Every Foreign Qualification Service includes:
Packages start at $219 + state fees
Need to qualify in multiple states? Volume discounts may apply.
If your company plans to transact business in a state or states other than your state of incorporation, you may need to register your business in those states as a foreign LLC or corporation. This process is called foreign qualification.
There are many factors used to determine whether a company is transacting business in a state, and the criteria differ by state. Some criteria evaluated for foreign qualifications include:
If you are uncertain whether your particular business needs foreign qualification, or needs to register to transact business in another state, it’s best to seek the advice of an attorney or accountant.
Foreign qualifying your company in states where you transact business is not optional. It is a legal requirement. Failure to qualify a foreign LLC or corporation when you’ve been transacting business could result in:
Companies are considered “domestic” only in their state of incorporation; elsewhere they are a “foreign” entity. Foreign qualification is the process of filing the appropriate paperwork to register a foreign LLC or corporation to conduct business in another state. To foreign qualify your business, you may need to:
Our foreign qualification packages include access to business monitoring to help you stay on top of important future state filings. Unlike other providers of foreign qualification services, BizFilings provides you with alerts at no cost so you stay informed and compliant with any future state filings that are due. We offer:
As part of your foreign qualification package, you can select from several additional services your business may need to maintain legal compliance, such as:
When foreign qualifying a business, there is interaction with your state of incorporation and the intended state(s) of foreign qualification. BizFilings handles this interaction on your behalf, allowing you to dedicate your time to your business.
Doing Business in Other States
Keep in Mind
Companies are required to have a registered agent not only in the state of incorporation but also in any/all states of foreign qualification. Additionally, foreign LLCs or corporations may be subject to additional criteria in the foreign state.
Registered Agent Service
Check out frequently asked questions on foreign qualification:
C corporations, S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) transacting business in a state or states outside of their state of incorporation are often required to foreign qualify in those states. A corporation or LLC is considered to be domestic only in the state where it is incorporated. In all other states, your company is regarded as a "foreign" business entity. The process of foreign qualification notifies the other state(s) that a foreign corporation or LLC is transacting business there. The same is true for limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and nonprofit corporations. They are considered foreign LPs, LLPs or nonprofits in all states other than the state of incorporation.
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There are many factors used to determine whether a company is transacting business in a state, such as:
This is not a complete list and different states may have different criteria. For questions regarding whether your particular company needs to foreign qualify, talk with an attorney.
To foreign qualify you must file a Certificate of Authority, which is a document that grants a foreign corporation or limited liability company (LLC) permission to transact business in that state. Many states require a Certificate of Good Standing from your state of incorporation before granting a Certificate of Authority. The Certificate of Good Standing states your company has met all the necessary requirements for corporations or LLCs imposed by your state of incorporation. Obtainment of a Certificate of Good Standing, if required by your state of qualification, is included in BizFilings' Foreign Qualification Service.
Each state imposes a filing fee that must be paid when the Certificate of Authority is filed. These fees vary by state and entity type. Additionally, foreign corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) must pay taxes and annual report fees both in the state of incorporation and also in the state(s) of qualification on an ongoing basis.
There are no restrictions as to who can submit a foreign qualification filing. Anyone who prepares and files the Certificate of Authority and completes additional requirements (i.e. providing the Certificate of Good Standing) with the appropriate state agency is eligible to foreign qualify a business in that state.
No, an attorney is not a legal requirement to foreign qualify a business. You can prepare and file the Certificate of Authority yourself, but it’s good to understand the requirements of your intended state of qualification. You can use BizFilings to foreign qualify and save money on attorney fees. If you are unsure if a foreign qualification is required for your business, consult an attorney.
As with the incorporation documents, the type and amount of information each state requires differs. Commonly required information includes:
The following additional information is also requested by some states:
If your name is not available in the state of qualification, BizFilings will notify you and ask for a second name choice. You may also file for a doing business as (DBA) name for your company in the state of qualification to do business using a name other than the name on your Certificate of Authority.
Greenbush Telecom Inc. is a telecommunications company providing services in four other states. Greenbush is incorporated and maintains its headquarters in Georgia. It also offers its services in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee by employing contractors in these states. The company has offices and employees in these other states, and it offers services and accepts orders from residents of these states. Most likely, Greenbush Telecom would be required to foreign qualify in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee.
If this is later discovered that your company has been transacting business in a state and should have foreign qualified, your company will typically be subject to fines and penalties. It will also be liable for the back taxes for the period in which it transacted business in the state without being foreign qualified.
The second consequence of not foreign qualifying your business is that you could lose access to that state's court system until you file a foreign qualification. This means if an employee or customer within a state in which you are transacting business were to sue your company, you would not be able to defend the lawsuit in that state's courts because your company is not recognized as a business there. If this happened, your company typically would be given time to undertake the qualification process in order to allow you to defend such a lawsuit.
Because what is considered transacting business can be a gray area, talk with an attorney or accountant if you have questions as to whether your company is or will be considered to be doing business in a particular state.
Yes, BizFilings provides Registered Agent Service in all states. This allows you to have only one registered agent across all the states in which you foreign qualify your company. With BizFilings as your registered agent, we not only satisfy the state's legal requirement but also provide a number of benefits at no additional charge to you, such as: our monthly Registered Agent Watch email, access to BizComply─our online compliance management tool, electronic Service of Process delivery, 24/7 online access to your account and more.
BizFilings includes 6 months of our Registered Agent Service for free with our Foreign Qualification Service. You can also avoid interruption of this valuable service with our convenient auto-renewal program. For $199 for 1 year, your Registered Agent Service will automatically be renewed to help ensure you remain in good standing with your state(s) of qualification. You also have the option to select one of our multi-year renewal options. You can choose to renew for two years for $299 (save $99) or renew for three years for $399 (save $198).
Still not sure about how to conduct business in other states?
The following Toolkit resources can help you understand foreign qualification:
The following services are often needed by companies who are registering to transact business in another state:
When foreign qualifying a business, there is interaction with your state of incorporation and the intended state(s) of foreign qualification. BizFilings handles this interaction on your behalf, allowing you to dedicate your time to your business
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