State-by-State Guide: Understanding Registered Agent Requirements Across the US

While establishing businesses in the U.S., entrepreneurs sometimes overlook the requirement of a registered agent to handle government documentation.

This can lead to dire consequences, such as missing important government communication. This can be easily tackled by hiring a professional registered agent.

This article will review the requirements for having a registered agent in every U.S. state.

What Is a Registered Agent?

While starting a U.S. business, founders and owners must appoint an individual or an entity to receive legal correspondence on the company’s behalf.

This role is crucial because it ensures that a company remains compliant with state laws and promptly receives essential correspondence such as service of process, tax notices, and compliance documents.

General Requirements for Registered Agents

Across most states, the requirements for registered agents include having a physical address in the state (no P.O. boxes), being available during normal business hours, and being either a state resident or a business entity authorized to operate in the state.

Related article: Do I Need a Registered Agent for My LLC?

Individuals serving as their own registered agents must also meet these criteria.

State-by-State Guide

State-by-State Guide

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Alabama

Registered agents in Alabama must have a physical address in the state and be available during business hours. If business owners are residents of Alabama, they can serve as their own registered agents. Alternatively, businesses can hire a registered agent company with an office in Alabama.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Alaska

Alaska requires all registered businesses to appoint a registered agent with a physical address. P.O. boxes are not acceptable. Since they are state residents, business owners can act as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Arizona

In Arizona, registered or statutory agents must have a physical office in the state. P.O. boxes are not allowed. Businesses must appoint a registered agent before they can legally operate.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Arkansas

Arkansas allows any person or entity with a physical address to serve as a 

registered agent. Business owners, family members, and lawyers can all be designated. State law of Arkansas requires all businesses to appoint a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ California

Registered agents in California, referred to as agents for service of process, 

can be either a registered agent service or an individual who is a state resident. Corporations and LLCs cannot act as their registered agents but can appoint a compliant individual or business.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Colorado

In Colorado, registered agents must be at least 18 years old and have a physical address. Both individuals and companies providing registered agent services are acceptable.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Connecticut

Connecticut requires registered agents to maintain a physical address, and P.O. boxes are prohibited. Individuals must be 18, or businesses can provide registered agent services.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Delaware

Delaware mandates that all corporations and LLCs maintain a registered agent with a physical address. Business owners who are state residents can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Florida

Florida registered agents must have a physical address and be available during business hours. Business owners forming an LLC or corporation can act as their registered agents. The state will only accept business filings if an agent is appointed.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Georgia

In Georgia, LLCs can appoint an individual who is a state resident or use a corporation registered in Georgia as the registered agent. All registered agents must have a physical office address in the state.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Hawaii

Hawaii requires registered agents to be state residents or business entities registered in Hawaii with a physical street address. Business owners who meet these criteria can act as their own registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Idaho

All business entities in Idaho must appoint a registered agent. The agent’s information is public, and filings will only be accepted if an agent has been appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Illinois

Illinois registered agents must have a physical address and be available during regular business hours. The Secretary of State will be served on the business’s behalf if an agent cannot be contacted. All businesses are required to have a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Indiana

Indiana requires registered agents to have a physical address in the state and be available during business hours. Individuals and companies providing registered agent services are acceptable.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iowa

In Iowa, registered agents must be residents of the state. The company’s secretary will be served if a registered agent is unreachable. Business filings must include a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Kansas

Kansas requires corporations and LLCs to have a registered agent with a physical address. Agents can be companies providing registered agent services or individuals who are state residents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Kentucky

Registered agents in Kentucky must be state residents or companies providing registered agent services. The agent must acknowledge their duties during the formation process. All businesses must appoint a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Louisiana

All businesses in Louisiana must appoint a registered agent. Individuals can act as their registered agents. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Maine

In Maine, “commercial clerk” is used instead of registered agent. Business owners can designate themselves as commercial clerks if they meet the state’s requirements.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Maryland

Maryland requires all businesses to maintain a registered agent who will be the point of contact with the state on behalf of the business. The agent must accept all process documents and official mail from the State Department of Assessment and Taxation.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Massachusetts

Massachusetts requires all LLCs and corporations to have a resident agent aka registered agent. Business owners can serve as their registered agents if they meet the requirements.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Michigan

Registered agents in Michigan, sometimes called resident agents, must have a physical address in the state. If they meet the criteria, business owners can serve as their own registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Minnesota

The Secretary of State’s website lists registered agents’ names and addresses in Minnesota. Businesses must maintain a registered agent in each state, and all registered offices must have a physical address.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Mississippi

In Mississippi, all business entities are required to have a registered agent. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents or hire a service.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Missouri

Registered agents in Missouri must be state residents or companies providing registered agent services. They must acknowledge their duties to the Secretary of State. All registered businesses must appoint a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Montana

All business entities in Montana must have a registered agent. If an agent is unreachable, the company’s secretary will be served. Individuals can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Nebraska

To become a registered agent in Nebraska, the agent must acknowledge their duties to the Secretary of State and maintain a physical address in the state. Individuals acting as agents must be residents or authorized to conduct business in the state.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Nevada

Nevada requires all business entities to appoint a registered agent. If they meet the criteria, business owners can choose the “noncommercial registered agent” option on their formation documents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ New Hampshire

