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

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 21, 2024
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If you want to form an LLC in Iowa, you should know how long the Iowa Secretary of State takes to receive, review, and approve your LLC registration documents.

Since I'm a distinguished expert in mergers and acquisitions, I worked with various businesses, as well as individuals, and helped them restructure and combine companies. I spent weeks collaborating with business experts in the state to provide you with the different processing timelines for Iowa LLCs.

Quick Summary

  • It takes 2-3 weeks to form an LLC in Iowa by mail, while online submissions are immediately approved.  
  • The Iowa SOS offers expedited shipping at a state fee of $15 for a 5-day service and $50 for a 2-day turnaround time.
  • Based on insights from the US Small Business Administration, in Iowa's thriving economy, an impressive 99.2 percent of businesses are classified as small businesses.
  • To prevent delays with the application, I advise clients to ensure all their formation documents and requirements are in order. 

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

An office worker forming an LLC in Iowa

The fastest way to start an LLC in Iowa is by filing online, which only takes a few minutes to be approved.

You must create a user account on the Fast Track Filing System [1]. Ensure that you provide an electronic signature to confirm that the information you shared is correct and up-to-date.

Note that if you plan to pay your online state fees via a credit card (Visa, Discover, or Mastercard), you must first fill out the Credit Card Authorization Form and provide the correct details.

LLC Processing Time in Iowa

The LLC processing time is the total time it takes the Iowa SOS to examine and approve your hard/soft copy registration papers and record your LLC file into their system.

The processing time to form an LLC in Iowa will depend on the filing method you opt for. Between March 2021 and March 2022, Iowa saw the establishment of 9,797 new businesses, reflecting a bustling entrepreneurial environment.

Here are three ways to file an LLC and the different processing times for each filing method.

1. Expedited Iowa LLC Processing Time by Mail (2-day processing + $50, 5-day service + $15)

A person filing paperwork online

The Iowa SOS offers expedited processing for regular document filings and preclearance service on LLC filings.

If you're filing your domestic or foreign LLC paperwork and need expedited processing, you can pay extra fees for these two options:

  • Two-day delivery: $50.00
  • Five-day delivery: $15.00

But if you want the pre-clearance service, here are the expedited processing options offered by the Secretary of State’s office:

  • Same-day processing: $250.00
  • Two-day processing: Twice the filing fee amount
  • Three-day processing: Equal amount as the filing fee

2. Non-Expedited Iowa LLC Processing Time By Mail (2-3 weeks)

A person filing paperwork through the mail

The Iowa Secretary of State takes 15–21 business days/2–3 weeks to review and approve the certificate of incorporation.

To file an Iowa LLC via mail, a certificate of incorporation form must be filled out and submitted. Remember to include the $50 state fees as a check or money order.

3. Iowa LLC Processing Time Online (Immediate approval)

The Iowa Secretary of State takes a few minutes to process LLC online filings, and you'll receive an email notification once your LLC paperwork is approved [2].

However, the process can also take up to 2 working days when there's a high filling volume.

"While Iowa boasts fast online filing for LLCs, consider the additional steps involved. Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and establishing your operating agreement are crucial for your business."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

Factors Influencing The Formation Timeline Of Iowa LLCs

A woman working at home and starting an LLC in Iowa

Here are the different factors that affect the formation timeline of Iowa LLCs:

  • Volume of filings: The approval time may be prolonged due to the high volume of applications submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.
  • Requirement issues: If you filed documents with incomplete and inaccurate information, you’ll have to correct the mistake and refile your application.
  • Weekends and holidays: Since the state doesn’t conduct business during this period, the processing time is delayed. That’s why I always file after the weekends or the holidays. 


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

You can check the status of your Iowa LLC formation during the processing period through the Fast Track Filing dashboard. You’ll also receive an email from the state regarding your application status.

Is There a Difference in Processing Time for Domestic and Foreign LLCs in Iowa?

There is no difference in processing time for domestic and foreign LLCs in Iowa. The state reviews and approves applications in the order they were received.



About The Author

Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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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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