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Register a Foreign Corporation in Iowa

To register a foreign corporation in Iowa, you must file an Iowa Application for Certificate of Authority with the Iowa Secretary of State, Business Services Division. You can submit this document by mail, by fax, or in person. The Application for Certificate of Authority for a foreign Iowa corporation costs $100 to file. Below, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about how to file the Application for Certificate of Authority and register a foreign corporation in Iowa. Or, sign up for our Iowa Foreign Corporation service, and we’ll handle your filing instead!

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Download the Iowa Application for Certificate of Authority. Fill out the form and submit it to the state.

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Our free account and tools will walk you through registering your Foreign Corporation in Iowa. All for free.

Iowa Foreign Corporation

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Free Guide to Registering a Foreign Corporation in Iowa

What does it cost to register a foreign corporation in Iowa?

$100 for normal processing.

How long does it take for the state to process the Iowa Certificate of Authority?

Online: 1 day
In Person Processing: while you wait.

How will I get verification of qualification back from Iowa?

A verification certificate and a filed copy of your application will be returned to you by mail.

What forms do I file with Iowa to qualify my out of State Corporation?

The Application for Certificate of Authority form and a Certificate of Existence.

What do I need from my home state?

A Certificate of Existence is required.

Does it need to be an original copy?


How current does the certificate need to be?

Authenticated within 90 days prior to the date of filing.

Will I need an Iowa registered agent for my corporation?

Yes, when you hire Northwest as your registered agent, it’s a flat rate yearly price of $125 a year, you’ll have an online account that tracks your report due dates, which states your registered in, when your yearly service with us is up, and any documents we receive locally for you are uploaded into your account immediately for complete viewing. If or when you get served with a lawsuit, we can email up to 4 people and your attorney at the same time for real time complete viewing of a lawsuit. You’ll receive annual report reminders for your Iowa corporation. It’s the same price every year, and there are no weird fees or cancellation fees.

You’ll also see all the pre-populated forms and specific filing instructions on the thank you page, in your online account, and they are emailed to you immediately upon signing up for 1 year of registered agent service in Iowa.

Does the Iowa registered agent need to sign the filing?


How can I file the Iowa Certificate of Authority?

By mail, fax or in person.

What is the state agency that accepts the out of state registration?

Iowa Secretary of State
Business Services Division
Lucas Building, 1st Floor
DesMoines, IA 50319
Phone: (515)281-5204
Fax: (515)242-5953 or (515)281-7142

Do the signatures on the Iowa corporation application need to be original?


Who has to sign the foreign corporation filing?

The Chairman of the Board, an officer or an incorporator must sign the application form.

Are there any weird things about registering in Iowa?

The reporting requirements changed January 1, 2009.

County filing or publication is not necessary for foreign corporations, unless specifically required by the county in which your registered agent resides.

Are there ongoing Iowa annual report and/or initial reporting requirements?

The first biennial report is due between January 1 and April 1 of the first even-numbered year following the calendar year in which your foreign corporation was authorized to transact business. Subsequent IA biennial reports must be filed between January 1 and April 1 of the following even-numbered calendar years.

What are your fees?

You’ll need to have an Iowa registered agent. We charge $125 a year to act as your registered agent in Iowa. It’s a flat rate, once a year fee, and includes more than other registered agents. Here’s a little more about our registered agent service.

We charge a $100 one-time filing service fee if you would like us to obtain the certificates needed from your home state, and register your company in any state you choose. We have offices in every state and can act as your registered agent and make your filings for you in any state. If you would like to register with multiple states at once, we can usually drop our filing service fee down.

Additional IA Corporation Resources:

Iowa Taxes

Withdraw a Foreign Iowa Corporation

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