How Long Does It Take To Form an LLC in Alabama (The Guide)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: November 9, 2023
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The time it takes to form an LLC in Alabama may vary depending on the method of application, approval of the state and actual processing duration.

Working with our team of certified LLC specialists with over a decade in the industry, we spent weeks researching the Alabama Secretary of State's website for correct processing times.

Here's everything you need to know.

Quick Summary:

  • It takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks to form an LLC in Alabama (standard time) if done by mail and one business day if you file online.
  • The expedited processing of the Alabama Articles of Organization costs $100 for a 3-business day turnaround.
  • During the registration process, the Certificate of Formation is submitted to the Judge of Probate's Office, who then approves and transmits it to the Secretary of State.
  • The processing time may be prolonged due to inaccurate documentation, volume of new and old businesses to be processed and time of the year.

What is The Fastest Way to Start an LLC in Alabama?

Congratulating a person for completing an LLC

The fastest way to start an LLC in Alabama is through online application, which takes one day to be approved.

Online filings for a domestic LLC can be done via the Secretary of State's official website, costing $208. Online foreign LLC registration costs $150 [1,2].

LLC Processing Time in Alabama

Once you obtain a legal LLC name in Alabama, the next step for your LLC is to file the Articles of Organization.

When I helped a client form an LLC in Alabama, I learned that the Secretary of State’s office offers different LLC filing methods, including online and expedited shipping, with corresponding processing times and fees.

1. Expedited Alabama LLC Processing Time By Mail

Hovering notes on a laptop

Expedited shipping in Alabama costs an additional $100 to the standard state fees, and the Judge of Probate's Office will approve the articles of incorporation within 3 business days [3].

Check our article for more information on the cost to start an LLC in Alabama.

After the approval, the Judge of Probate's Office transmits the registration papers to the Alabama Secretary of State, who'll stamp and certify the document within 7 business days.

You'll then receive a certified document copy within that period, and your LLC can start transacting in Alabama soon after.

Based on our research, expedited shipping in Alabama is not available for all counties, so it's essential to check if this applies to your LLC before paying the additional filing fee.

2. Non-Expedited Alabama LLC Processing Time By Mail

The average standard processing by mail takes 4 to 6 weeks, but it may vary based on date of receipt and the volume of documents being processed at the time of application.

You must submit your registration papers to the Office of the Judge of Probate in the county where your limited liability company's primary head office is situated.

You must send a folder comprising two copies of your primary Articles of Organization (also known as the Certificate of Formation) and the Certificate of Name Reservation.

Pay all county fees, which vary depending on the county location of your LLC, but it's typically a minimum of $50, plus the state processing costs of $100.

The Probate Judge's Office analyzes and files the paperwork, sends notice of filing via a sealed copy, and forwards a certified copy and applicable fees to the SOS.

The SOS then indexes the file and publishes the data on its website.

3. Alabama LLC Processing Time Online

Thick case of files and documents for an LLC

If you file your LLC registration online, the approval is almost immediate, but it can take up to 1 business day for it to be approved.

Per business law, if you make your online LLC registration payments via a credit card, you'll have to pay an extra 3-5% convenience fee.

Note that a few counties allow credit card payments, so you must confirm this with the Secretary of State Credit Card Payment Option Sheet before you proceed with the online filing.

Factors Influencing the Formation Timeline of Alabama LLCs

Man organizing paper works

Forming an LLC in Alabama may be prolonged due to several factors, including: 

  • Documentation and Requirements: To ensure that your LLC is formed within the usual timeline, file and submit all the necessary documents, requirements and pay the corresponding fees. It may take an additional week if your papers lack or contain inaccurate information.

  • Season of the Year: Since most business owners prefer to begin operating at the beginning of the year, avoid filing during this time, since the agency handles large volumes of documents. File for an LLC when annual reports or tax deadlines do not coincide with other companies.

  • Holidays and Weekends: Your LLC application may take longer to process if you filed just before the weekend or during the holiday season, since government agencies do not typically conduct business during this time.


Do You Need a Business License For an LLC in Alabama?

You need a business license for an LLC in Alabama. Alabama LLCs must obtain the Business Privilege Tax return license from their respective counties.

How Do I Start an LLC in Alabama?

You can start an LLC in Alabama by submitting an available business name and filing the articles of organization with the Secretary of State.

Does Alabama Require an Operating Agreement for an LLC?

Alabama does not require an operating agreement for an LLC, however, it is advisable to draft one.

The document contains the rules and regulations of the company, including ownership, distribution of profits and losses, meetings and voting rights and procedures.

Should You Hire an LLC Service in Alabama?

If you are a new business owner and have no prior experience with limited liability companies, you can use LLC formation services to complete the process on your behalf.

Make sure to check our list of the best LLC formation services in Alabama. They will submit your certificate of formation to the Alabama Secretary of State and provide compliance notifications and handle legal issues.



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