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: April 1, 2024
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The time it takes to form an LLC in Alabama may vary depending on the method of application, the approval of the state, and the actual processing duration.

Through my experience as a mergers and acquisitions specialist, I'll share some points I learned when forming a limited liability company.

Together with LLC experts in the state, we spent weeks researching the Alabama Secretary of State's website for correct processing times and different filing options.

Quick Summary:

  • It takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks to form an LLC in Alabama (standard time) if done by mail and 1 business day if you file online.
  • The expedited processing of the Alabama Articles of Organization costs $100 for a 3-business day turnaround.
  • Between March 2020 and March 2021, 10,923 Alabama establishments opened and 11,477 closed, for a net decrease of 554.
  • I've learned from my clients' experience that the processing time may be prolonged due to inaccurate documentation, the volume of new and old businesses to be processed, and the 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.

The processing time to form an LLC in Alabama will depend on the filing method you opt for. In 2023, Alabama was home to 422,586 small businesses, accounting for an impressive 99.4% of all businesses in the state, according to US Small Business Administration statistics.

1. Expedited Alabama LLC Processing Time By Mail (3 business days + $100)

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

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

Afterward, I received a certified document copy within that period, and learned that the LLC can start transacting in Alabama soon.

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 (4-6 weeks)

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

When a client had to file by mail, they had to submit the registration papers to the Office of the Judge of Probate in the county where their 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 (1 business day)

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. That's why I prefer to file online, since it's more efficient and convenient.

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.

"Ensure your documents are complete to avoid processing hold-ups."

  • Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

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. Through my experience, I learned that it's ideal to 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.


Where Can I Check the Status of My ALabama LLC During the Processing Period?

You can check the status of your Alabama LLC during the processing period through the state's official webiste. Click on business services and enter your LLC name.

Can a Registered Agent Expedite the Process of Forming an LLC in Alabama?

A registered agent cannot expedite the process of forming an LLC in Alabama since the Secretary of State determines the processing and approval timeline.

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.



About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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