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Online Business Registration: North Dakota is Up and Running

It’s been a long time coming, but North Dakota’s new online business and licensing system, FirstStop, is now available for business registrations. In the past few years, online business registration has become the norm across the US—compared to paper filings, online filings generally require much less time and labor to process. Although slow to implement online filing, North Dakota’s new system is more comprehensive than many other states, with a wide range of available forms.

North Dakota’s FirstStop

Just this year, North Dakota adopted FirstStop for online business filings. Prior to 2019, the North Dakota Secretary of State Office required mailed or faxed forms for everything from business registrations to annual reports. So why is North Dakota so late to the game? It’s not for a lack of trying.

State funding for First-Stop was initially appropriated back in 2015, but the project proved more complicated than anticipated. After a series of setbacks and delays year, the Secretary of State Office finally began rolling out FirstStop in stages this year. In January, the focus was on giving existing businesses, contractors and lobbyists PINs to access their information on the site. In mid-February, the state began transferring its many business forms to FirstStop.

As of now, over 30 different business forms can now be filled out and filed online, including domestic and foreign registrations for:

  • LLCs, LPs, LLP,s LLLPs, business corporations, and farm/ranch corporations
  • professional LLCs, LLPs and corps
  • nonprofit LLCs and corporations
  • cooperative associations

Other forms—from name reservations to charitable organization registration statements—can now be filed online as well. The state’s goal is to shift away from paper filings and eventually phase them out.

Online Business Registration Across the US

North Dakota is one of the last few states to adopt online business registration. Currently, nearly every US state offers online business registration to some degree. Most states offer forms that can be completed and filed online. In West Virginia, you can even email your business registration.

A few states, however, are a little more restricted in their online business registrations. For instance, North Carolina requires real signatures so the state doesn’t offer an online form—but does offer online submission for scanned documents. A few states offer online formation for some entities but not others. For instance, you can register a domestic California LLC or New Mexico LLC online but not a corporation. Only a few states have very restricted online business registration (such as Alabama, which is limited by county) or none at all (here’s looking at you, Maine).

Form Your Business Online Today

Whether your state offers online business registration or not, you can still start an LLC or corporation from the comfort of your couch with Northwest Registered Agent, LLC.

Sign up online, and we’ll not only complete and submit your filing, but we’ll also provide you expert registered agent service and give you key business documents, such as an operating agreement or bylaws.

Form Your New LLC or Corporation!
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