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.
Read along to determine if you should have a registered agent in every state.
- 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.
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.
During your LLC/business formation process, you must appoint a registered agent during the application process.
If you expand to other states, you'll need to apply for a foreign qualification to operate there and then name a registered agent authorized to transact in that foreign state.
"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, confirming the prerequisites in each state is necessary 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.
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.
Also, note that if you're moving your business into a new state, you should understand the registered agent requirements for the foreign jurisdiction you're expanding into.
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.
As your own registered agent, you must have an office address in each state, be available during normal business hours to handle correspondence, and publicize your physical address on the SOS records.
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?
You need to appoint a registered agent in every state if you want to expand your business to other jurisdictions without having to relocate there.
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.
Hiring an authorized multi-state registered agent with physical addresses in other foreign states is an efficient way to get different registered addresses for your business.
2. Solid Privacy
Service of process and court subpoenas are frequently delivered by local law enforcement.
As a business owner, you do not want police officers to serve you with a lawsuit notice in front of clients, staff members, or neighbors (in the case of home-based firms).
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
Different states have different business regulations that you must follow to stay compliant.
Hiring a registered agent company is a good idea because they're familiar with the different federal and state rules of all jurisdictions.
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
One of the requirements for being a registered agent is that you must be available throughout regular business hours to accept legal papers.
If you own a series of businesses, it's challenging to be present to handle correspondence for all of them.
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.
Do You Need A Registered Agent For Your Multi-state Business?
If you act as your own registered agent for your domestic or foreign LLC, you must be available throughout standard business hours, publicize your physical address, and handle all correspondence.
This can be a lot to juggle while simultaneously running and managing your domestic or foreign corporation.
This is why we recommend hiring the best national registered agent services authorized to operate in all states in the U.S.
With these professional services, you get more time to focus on growing your businesses while the experts handle your compliance, taxes, and other business operations with the Secretary of State.