be Your Own Registered Agent
You can be your own registered agent for your U.S.-based business.
During your business formation, you’ll fill out your registered agent information on the registered agent form, and the SOS will approve if you meet the criteria.
While business owners can choose to be their own registered agents if they meet the state's requirements, it can be challenging if they manage a series of LLCs in different states.
2. Hire A National Registered Agent Service
A national registered agent is a company that's authorized to provide registered agent services in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia.
If you scale your business into new states, you must appoint a registered agent in each state where you begin doing business.
You can have multiple registered agents for each state you move into, but dealing with various registered agents can be a hassle.
If you sign up for a service that provides registered agent services throughout all 50 states, your company can expand without any hassle.
Why Do You Need A Registered Agent in Every State?
Here's a detailed description of the benefits of having a multi-state registered agent for your business:
1. Access To Different Addresses For Your LLC Series
If you're opening business entities in different states, you must have a physical address in each of them.
For our LLC, hiring an authorized multi-state registered agent with physical addresses in other foreign states was an efficient way to get different registered addresses for our business.
2. Solid Privacy
By using a qualified resident agent, you may be confident that you will receive any service of process quickly and discreetly because these legal documents are delivered to the agent's physical address .
3. Avoid Compliance Risks
A statutory agent will assist you in maintaining compliance, avoiding needless state fines, and preserving your business's good standing in the state where it was formed or is otherwise qualified to transact.
4. More Time and Freedom
If you hire a professional registered agent, they have offices in different states.
Their staff is also available to handle all legal papers for your business during regular hours.
This gives you more time and freedom to focus on other essential areas of your enterprise.
Is There a Registered Agent Available in All 50 States?
Yes, there's a registered agent available in all 50 states. Hiring a registered agent with a national reach is essential to help you scale your business worry-free.
What States Do Not Require a Registered Agent?
All 50 states require a registered agent. If you want to conduct business in any of them, you must appoint one.