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Register a District of Columbia Foreign LLC

A District of Columbia Foreign LLC is an LLC that does business in Washington, DC but was organized elsewhere. To do business in DC, you must register your foreign LLC with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations Division (DCRA) and pay the $220 filing fee. (Add an extra $50 for 3-day filing or an extra $100 for same-day filing.) DC’s Office of Tax and Revenue defines the following activities as doing business: having employees or solicitors engaged in retail sales; maintaining office, warehouse, or distribution space; selling, delivering, or furnishing of tangible property or services.

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How To Register a Foreign LLC in DC

To register a foreign LLC in the District of Columbia, you’ll need to file a Foreign Registration Statement with the DCRA and pay the $220 filing fee. The process is called foreign qualification, and it allows you to do business in DC without having to form an entirely new LLC. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to foreign qualify your LLC in the District of Columbia.

1. Appoint a DC registered agent

First things first, your LLC is going to need a District of Columbia registered agent in order to register as a foreign LLC. Your registered agent will need to have a street address in DC and be available during regular business hours in order to accept legal notices and other official state documents on behalf of your LLC.

Can I be the registered agent for my DC foreign LLC?

Unless you live in Washington, DC, you won’t be able to act as your own registered agent there. This means that you’ll either need to ask a trusted person who lives in DC to perform the role or hire a professional registered agent service.

Why should I use a registered agent service?

One of the main benefits of hiring a professional registered agent is that they can protect your privacy by listing their address instead of yours on your business paperwork whenever possible, which helps to keep your personal information off DC’s public record.

2. Get a Certificate of Good Standing

Your next step is to get a Certificate of Good Standing from your LLC’s home state. This certificate will prove to DC that your LLC was formed legally, has been properly maintained, has paid all its fees and taxes, and is still active in its home jurisdiction. One important thing to remember: DC will only accept an original Certificate of Good Standing that has been issued within the last 90 days.

How do I get a Certificate of Good Standing?

The cost and process for obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing depends on where your LLC calls home, but in most states, you can request it online and receive it immediately.

3. Complete the Foreign Registration Statement

Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it’s time to fill out your Foreign Registration Statement and get ready to do business in the nation’s capital.

Here is the information you’ll need to include on your Foreign Registration Statement:

  • Entity name and type.
  • Alternate business name if original name not available.
  • Original state of registration and date of formation.
  • Date your LLC plans to start transacting business in DC.
  • Principal office address in the state or jurisdiction where your LLC was originally organized.
  • Registered agent’s name and address.
  • Quick description of what your LLC does.
  • Names and residence and business addresses of any members or managers that own 10% or more of the business or members/managers that have the power to operate the business on a day-to-day basis.
  • Name and signature of the person authorized to sign the form. This doesn’t have to be someone affiliated with your LLC.

Don’t forget, before you submit your Foreign Registration Statement to the DCRA, you will also need to attach a recent (no more than 90 days old) Certificate of Good Standing from your LLC’s home state.

Ready to get down to business? Register your foreign LLC in the District of Columbia with Northwest.

How much does it cost to file the Foreign Registration Statement in DC?

Regular filings (online or by mail) cost $220. If you choose to file in person, DC will charge you a $100 expedited fee for same-day service in addition to the regular $220 filing fee. Online and mail filings can also choose expedited service: $50 for 3-day processing, or $100 for same-day service.

How do I file my Foreign Registration Statement in District of Columbia?

The DCRA accepts online, mail, and in person filings.

By mail:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

In person:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
Business License Center
1100 4th Street, SW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Online: CorpOnline

Do foreign LLCs need to file Articles of Organization in Washington, DC?

No. Your LLC is already formed, so you don’t need to file Articles of Organization in DC. Only a domestic DC LLC needs Articles of Organization with the DCRA, which makes it domestic in DC. To do business as a foreign LLC, you simply need to file the Foreign Registration Statement, which basically asks the District of Columbia for permission to operate as an LLC within the jurisdiction.

4. Receive your Certificate of Registration

Once the DCRA has accepted your Foreign Registration Statement, they will issue your LLC a Certificate of Registration that will state that your LLC is registered to do business in DC. If you file online or by mail, the DCRA will mail you a stamped copy. If you file in person, you’ll be required to pay $100 for expedited service, but you won’t have to wait around for your certificate.

How long will it take DC to process my Foreign Registration Statement?

Regular filings take about 15 business days to process (add extra time for mailed filings). You can also pay an extra $50 for three-day processing, or an extra $100 for same-day processing.

Washington DC FAQ

DC Foreign LLC Registration FAQ

How do I amend a foreign LLC in District of Columbia?

To amend a foreign LLC, you’ll need to file an Amendment of Foreign Registration Statement and pay the $220 filing fee. Once filed, it may take the DCRA about 15 business days to process the amendment to your LLC. In a hurry? You can pay $50 for a turnaround of 3 days, or $100 for one-day processing.

What does it mean to do business in District of Columbia?

DC is pretty transparent with the activities that it doesn’t count as doing business. For instance, according to DC Code § 29–105.05, neither selling through independent contractors nor maintaining an account in a financial institution counts as doing business in DC. However, it is a pretty good bet that you’ll need to register your LLC as a foreign LLC in DC if your business is engaged in any of the following:

  • hires or has employees in DC
  • owns or leases a warehouse, storefront, office, or other facility
  • offers services, sells products in state
  • needs to apply for a DC business or occupational license
  • pays sales tax and other taxes associated with the business

Read more about what counts as doing business in another state.

Do I have to file a District of Columbia biennial report for my foreign LLC?

Yes. Your first DC Biennial Report will be due by April 1st the year after registering your LLC. This means that if you registered your LLC in June, your first biennial report will be due April 1st of the following year and every two years after. The fee is $300, and you can file online, by mail, or in person. As usual, all in-person filings will be assessed a $100 filing fee and expedited one-day service.

How are foreign LLCs in District of Columbia taxed?

Foreign LLCs with default tax classification in DC are taxed just like domestic LLCs—as pass-through entities. This means that the LLC itself doesn’t pay taxes. Instead the members of the LLC report their share of business income and expenses on their personal tax return. LLCs also have the tax flexibility to register as an S-corp or C-corp.

How can I withdraw my foreign LLC?

In order to withdraw your foreign LLC in DC, you’ll need to file a Withdrawal of Foreign Registration Statement with the DCRA. You can file the withdrawal by mail or in person. The filing fee is $220. You can speed up the filing process by paying an extra $50 for 3-day processing or $100 for one-day processing.

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