File a Certificate of Formation to form an LLC in Alabama
In this lesson, we will walk through filing your Certificate of Formation. This is the document that officially forms your Alabama LLC.
Changes to Alabama LLCs beginning 2021
Act 2020-73 made large changes to the Alabama Business and Nonprofit Entities Code. LLC formation is now a lot easier in Alabama! You are no longer required to file with the Probate Judge. And the Certificate of Formation can be done entirely online. For more details on what changed, please see Alabama LLCs no longer file with the Probate Judge.
Alabama LLC filing fee ($200 + $28)
The filing fee for an LLC in Alabama is $200. This is a one-time filing fee.
The $200 LLC fee is the same for both online and mail filings.
How much is an LLC in Alabama shows you all the fees you’ll pay to start an LLC.
Note: The “LLC filing fee” (the fee to create an Alabama LLC) is the same thing as the “Certificate of Formation fee”. The Certificate of Formation is the document that, once approved by the Secretary of State, creates your Alabama LLC.
Most states don’t require an LLC Name Reservation, but Alabama does. We recommend filing this online ($28) because it’s processed and approved instantly. The LLC Name Reservation can actually be filed together with the Certificate of Formation online. The instructions are below on this page.
Alabama LLC filing methods
You can form an LLC in Alabama by mail or online. If you want to hire a company to form your LLC, check out Best LLC Services in Alabama.
The fees are very similar whether you file online or by mail.
If you file by mail, the total cost will be $228. That’s $200 for the Certificate of Formation and $28 for the LLC Name Reservation (assuming you filed it online).
If you file online, the total cost will be $236. It’s the same $200 for the Certificate of Formation and $28 for the LLC Name Reservation, however, there is an extra $8 fee for filing the Certificate of Formation online.
If you file by mail, your Alabama LLC will be approved in 1-2 business days (plus mail time). Your LLC approval will be returned via physical mail.
If you file online, your Alabama LLC will be approved immediately. Your LLC approval will be returned via email.
Note: Filing times may take longer due to government delays. For the most up-to-date LLC processing times, check how long does it take to get an LLC in Alabama.
LLC University® recommendation:
We recommend the online filing (instructions below) as it’s much easier to complete, approval happens immediately, and it’s a lot easier to download your LLC approval.
Note: The only exception to this is if you are forming a Professional LLC (PLLC). In that case, both the LLC Name Reservation and the Certificate of Formation must be filed by mail. You must also include a copy of your professional license with both filings.
Alabama LLC mail filing:
If you prefer to file the Certificate of Formation by mail (instead of online), the instructions below on this page will help guide you. You’ll need to:
- Download the paper Certificate of Formation (revised 09/2022)
- The form cannot be handwritten, it must be completed on your computer
- Pay by check, money order, or credit card ($200)
- If paying by check or money order, make payable to “Secretary of State”
- You need to send two copies of the Certificate of Formation and a self-addressed and stamped envelope
- Include a copy of your LLC Name Reservation Certificate
- Send everything to: Secretary of State, Business Services, PO Box 5616, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5616
- If you don’t include 2 copies of the Certificate of Formation and a self-addressed and stamped envelope, you’ll need to purchase a copy of your LLC approval via the Business Entity Record Copies page
LLC University® prior lessons:
You need to file an LLC Name Reservation & select a Registered Agent for your LLC before filing your Certificate of Formation. Make sure you’ve read the prior lessons before proceeding:
How to form your Alabama LLC online with the Secretary of State (filing your Certificate of Formation online)
- Visit Alabama Secretary of State: Online Services
- Click Domestic Business Filing
- Click “Domestic Formation”
- Scroll down and click “Non-Subscriber”
Enter your contact information and your address and click “Continue”.
The email address you enter here is where the state will send your LLC approval document (a stamped and approved Certificate of Formation). This email address doesn’t have to be a “business email”. You can use any email address you’d like.
Note: Your contact information and address entered here are private (not on public records) and are not made part of your LLC filing. This is just contact information that the Secretary of State may use in case they have any questions about your filing.
- The address can be any address you’d like.
- It doesn’t have to be an address used on your LLC filing.
- The address can be located in any state or in any country.
Alabama LLC Name Reservation
- Prior lesson: Make sure you’ve read the Alabama LLC Name Reservation lesson before proceeding.
Already have an LLC Name Reservation?
If you’ve already filed an LLC Name Reservation and obtained an LLC Name Reservation Certificate, enter your Reservation ID Number at the bottom.
Don’t have a Name Reservation?
Enter your desired Alabama LLC name and click “Continue”
Type of Reservation: Select “Domestic“.
Type of Entity: Select “Limited Liability Company (LLC)“.
Note: A Foreign LLC is an LLC formed in another state that is registering to do business in Alabama.
You’ll then have the option to file only the Name Reservation or file the Name Reservation and the Certificate of Formation.
Click “File of Formation Data“.
The Requestor is the person (or company) that is reserving the Alabama LLC name.
If this is the same information you entered earlier, you can click the link at the top to copy/paste the information.
If the Requestor is a different person, enter their information here.
Make sure to select “Organization” or “Individual”.
Confirm the LLC name information is correct by checking the box.
- Prior lesson: Make sure you’ve read Alabama LLC Registered Agent before proceeding.
Which county should I put here?
The county that goes here is the county where your Registered Agent’s address is located.
