Register a Georgia Foreign LLC
A Georgia Foreign LLC is a limited liability company that was formed outside of the state but does business in Georgia. You can register as a foreign LLC in Georgia by filing a Certificate of Authority application with the Secretary of State and paying the state filing fee. ($225 online or $235 by mail. Add an extra $100 for expedited filing.) Georgia's legal statutes do not clearly define what it means to do business in the state, but common reasons for registering as a foreign LLC include owning or leasing property, paying employees, or providing professional or retail services in the state.
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How to Register a Foreign LLC in Georgia
To register your out-of-state LLC in Georgia, you’ll have to file an Application for Certificate of Authority. The process to register a foreign LLC is called foreign qualification. Here’s how you do it:
1. Appoint a Georgia Registered Agent
You’ll need a Georgia registered agent to handle service of process on behalf of your company. This person or entity must have a physical address in Georgia and be willing and able to forward legal notices to your company.
Can I be the registered agent for my Georgia LLC?
You can, but only if you live in Georgia. Otherwise, your best option is to hire a professional Registered Agent Service.
Why hire a registered agent service?
A registered agent service can help you protect your privacy by allowing you to use their address on your LLC’s registration documents instead of your own.
2. Complete the Application for Certificate of Authority
You can find a copy of Georgia’s Application for Certificate of Authority for Foreign Limited Liability Company on the Secretary of State’s website or register to complete the form online. Here’s what you’ll need to include:
- Primary email address of LLC
- Name of LLC
- Date LLC will begin (or began) doing business in Georgia
- “Forced” other trade name or DBA (only if your original LLC name is already taken)
- Name, physical address, email address, and phone number of person filing on behalf of LLC
- Name of LLC, name of jurisdiction, date of formation, and period of duration in LLC’s state of formation
- Mailing address of your LLC’s principal place of business
- Name, email address, and physical address of your registered agent in Georgia
- Name and address of LLC manager or member (if member-managed)
- Physical address where your LLC records are maintained
- Effective date (either “upon filing” or a date within 90 days of filing)
- Signature of an authorized person
- Payment of $225 (plus $10 if filing via mail)
Ready to do business in The Peach State? You can Register Your Foreign LLC in Georgia now with Northwest.
How much does it cost to file the Certificate of Authority of a Foreign LLC in Georgia?
Georgia charges $225 to submit your Application for Certificate of Authority online and $235 to file by mail. If you need expedited filing, the state charges an additional $100 for two-day processing or $250 for same-day processing. (Note that if you need same-day processing, you’ll have to submit your application to the state before noon on a business day.)
How do I file the Certificate of Authority?
You may submit your Application for Certificate of Authority online or by mail.
Office of Secretary of State
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Do foreign LLCs need to file Georgia Articles of Organization?
No. You would only have to file Georgia LLC Articles of Organization if you were forming your company in Georgia. As an out-of-state LLC, you simply have to register as a foreign LLC to do business in the state.
Do I need a Certificate of Good Standing?
No. While some states require LLCs to provide a Certificate of Good Standing from their home state along with their foreign LLC application, Georgia does not.
3. Receive your Verification of Registration
After Georgia approves your application to register as a foreign LLC in the state, you will receive a Georgia Certificate of Authority in the mail. Keep this document for your records.
How long will it take Georgia to process my Certificate of Authority application?
Georgia typically processes online filings in about a week. Mailed filings can take up to two weeks (plan additional time for mailing). If you’re in a hurry you can pay the state an extra $100 for two-day processing or $250 for same-day processing.
Georgia Foreign LLC Registration FAQ
How do I amend a foreign LLC in Georgia?
You can amend your foreign Georgia LLC by filling out an Application for Amended Certificate of Authority of a Foreign Entity. This form can be sent to the Georgia Secretary of State, Corporations Division online ($20) or by mail ($30).
What does doing business mean in Georgia?
Like many states, Georgia doesn’t list the activities that qualify as doing business. Instead, O.C.G.A. § 14-11-702 specifies what’s NOT considered doing business—such as maintaining Georgia bank accounts, using independent contractors, or making loans.
But in general, doing business includes:
- Owning or leasing property
- Conducting business or trade
- Providing professional services
- Employing workers or contractors
If you’re not sure whether you need to register your foreign LLC with the state, consult a business attorney to make sure you’re following the law.
For more, see our resource on What Exactly Does “Doing Business” in Another State Mean?
Does a foreign LLC have to file an annual report in Georgia?
Yes. To maintain the legal authority to do business in Georgia, you’ll have to file a Georgia Annual Report (called the Annual Registration) on behalf of your foreign LLC. The due date is April 1st, and the fee is $50 online ($60 by mail).
How are foreign LLCs in Georgia taxed?
Georgia foreign LLCs are subject to the same Georgia Taxes as domestic Georgia LLCs.
How can I withdraw my Georgia foreign LLC?
To withdraw your Georgia foreign LLC, you’ll have to file an Application for Withdrawal of Certificate of Authority. There is no fee to file online, and a $10 fee to submit your application via mail.