When registering your business, you’ll also have to submit the name and address of your business‘s registered agent. This person can be a professional service, a colleague, an employee, or even yourself!
More importantly, most states have different registered agent requirements. Based on where you operate, you have to ensure the appointed person meets all requirements to ensure compliance.
To make it easier for you, I’ll list the different registered agent requirements by state–yes, all 50 states!
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What Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent is an individual or business entity who accepts responsibility for your business’s tax and legal requirements. They also receive service of process in case your business is ever involved in a lawsuit or summons.
In general, a registered agent can be any adult who’s at least 18 years old and has a physical address in the state where your company is formed (not just a P.O. Box).
The more critical part of this role is being present at the designated location at all standard business hours. This is because the registered agent must be available to receive document deliveries from the state of government. Otherwise, you may end up missing important paperwork or documents, leading to trouble.
The Basics of Registered Agent Requirements by State
In this section, we’ve compiled the requirements to become a registered agent in all 50 states. Let’s take a look.
There are several requirements that are largely universal in the US. For example, the registered agent requirements of being 18 years of age or older, and of having a physical address (not a P.O. box or virtual office) in the state that can receive mail, deliveries, and process of service during business hours, tend to hold in all 50 states.
It’s also a general rule that businesses in most states must appoint a registered agent in order to legally operate in those states. Finally, most states allow businesses to serve as registered agents for other businesses.
So for this list, we will omit repeating these requirements except for states where they are expanded or noticeably different than described above.
In Alabama, you can be your own business’s registered agent, designate another person to do it, or use a registered agent company. If you use a person, that person must be an Alabama resident. If you use an agent company, that company needs to have a registered office in Alabama.
If you are an Alaska resident, you can be a registered agent (including being the agent for your own business). Corporations authorized to operate in Alaska can also be registered agents (but NOT their own agents), as can attorneys and incorporated law firms. Non-corporate entities like LLCs, LLPs, and LPs can’t be registered agents.
In Arizona, registered agents are often called statutory agents. Arizona statutory agents can be individual persons, Arizona-based corporations or LLCs, or out-of-state corps and LLCs that are authorized to operate in Arizona and that have a location or residence in-state. You can be your own statutory agent, but a corp or LLC cannot be its own.
Registered agents in Arkansas can be an owner, officer, or shareholder of their business. Also, as a point of order for business filing, in Arkansas the registered agent must be appointed before paperwork is filed–otherwise the Secretary of State will reject the paperwork.
California doesn’t have a minimum age requirement for registered agents, so a person under 18 could serve as one in this state. Corporations and LLCs can be registered agents for other businesses in California, but not for themselves. If a California corporation becomes a registered agent for another company, the agent corporation must file a special certificate called Section 1505 with the Secretary of State.
Business entities may be their own registered agents in Colorado provided they have a place of business in the state and, if based out-of-state, also have authority to operate in Colorado as well as their home state.
Businesses based in other states may appoint the Connecticut Secretary of State as their registered agent to operate in Connecticut. Any business with a physical Connecticut address can also serve as a registered agent there.
Registered agents in Delaware must obtain and maintain a Delaware business license. You can be a registered agent as an individual as long as you are a state resident.
In Florida, you can be your own registered agent for a corporation or LLC. Like in Arkansas, the Florida Secretary of State will reject business paperwork for any business that has not appointed a registered agent before filing.
Registered agents in Georgia can be individuals or entities (LLC, LP, LLP, general partnership, etc.). LLCs in Georgia can appoint an individual who is a resident of the state or use a domestic or foreign corporation registered in GA as the registered agent. Georgia corporations and nonprofits can use an individual or any business entity in the state of Georgia as a registered agent.
You must be a Hawaii resident or a business entity registered in the state to be a registered agent. But you can be your own registered agent if you are a Hawaii resident.
Business owners in Idaho can be their own registered agents. Like Arkansas and Florida, Idaho rejects business filings where an agent has not been appointed. Also, in Idaho all registered agent information is open to the public.
If a business’s registered agent can’t be reached for service of process, the Illinois Secretary of State office will automatically be served on the business’s behalf.
State residents of Indiana can be registered agents in that state.
A registered agent may be an Iowa resident, an Iowa profit or nonprofit corporation, or a foreign profit or nonprofit corporation allowed to do business in the state. The Iowa Secretary of State can act as an agent for service of process in certain cases. If a company’s registered agent is unreachable after a reasonable service of process attempt, the company’s secretary will get serviced at the principal address of the business.
All Kansas corporations and LLCs must have a registered agent. Agents must be a company that provides registered agent services or an individual who is a state resident–other businesses cannot serve as registered agents.
Like in Kansas, Kentucky registered agents must be state residents or be a company that provides registered agent services, not any other types of business.
Businesses can be their own registered agents in Louisiana. Like in several other states, business filings will be rejected in Louisiana if an agent hasn’t been appointed.
A Maine registered agent is known as a “commercial clerk.” Business owners in Maine can be their own commercial clerks.
Maryland registered agents are responsible for official mail correspondence from the Maryland SDAT (State Department of Assessment and Taxation).
A “resident agent” in MA is an interchangeable term with “registered agent.” You can be your own registered or resident agent in this state.
Like in Massachusetts, a “resident agent” in Michigan is an interchangeable term with “registered agent.” You must be a Michigan resident, a Michigan corporation/LLC, or a foreign corporation/LLC with a certificate of authority to transact business in Michigan in order to be a resident agent there.
Minnesota lists the names and addresses of all registered agents in the state on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Also, Minnesota businesses that also operate in other states must maintain a registered agent in each state they operate in.
Mississippi business owners can be their own registered agents. As in several other states, business filings in Mississippi will be rejected if an agent has not been appointed.
Missouri registered agents must be individuals who are residents of the state or be a company providing registered agent services–no other business types.
You can be your own registered agent in Montana. If a registered agent in Montana is unreachable after a reasonable service of process attempt, the company’s secretary will get served at the principal address of the business. If this person cannot be reached, the business won’t know that it has been served.
Registered agents can be individuals residing in Nebraska or corporations authorized to transact business in Nebraska. If you don’t maintain a registered agent, you may be required to dissolve your company.
You can be your own registered agent in Nevada by choosing the “noncommercial registered agent” option on your business formation documents.
New Hampshire LLCs and corporations have to appoint a registered agent, though other business types may not have to. To be a registered agent, you must be a state resident or a business providing registered agent services in the state, no other business type.
Registered agents must be state residents or be a company providing registered agent services, no other business types. You can be your own registered agent in New Jersey.
Any person or business entity with a physical address in New Mexico can be a registered agent, and you can be your own registered agent in this state. As in several other states, business filings will be rejected in NM if an agent hasn’t been appointed. Also, the personal information of registered agents in NM is available to the public.
New York registered agents can be a state resident, LLC, or a corporation with a physical address in the state. You can be your own business’s registered agent in New York.
North Carolina registered agents must be a state resident or company that provides registered agent services, not any other business type.
North Dakota registered agents must be state residents or registered agent service, no other business types. Like in several other states, the North Dakota Secretary of State will reject business filings if an agent hasn’t been appointed.
In Ohio, registered agents are also known as “statutory agents.” You can be your own statutory agent in Ohio as long as you are a state resident.
Registered agents can be an individual who is a state resident or a company providing registered agent services, no other business types.
As is the case in several states, business filings in Oregon will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. Oregon business owners can be their own registered agents.
Pennsylvania businesses must appoint a registered agent during the business formation process, not after the fact. You can be your own business’s registered agent. If a Pennsylvania registered agent can’t be served after a reasonable attempt, the company’s secretary will be served at the principal address of the business. If this person is unreachable, the business may never know that it has been served.
Business filings in Rhode Island will be rejected if an agent has not been appointed. Rhode Island business owners can be their own registered agents.
South Carolina LLCs and corporations are legally required to maintain a registered agent, though other business types are not. Business owners can be their own registered agents in South Carolina.
You can be a registered agent in South Dakota as an individual as long as you are a resident of the state.
Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee registered agents have their names and addresses listed as public records.
The Texas Secretary of State office will reject business filings if a registered agent isn’t appointed. Business owners can be their own registered agents in Texas.
Utah business owners can be their own registered agents.
In Vermont, registered agents are sometimes referred to as “process agents.” Process agents are usually used with the Vermont Secretary of State when referring to LLCs, but the term is synonymous with registered agents. Any individual or business or nonprofit entity with a street and mailing address located in Vermont can be a registered agent.
Virginia business entities cannot be registered agents for their own businesses, though they can be registered agents for other businesses. Individuals can be registered agents in Virginia if they are state residents.
Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. Business owners can be their own registered agents in Washington.
Washington DC registered agents can be individuals with an address in Washington DC or a business providing registered agent services in the District of Columbia. Washington DC registered agents must be listed on a statement of appointment on the initial business filing paperwork. Business owners can be their own registered agents in Washington DC.
West Virginia LLCs and corporations need to have a registered agent, but other business types do not. Business owners can be their own registered agents in West Virginia. West Virginia registered agents have their names and addresses listed as public records.
Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. Business owners can be their own registered agents in Wisconsin.
Wyoming corporations and LLCs have to appoint a registered agent, but other business types do not. All Wyoming registered agents must sign the Consent to Appointment by Registered Agent form to acknowledge duties. Business owners can be their own registered agents in Wyoming.
Best Tool to Ensure Registered Agent Compliance
Considering the importance of a registered agent, you might be preparing yourself to spend a bomb on them. But what if I told you there are tons of services offering excellent registered agent services at a really affordable price?
Out of all the options, I highly recommend ZenBusiness. It’s one of the most renowned legal services that offer business formation services starting at $0 plus state fees for the first year. After that, you’ll have to pay $199 for the annual package. You can also avail of the à la carte registered agent service at $199 per year.
Moreover, ZenBusiness gives extra focus on making the whole process less stressful with a user-friendly website. You can also track and find your company’s annual reports, regardless of your location. Outstanding customer support is another benefit.
2 Tricks for Registered Agent Services
Here are a few strategies to consider for maintaining registered agent compliance in the long run:
Don’t Be Your Own Registered Agent
Many business owners list themselves as their own registered agents to save money. However, this is a mistake.
Being your own registered agent means a lot of responsibility, which will eventually become a headache for you. Being physically present at this address during normal business hours every day isn’t realistic. If you’re ever unavailable and an officer comes to hand-deliver a court order or service of process, you may land into big trouble in terms of compliance.
Moreover, in most states, registered agent information is public knowledge. This can be greatly inconvenient for owners with a home office, putting them at risk.
Use a Registered Agent Service That’s Available in All 50 States
Hiring a registered agent service is undoubtedly the best option that is both reliable and affordable. But when considering options, you should look for a company that offers services in all 50 states, especially if you plan on scaling your business in the future.
If you start business operations in multiple states, you’ll likely be required to maintain a registered agent in each one of those states. Now, dealing with multiple registered agents can be a pain, but if you sign up for a registered agent service that is available in all 50 states, your business can scale with ease, stress-free.
I hope you’re considering hiring a third-party registered agent service for your business.
If that’s the case, make sure you take a look at our best registered agent services guide, where I‘ve compiled the top services that offer feature-rich plans at great prices.