All businesses in the state of New Hampshire must appoint a registered agent. The agent must have a physical address in the state and be a resident or a business providing registered agent services.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ New Jersey

Registered agents in New Jersey must be legally adult and state residents or companies providing registered agent services. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ New Mexico

New Mexico law requires all registered business entities to appoint a registered agent. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ New York

Registered agents in New York must be state residents, LLCs, or corporations with a physical address. LLCs must publish a summary of their articles of incorporation in county newspapers. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ North Carolina

North Carolina requires registered agents to be state residents or companies providing registered agent services. All businesses must appoint a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ North Dakota

Registered agents in North Dakota must be state residents or companies providing registered agent services. Business filings will not be accepted if they do not include a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Ohio

Registered agents in Ohio, also known as statutory agents, must have a physical address. Business owners can serve as their registered agents if they meet the criteria.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Oklahoma

Registered agents in Oklahoma must maintain a physical office in the state and be available during business hours. They can be state residents or companies providing registered agent services.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Oregon

All businesses in Oregon must appoint a registered agent. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents if they meet the criteria.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Pennsylvania

State law requires all businesses to appoint a registered agent during formation. If a registered agent in Pennsylvania is unreachable, the company’s secretary will be served. Owners can also act as their own registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Rhode Island

All businesses in Rhode Island must appoint a registered agent. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents if they meet the criteria.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Carolina

LLCs and corporations in South Carolina must maintain a registered agent, but business owners can serve as their own registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Dakota

All businesses in South Dakota must appoint a registered agent. Registered agents must have a physical address in the state and be available during business hours. Individuals must be residents of the state.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Tennessee

All business entities in the state of Tennessee must appoint a registered agent. Business owners can serve as their registered agents. Registered agent information becomes a public record.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Texas

Texas registered agents must have a physical address, and P.O. boxes are prohibited. All businesses must appoint a registered agent. However, business owners can serve as their registered agents if they meet the criteria.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Utah

All business entities in Utah must appoint a registered agent and maintain a physical presence in the state. Business owners can also serve as their own registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Vermont

Registered agents in Vermont, sometimes called process agents, must have a physical address in the state. All businesses must appoint a registered agent.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Virginia

In Virginia, business entities cannot be their registered agents. Individuals can serve as registered agents if they are state residents. Domestic companies providing registered agent services must have a physical address in the state.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Washington

All businesses in Washington must appoint a registered agent. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ West Virginia

All companies in West Virginia are legally mandated to have a registered agent. Business owners can serve as their agents. Registered agent information becomes a public record.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Wisconsin

All businesses in Wisconsin must appoint a registered agent with a physical address. Filings will only be accepted if an agent is appointed. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Wyoming

Corporations and LLCs in Wyoming must appoint a registered agent. All agents must sign a Consent to Appointment by Registered Agent form. Business owners can serve as their registered agents.

Key Differences and Similarities

While most states share standard requirements for registered agents, such as maintaining a physical address and availability during business hours, there are notable differences.

For example, Maine uses “commercial clerk” instead of registered agent, which can cause confusion.

Registered agents’ core responsibilities and legal obligations remain consistent despite these differences. 

They act as a critical point of contact for receiving legal documents, ensuring that businesses comply with state regulations and do not miss important communications.

How to Choose the Right Registered Agent

How to Choose the Right Registered Agent

Selecting the right registered agent is crucial for maintaining compliance and ensuring that your business receives essential legal and tax documents promptly. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a registered agent:

โœ… Availability

Ensure the registered agent is available during standard business hours to receive documents. This is a fundamental requirement across all states.

โœ… Physical Address

The agent must have a physical address in the state where your business is registered. P.O. boxes are not acceptable.

โœ… Reliability

Choose a registered agent with a proven track record of reliability and professionalism. They should promptly forward all received documents to you.

โœ… Professional Services

Consider the benefits of hiring a professional registered agent service. These services ensure that all documents are handled properly and can provide additional features such as compliance tracking and document management.

โœ… Costs

While cost is essential, it should not be the sole consideration. The cheapest option may provide lower service and reliability than your business needs.

Why doola Should Be Your Preferred Registered Agent

Having exceptional expertise in shaping the entrepreneurial dream for thousands of founders, we have gained strategic insights into what it takes to be a registered agent for businesses. 

Therefore, our superior registered agent services allow you to focus on your core businesses while we handle government correspondence on your behalf.

Sign up today to see the difference a responsible registered agent can bring to your business.

FAQs

FAQ

What is the role of a registered agent?

A registered agent is responsible for receiving legal and government documents on behalf of a business. This includes service of process, tax notices, and compliance documents, ensuring the company stays compliant with state laws.

Can I serve as my registered agent?

Yes, in most states, business owners can serve as their registered agents, provided they meet the state’s requirements, such as having a physical address in the state and being available during business hours.

What are the consequences of not having a registered agent?

Please appoint a registered agent to ensure important legal and government documents are included, which can lead to penalties, fines, and even the dissolution of the business entity.

How do I choose the right registered agent service?

When selecting a registered agent service, consider factors such as availability during business hours, having a physical address in the state, reliability, privacy protection, and the range of professional services offered.

Why should I consider using a professional registered agent service like doola?

A professional service like doola ensures that all legal documents are handled promptly and efficiently. This allows business owners to focus on their core operations while ensuring compliance with state regulations and maintaining privacy.

doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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