The Beginner’s Guide to Registered Agent Requirements By State

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!

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.

Alabama

  • Must have a physical address in Alabama where they will accept and receive service of process, like a lawsuit. 
  • Must be open and available during regular business hours.
  • Any business owner in Alabama can be their own registered agent.
  • Individual persons designated as registered agents must be state residents.
  • Alabama businesses can use a registered agent company—provided the company maintains a registered office with a physical address in the state.

Alaska

  • Individual residents of Alaska or a corporation authorized to transact business in Alaska can become registered agents.
  • Must have an Alaska state physical address and mailing address.
  • A corporation cannot be its own registered agent.
  • Non-corporate entities (LLC, LLP, LP) cannot be registered agents, but attorneys and incorporated law firms can.
  • Business owners in Alaska can be their own registered agents.

Arizona

  • Arizona statutory agents (also known as registered agents) can be an individual, or an Arizona corporation or LLC, or a foreign corporation or LLC that is authorized to do business in Arizona.
  • A corporation or LLC cannot be its own Statutory Agent.
  • LLC or registered foreign LLC statutory agents must have a place of business or residence in this state.
  • Businesses in Arizona cannot legally operate until they appoint a registered agent. 
  • If the statutory agent is an entity, an authorized agent of that entity can sign the acceptance of appointment.

Arkansas

  • Registered agents may or may not be an owner, shareholder, or officer of the corporation.
  • The registered agent’s address must be a street address in Arkansas, and the agent must be located at that address.
  • All business entities are required to appoint a registered agent by state law.
  • The Arkansas Secretary of State will reject business filing paperwork if a registered agent hasn’t been appointed. 

California

  • California business entities are required to have a registered agent.
  • A registered agent service or an individual who is a state resident can be an agent of process in California.
  • Corporations and LLCs cannot be listed as their own registered agent.
  • If a corporation acts as a registered agent for another business, it must file a Section 1505 Certificate with the Secretary of State. 
  • California does not maintain a minimum age requirement.

Colorado

  • Individuals appointed as registered agents in Colorado must be at least 18 years old.
  • Companies providing registered agent services are allowed.
  • Agents must be available during normal business hours and maintain a physical address in Colorado.
  • If the registered agent is an entity, it must have a place of business in Colorado.
  • Foreign entities must also have the authority to transact business in Colorado.
  • Business entities may serve as their own registered agent.

Connecticut

  • All Connecticut registered businesses must maintain a registered agent. 
  • Any Connecticut resident aged 18 or older or another business entity registered in the state with a Connecticut address can be a registered agent.
  • Connecticut registered agents must maintain a physical address in the state—no P.O. boxes allowed.
  • Foreign entities can appoint the Connecticut Secretary of the State as their registered agent.

Delaware

  • Any business entity formed through the Delaware Division of Corporations must have a registered agent. 
  • Registered agents must have a physical residence (registered office) in Delaware. P.O. boxes and virtual offices will not suffice.
  • Business owners in Delaware can be their own registered agents if they are state residents. 
  • Commercial Delaware registered agents must obtain and maintain a Delaware business license.

Florida

  • Registered agents must have a registered office in Florida. P.O. boxes and virtual offices are unacceptable.
  • Registered agents must be generally available to accept service of process during normal business hours.
  • A person forming an LLC or corporation in Florida can be their own registered agent.
  • The Florida Secretary of State will reject business filings if an agent has not been appointed.

Georgia

  • Must be an individual or entity (LLC, LP, LLP, general partnership, etc.) with a physical office address in the state.
  • 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, a domestic corporation, foreign corporation, nonprofit organization, or any other business entity in the state of Georgia as a registered agent.

Hawaii

  • Must be a resident of Hawaii or a domestic or foreign business entity registered in the state. 
  • Hawaii registered agents must have a physical street address.
  • Hawaii business owners can be their own registered agents—provided they are state residents.

Idaho

  • Idaho law requires all business entities in the state to appoint a registered agent.
  • Registered agent information is public information.
  • Business filings in Idaho will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Idaho business owners can be their own registered agents.

Illinois

  • Must be at least 18 years old. 
  • Must have an Illinois street address (no P.O. boxes) and be able to accept legal paperwork delivered in person to their home or office. 
  • If a registered agent cannot be contacted, the Illinois Secretary of State office will automatically be served on the business’s behalf. 
  • All Illinois LLCs and corporations are required to have a registered agent. 

Indiana

  • Indiana registered agents must have a physical address in the state and be open during business hours.
  • Individuals can be registered agents—provided they are state residents.
  • Companies providing registered agent services can also be registered agents for an Indiana business.

Iowa

  • 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. 
  • Most Iowa business organizations are required to have a registered agent for service of process.
  • 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. 

Kansas

  • All Kansas corporations and LLCs must have a registered agent.
  • The registered agent must have a physical address located in the state of Kansas (no P.O. boxes allowed).
  • Agents must be a company that provides registered agent services or an individual who is a state resident.

Kentucky

  • Kentucky registered agents must be state residents or be a company that provides registered agent services.
  • All Kentucky business entities must appoint a registered agent with a registered office in the state.

Louisiana

  • All Louisiana businesses must appoint a registered agent. 
  • Businesses can be their own registered agents in Louisiana.
  • Business filings will be rejected in Louisiana if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 

Maine

  • A Maine registered agent is known as a “commercial clerk,” who provides the same functions as a traditional registered agent. 
  • Business owners in Maine can designate themselves as their own commercial clerks.

