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Register a Foreign LLC in California

To register a foreign LLC in California, you must file a California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company with the California Secretary of State Document Filing Support Unit. You can submit this document by mail or in person. The Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company costs $70 to file. The following guide on registering a foreign LLC in California answers the most common questions about how to file the California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company, but you can also sign up for our California Foreign LLC service and let Northwest handle the details for you.

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Download the California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company. 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 LLC in California. All for free.

Foreign California LLC

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Foreign California LLC Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company

What does it cost to register a foreign LLC in California?

California charges $70 to register an out-of-state (“foreign”) limited liability company by mail, plus $5 if you want a certified copy. To register, you’ll submit Form LLC-5, the aptly named Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC), to the California Secretary of State. The state also requires foreign LLCs to submit an Initial Statement of Information within 90 days of registering, which brings your foreign LLC’s real registration total to at least $90.

If you’re willing to hand-deliver your Form LLC-5 to the California Secretary of State’s Sacramento office, you will pay an additional $15 counter drop-off fee (also called the “special handling fee”), and the state will prioritize your filing over documents received by mail. This speeds up the registration process a little, but California also offers several expediting options for businesses willing to hand deliver their documents to Sacramento. These expediting options include paying an additional $350 for 24-hour processing and a whopping $750 for same-day processing. The state won’t charge the $15 counter drop-off fee if your foreign LLC decides to go with one of the more expensive, expedited processing times.

These are fees charged by the state. When you hire Northwest to register your California foreign LLC, we can file your documents by mail for $315 in combined fees, or we can hire a courier service, for an additional courier service fee, to hand deliver your documents to Sacramento. The total cost of our in-person delivery options is $375 for a 12-day prioritized filing and $750 for 24-hour expedited filing. These totals include filing both Form LLC-5 and your LLC’s Initial Statement of Information, as well as a full year of our registered agent service.

How long does it take for the state to process the California Application for Registration?

Currently, California is processing mailed filings for foreign LLCs in around 20 business days. A hand-delivered application will typically get processed in around 12 business days, and the various expedited options include 24-hour processing, same-day processing, and 4-hour processing (each with its own filing fee).

When you hire Northwest to register your California foreign LLC, we can get your application processed in 20 business days ($315), 12 business days ($375), or one business day ($705).

What forms do I file with California to register my out of state LLC?

The Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (Form LLC-5) as well as a Certificate of Good Standing showing the corporation status and existence is required. To speed the processing of documents mailed in, you can provide a self-addressed envelope with a letter referencing the corporate name, contact name, return address, and telephone number.

What do I need from my home state?

A Certificate of Good Standing from the state where you formed your business.

Does it need to be an original copy?


How current does the certificate need to be?

The Certificate of Good Standing needs to be dated within 6 months of this filing.

Will I need an California registered agent for my LLC?

Yes. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent service, it’s a flat rate yearly price of $125 a year, and you’ll have an online account that tracks your report due dates, which states you are registered in, and when your yearly service with us is up. Additionally, 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 four people and your attorney at the same time for real time complete viewing of a lawsuit. You’ll also receive annual report reminders. Northwest’s registered agent service is 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 will be emailed to you immediately upon signing up for 1 year of registered agent service.

Does the California registered agent need to sign the filing?


How can I file the California Application for Registration?

By mail or in person.

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

California Secretary of State Document Filing Support Unit PO Box 944260 (Corps) PO Box 944228 (LLCs) Sacramento, CA 94244 or 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916)657-5448

Do the signatures on the California LLC application need to be original?


Who has to sign the foreign LLC filing?

A person with authority to sign under the laws of the state of organization of the foreign limited liability company needs to sign the application.

Are there any weird things about registering in California?

A foreign LLC may not render professional services in the State of California. If your business is required to be licensed, registered or certified, they recommended that you contact your licensing authority before filing with the Secretary of State’s Office.

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

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

The initial report is due within 90 days of your filing. The biennial CA Statement of Information is due every two years on the last day of the month your LLC registered with the state.

What about California taxes?

Your foreign LLC will have to pay taxes in California, just like any California LLC.

How do I withdraw my foreign LLC from California?

When you are no longer doing business in California, you can withdraw by filing a Certificate of Cancellation with the Secretary of State.

What are your registered agent fees?

You’ll need to have a California registered agent. We charge $125 a year to act as your registered agent in California. 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.


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