Registered agent requirements

Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or already running one, it’s important to know the rules and requirements regarding Registered Agents. Every formal business entity in the United States, whether it’s an LLC, S corp or C corp, must have a Registered Agent. In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about getting a Registered Agent for your company, including what Registered Agents do, how to find one and what happens if you don’t have one.

What Is a Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent is an individual or business that receives important information, official documents and correspondence from the state government, federal governments and other agencies. They forward that information on to your LLC or corporation so you can respond to it appropriately.

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

A Registered Agent must be available to receive and sign for official correspondence during normal business hours. They will receive documents from official bodies and notify you, forwarding the information. The type of correspondence they receive includes:


Official letters and correspondence from your Secretary of State, Division of Corporations or other state government agency responsible for LLCs and corporations


Service of process notices (if your corporation or LLC is sued or needs to appear in court, for example)


Official federal government correspondence, information and notifications


Tax forms and requests for payment


Requests to complete permits, company filings or reports

Are There Other Names for a Registered Agent?

Registered Agents can be known by various names in each state. These names include:

Agent for Service of Process

Statutory Agent

Commercial Registered Agent

Resident Agent

Do I Need a Registered Agent?

All businesses that are formed as legal entities are required to name a Registered Agent. These types of businesses are:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • S Corporation
  • C Corporation
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Nonprofit corporation, including a corporation using a 501(c)(3)

All of these business entities, regardless of the state they are registered in, must have a Registered Agent.

What Are the Requirements for a Registered Agent?

Your secretary of state or division of corporations has certain requirements that apply to Registered Agents. Typically, they are:


If the Registered Agent is an individual, they must reside in the same state where your organization conducts business.


If the Registered Agent is a business, they must be legally able to conduct business in the same state where your organization conducts business.


The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state (not a P.O. Box).


Your Registered Agent must be available during normal business hours to receive and sign for any correspondence.

What Happens If I Don’t Have a Registered Agent?

If you do not assign or provide details of your organization's Registered Agent to the secretary of state, you could face significant problems, including:

Legal problems

Being served to appear in court and not knowing about it, resulting in a default judgment in your absence and other legal problems

Dissolving of the business

A loss of standing with the secretary of state that results in your business being dissolved due to failure to file official correspondence (like an Annual Report)

Losing your status as a legal business

Losing your status as a legal business, since a Registered Agent “proves” to the state that your business exists

Registered Agent Q&A

Everything you need to know before choosing the right registered agent for your company.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

In addition to a formal Registered Agent service, anyone associated with your business who wants to take on the responsibility can be your Registered Agent. They will need to understand the legal requirements and implications of performing the role. Note that your company cannot act as its own Registered Agent.

How Do I Submit My Choice of Registered Agent to the Secretary of State?

When you incorporate your business through Incfile, we will automatically provide a Registered Agent service for your LLC or corporation for the first year and will pass that information on to your secretary of state. If you form your business yourself, you can provide details of the Registered Agent when you file your company formation documents, like your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation.

Can I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC or Corporation After the Business Is Formed?

Your business can change your Registered Agent service at any time. Some Registered Agents will file the necessary forms with the secretary of state — if they don't, you can file the relevant forms yourself. Full details of how to do so will be listed on the LLC and corporation pages of your secretary of state’s website.

How Do I Find and Choose a Registered Agent for My Own Business?

There are many ways to find a Registered Agent service. Some secretary of state websites provide lists, or you can search for one on your own. We recommend the Incfile Registered Agent service, which operates in all U.S. states and provides a complete set of Registered Agent tools at a reasonable price.

How Do I Find the Registered Agent for Another Business?

If you need to find the Registered Agent for a business other than your own, these names are available in the public record of your state’s secretary of state. You can typically find these on the business entity search page on the secretary of state website. If Registered Agent details are not available from the searchable business registry, contact the secretary of state requesting the information.

Incfile’s Free Registered Agent Service

In addition to $0 Business Formation, Incfile offers a complete, easy-to-use registered agent service for any business incorporated in any state in the U.S. It’s free for the first year, whether you formed your business with us or not (and just $119 annually after that).

We’re authorized to conduct business in every state and can legally act as your registered agent, wherever you are.

Learn More About Registered Agents

Can I be my own registered agent?

An individual is allowed to act as his own Registered Agent, however the individual must possess a physical street address... Read more

Registered Agent Services

Every state requires a corporation or an LLC to have a Registered Agent (sometimes called a resident agent, statutory agent... Read more

Can a registered agent be a company?

Yes, the registered agent can be a company, however the company itself may not act as it's own registered agent. The company... Read more

What happens if I require the signature of my registered agent?

If the signature of the Registered Agent is required please contact our support staff for assistance. We are typically able to return... Read more