Maryland

  • All Maryland businesses must maintain a registered agent to accept hand-delivered process documents, such as subpoenas and lawsuits.
  • Maryland registered agents are responsible for official mail correspondence from the Maryland SDAT (State Department of Assessment and Taxation). 

Massachusetts

  • A “resident agent” in MA is an interchangeable term with “registered agent.”
  • All LLCs and corporations in Massachusetts must have a registered agent. 
  • Must have a physical location in Massachusetts and be present at that address during normal business hours.
  • Individual business owners can be their own registered agents in Massachusetts.

Michigan

  • A “resident agent” in Michigan is an interchangeable term with “registered agent.”
  • Must be a Michigan resident, a Michigan corporation, a foreign corporation with a certificate of authority to transact business in Michigan.
  • Registered agents must have a physical address located within the state of Michigan.
  • Michigan LLCs or foreign LLCs authorized to transact business in this state can also be registered agents.

Minnesota

  • The name and address of registered agents in Minnesota will be listed on the Minnesota Secretary of State website.
  • Minnesota requires businesses to maintain a registered agent in each state where the company operates. 
  • All registered offices must have a physical address. P.O. boxes are not allowed. 

Mississippi

  • All business entities in Mississippi are required to have a registered agent. 
  • Mississippi business owners can be their own registered agents or hire a registered agent service.  
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent has not been appointed. 

Missouri

  • Missouri registered agents must be individuals who are residents of the state or be a company providing registered agent services. 
  • Missouri businesses must appoint a registered agent. 

Montana

  • Montana business entities must have a registered agent. 
  • 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.
  • Individuals can be their own registered agents in the state. 

Nebraska

  • Registered agents can be individuals residing in Nebraska or corporations authorized to transact business in Nebraska.
  • Registered agents must maintain a physical address in Nebraska (no P.O. boxes allowed).
  • Failure to maintain a registered agent and/or office can result in the administrative dissolution of the company. 

Nevada

  • All Nevada business entities must appoint a registered agent. 
  • You can be your own registered agent by choosing the “noncommercial registered agent” option on the business formation documents. 

New Hampshire

  • Must maintain a physical address in the state, known as a “registered office.”
  • New Hampshire LLCs and corporations have to appoint a registered agent. 
  • Must be state residents or a business providing registered agent services in the state.

New Jersey

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be state residents or be a company providing registered agent services.
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of New Jersey.

New Mexico

  • Any person or business entity with a physical address in New Mexico can be a registered agent.
  • New Mexico state law requires all registered business entities to appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in New Mexico.
  • A registered agent’s personal information is made public.

New York

  • New York registered agents can be a state resident, LLC, or a corporation with a physical address in the state.
  • LLCs must publish a summary of their articles of incorporation in two county newspapers, where the principal office address is located. 
  • New York business owners can be their own registered agents. 

North Carolina

  • North Carolina registered agents must be a state resident or company that provides registered agent services. 
  • All businesses registered within the state must appoint a registered agent with a physical address in the state.

North Dakota

  • North Dakota registered agents must be state residents or registered agent service. 
  • All businesses registered within the state must appoint a North Dakota-based registered agent.
  • The North Dakota Secretary of State will reject business filings if an agent hasn’t been appointed.

Ohio

  • In Ohio, registered agents are also known as “statutory agents.”
  • Statutory agents must have a physical address located in Ohio. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Ohio—provided they are state residents. 

Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma registered agents must maintain a physical office in the state.
  • Registered agents can be an individual who is a state resident or a company providing registered agent services. 

Oregon

  • All Oregon businesses must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Oregon business owners can be their own registered agents. 
  • Oregon registered agents must maintain a physical registered office and be available during regular business hours. 

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania businesses must appoint a registered agent during the business formation process. 
  • 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 owners can be their own registered agents in Pennsylvania. 

Rhode Island

  • All businesses registered in Rhode Island must appoint a registered agent.
  • 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

  • South Carolina LLCs and corporations are legally required to maintain a registered agent.
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of South Carolina.

South Dakota

  • All South Dakota corporations and LLCs must maintain a resisted agent. 
  • Registered agents must have a physical address in South Dakota and be available during business hours.
  • Individuals appointed as registered agents must be state residents. 

Tennessee

  • Tennessee business entities must appoint a registered agent. 
  • 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.
  • Agents must be available during normal business hours at a physical address in the state.

Texas

  • Texas registered agents must have a physical address (P.O. boxes are not allowed).
  • State law requires all businesses in the state to appoint a registered agent.
  • 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

  • All corporations and LLCs in Utah must appoint a registered agent.
  • Registered agents in Utah must maintain a physical address in the state, known as a “registered office.”
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of Utah.

Vermont

  • 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. 
  • An individual or business or nonprofit entity with a street and mailing address located in Vermont can all be registered agents.
  • All businesses registered in Vermont must appoint a registered agent. 

Virginia

  • Virginia business entities cannot be registered agents for their own business. 
  • Individuals can be registered agents in Virginia if they are state residents. 
  • Domestic companies are allowed to be registered agents in Virginia—provided they maintain a physical address in the state (no P.O. boxes).

Washington

  • All businesses registered in Washington must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Washington. 

Washington DC

  • 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

  • West Virginia LLCs and corporations need to have a registered agent.
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in West Virginia.
  • West Virginia registered agents have their names and addresses listed as public records.

Wisconsin

  • All businesses registered in Wisconsin must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Wisconsin. 

Wyoming

  • Wyoming corporations and LLCs have to appoint a registered agent. 
  • 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 reliable registered agent services for just $39, plus state fees for the first year. After that, you’ll have to pay $119 for the annual package. You can also avail of the à la carte registered agent service at $99 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.

Next Steps

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *