How to Find a Registered Agent In Another State

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Cartoon woman holding Registered Agent State map

    If you are planning on doing business in another state, you will need a registered agent in that state. This is true for any state you do business in. If you are wondering how you go about getting a registered agent in another state, you are not alone. Fortunately, we are here to help!

    The following guide will tell you everything you need to know about finding a registered agent in another state. It’s not hard to do if you know where to get help. By using a high-quality national registered agent service, you can get a registered agent in any state where you want to open up shop.

    Note:

    Keep in mind that if you are planning to do business in another state, you will need more than a registered agent – you will also need to register your LLC in that state as well.

     

    What is a Registered Agent?

    A registered agent is an individual or service that is available during normal business hours to accept state and legal documents in person. The agent must have a physical address in the state where they can receive these documents.

    Most states use the term registered agent, but there are a few that refer to this position differently. “Statutory agent,” “resident agent,” and “agent for service of process” are all terms used to refer to registered agents.

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    Who Qualifies to Act as a Registered Agent?

    There are only a few requirements for being a registered agent. These include:

    • 18 years old or older
    • Physical address in the state
    • Available to receive service of process and state documents Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm

     

    With so few requirements, you could make many different people your registered agent, including yourself. We believe that hiring a registered agent service offers some significant advantages over doing it yourself or designating a friend, family member, or business associate. Let’s look at the different options:

    Acting as Your Own Registered Agent

    The least expensive option is to do it yourself. You can act as your own registered agent as long as you meet the above criteria. While that sounds simple enough at first, it’s worth considering what serving in that role would look like long term.

    If you are your own registered agent, you need to always be available during business hours to receive service of process and state documents. One of the advantages of running your own business is setting your own schedule – which is not an option if you are your registered agent.

    Another problem with this option is that your address becomes part of the public record. If you work from home, that means that others can find your address and send you junk mail and other offers. Even if you work out of an office if you are sued the service of process will come to your office and be delivered in front of everyone. But if you use a service, you avoid all these issues.

     

    Appointing an Individual as a Registered Agent

    You can appoint another individual as your registered agent. You could pick a friend, family member, or business associate. If you can find an individual that will do it for less than $99 per year or so, then you could save some money over using a service. However, the benefits may not outweigh the risks.

    Can you depend on this individual to always be available during business hours? Do you trust absolutely that they will keep any correspondence they receive confidential and well-organized? Will they notify you immediately when they receive something, scan the document, and make it available to you? They are only human, after all, and asking for perfection is a lot.

    In contrast, a registered agent service is a larger organization with strong systems in place and fail-safes. They can meet the demands of clients because they are not made up of one single individual.

     

    Using a Registered Agent Service

    A registered agent service gives you everything you need from a registered agent for a relatively low yearly price. Typically, you pay for registered agent services along with your LLC formation and state filing fees.

    Using a registered agent service ensures you meet the legal requirements of the state for maintaining a registered agent at the same time frees you to focus on your business instead of focusing on being available to receive documents.

    Some of the primary benefits we have found with registered agent services include:

    • Legal compliance. Using a service guarantees you meet state requirements for a registered agent.
    • Privacy. The service will be listed on the public record for state and service of process communications, not your business or home address. This is especially helpful if you work from home.
    • Flexibility. No need to stay glued to your business address to receive potential communications – they will do it for you.
    • Peace of mind. Work hard on your business while knowing that if you receive important documents, your service provider will let you know immediately.

    Tip:

    We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers a year of its registered agent service for free when you use the company to form your LLC ($29 + state fees).

     

    Do I Need a Registered Agent to Expand My Business in Another State?

    States require businesses to maintain a registered agent with a physical address in the state. If you want to do business in another state, you are expected to have a registered agent and registered office in that state. Getting a registered agent in each state you do business – as well as registering your LLC in each state you do business – is a fundamental part of expanding a business to other states.

    Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service in Another State

    There are multiple benefits to using a registered agent service in another state:

    • Can’t be two places at once. If you live in one state and do business in another, it’s impossible to be your own registered agent in both.
    • No need to find the perfect individual to be your agent. It’s hard enough to find the right individual in your home state – trying to do it in another state would be even more challenging.
    • Minimal work on your part. A national registered agent service will take care of all the details for you. Just sign up and move on to other matters.
    • Quick notification of service of process. If you get sued in another state, you need to know about it as soon as possible. A service will alert you, scan the document, and make it available for you to read right away.

    Recommended Registered Agent Service

    Northwest Registered Agent offers its registered agent service for one year when you form your LLC ($29 + state fees) with them.
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    What Happens if I Fail to Appoint a Registered Agent in Another State?

    If you are just starting to do business in another state, finding a registered agent might feel like too much of a hassle. What happens if you put off assigning a registered agent and just keep doing business?

    Typically, if you fail to appoint a registered agent your business will incur fines, fees, and other penalties from the state. It might take some time for the state government to realize you are operating without an agent, but when it does you can expect financial and legal hassles.

    Another big issue with having no registered agent is that you cannot litigate in court. If someone sues your company you may not even realize it if they can’t find your registered agent to serve you the papers. And once you do get served, you don’t have the option of defending yourself in court – which could be extremely bad for your business and your finances.




    How to Find a Registered Agent In Another State FAQ

    Why do I need a registered agent?

    You need a registered agent to receive state documents and service of process documents. If you are sued, you want to know about it as soon as possible to minimize the damage. A registered agent ensures you know.

    State law requires businesses to have a registered agent in the state, so you also need an agent to comply with the law.

     

    How much does it cost to hire a registered agent?

    It can cost anywhere from $99 to $300 or more a year to hire a registered agent. Typically, the more expensive the service the more features it offers – but not always.

    Read our guide on How Much Does A Registered Agent Cost to know the specific fees when it comes to using a registered agent service.

     

    Can anybody be a registered agent in the state where I want to do business?

    Anyone can be a registered agent in the state where you want to do business that meets the following criteria:

    • 18 years old or older
    • Physical address in the state
    • Available to receive service of process and state documents Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm

     

    Why should I use a registered agent service to conduct business in another state?

    You should use a registered agent to conduct business in another state because it’s required by state law. Failing to assign an agent can lead to penalties and other problems.




    Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated on June 2022.

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