If you or someone you know will be your LLC’s Registered Agent, enter the county where their address is located.
If you hired Northwest Registered Agent, their address is in Houston County.
If you hired another Commercial Registered Agent, you’ll need to contact them to determine which county to use.
Select “Limited Liability Company”.
Delayed Effective Date (optional)
- Related article: We recommend reading LLC effective date. If you’re forming your LLC later in the year (October, November, or December), it may be better to forward-date your filing to January 1st next year.
If you would like your LLC to become effective (go into existence) on the date it’s processed by the Alabama Secretary of State, you can leave this blank.
If you want your LLC to become effective on a future date, enter that date here in this formation: month/day/year. For example, 01/01/2024.
If you are using a delayed effective date, the date can’t be more than 90 days ahead.
Can I back-date my filing?
No, your filing will not be accepted if you enter a date in the past.
- Prior lesson: Make sure you’ve read Alabama LLC Registered Agent before proceeding, and check out Is a Registered Agent an LLC Member? for more clarity.
Select whether your LLC’s Registered Agent is an Individual or Organization, enter their contact information, check the box, and click “Continue”.
If your Registered Agent is an Individual:
- Select “Individual” at the top
- Enter their last name and first name
- Enter their office address (doesn’t have to be an actual “office”) and check the box
- Enter their mailing address (if different than the office address) or click the link to copy the office address
If your Registered Agent is an Organization:
Note: You’ll need to login to your online account with your Registered Agent to get their address.
- Select “Organization” at the top
- Click the blue search link and search for your Commercial Registered Agent’s name
- Select their name in the list (the Entity ID Number will auto-fill)
- Enter their office address and check the box
- Enter their mailing address (if different than the office address) or click the link to copy the office address
- Related articles: We recommend reading LLC Organizer vs LLC Member and Registered Agent vs LLC Organizer
An LLC Organizer is the person (or company) who signs and submits the Certificate of Formation to the state.
An LLC Organizer (while they may also be an LLC Member) doesn’t automatically become an LLC Member by signing the Certificate of Formation. LLC Members are listed in the Alabama LLC Operating Agreement.
For most people forming their own LLC, they are the LLC Organizer.
What’s confusing about this section of the online filing is it says “Organizer Information is Optional“.
This doesn’t mean the Organizer is optional (it’s required), but rather that their contact information isn’t required.
Note: As per Section 10A-5A-2.01(a) of the Alabama Code, your LLC’s Certificate of Formation must be signed by an Organizer.
So you can skip entering the LLC Organizer’s information (they’ll just sign later) and click “Continue”.
Document Uploads (Adding Members to Certificate of Formation)
This section is optional, however, it can be used to upload any additional documents along with your LLC filing.
If you are not uploading any attachments, just click “Continue”.
LLC Members (owners) are not required to be listed in the Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation (they are listed in the Alabama LLC Operating Agreement). However some people may want to publicly list who owns the LLC. If that’s the case, you can upload an attachment listing the LLC Members.
We’ve provided a form that you can use. It’s available in PDF and Microsoft Word format:
- Adding Members to Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation (PDF)
- Adding Members to Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation (Word)
Feel free to add or remove sections/lines as needed by editing the Word document.
Also, you are not required to list the address of the Members. So if you just want to just list the names of the Members and not the addresses, edit the Word document and remove the address lines.
If you are editing the Word document, it must be converted to a PDF file before uploading it to your online filing. In Microsoft Word, click File > Save As > and select PDF from the File Format list.
Summary & Signature
- Related article: We recommend reading Member-managed vs Manager-managed LLC before proceeding.
Review your LLC filing. Check for accuracy and look for any typos.
Click the “Edit” buttons if you need to make any changes.
If all looks good, you can now sign your filing. Sign your name, enter your title, check the box, and click “Continue”.
Enter your first and last name in the Electronic Signature box.
Enter your title in the Title box:
- If your LLC is Member-managed, your title will be “Managing Member“.
- If your LLC is Manager-managed and you are a Member, your title will be “Member“.
- If your LLC is Manager-managed and you are the Manager, your title will be “Manager“.
- Alternatively, regardless of how your LLC is managed, you can use the title “Organizer” (instead of signing as the Member or Manager) and then sign a Statement of LLC Organizer (Note: this document doesn’t get sent to the state; it’s a private and internal document)
Note: There is an extra $8 “processing fee” when filing online. The information entered on this page is private (not on public records) and is not made a part of your LLC filing.
Enter your contact information and billing information and submit your online payment.
Congratulations! Your Certificate of Formation has been successfully submitted to the state.
Your Alabama LLC will be approved immediately.
Alabama LLC approval time (online filing)
When filing your Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation online, it will be processed and approved immediately.
You will receive a download link via email within a few minutes. It will be sent to the email address you entered in the “Contact Information” section.
Important: Make sure to save your LLC approval document, which will be a stamped and approved copy of your Certificate of Formation. The download link will only last for 15 days.
If you don’t download the stamped and approved LLC Certificate of Formation within 15 days or you lose it, you’ll need to order a copy (see Business Entity Record Copies) and pay a small processing fee.
We recommend saving a copy on your computer and printing out a few physical copies as well.
Alabama Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Alabama Secretary of State: Business Services at 334-242-5324.
Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm Eastern Time.
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Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entities Division Fees
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entities – LLCs
Alabama Secretary of State: Act 2020-73
Alabama Legislature: Code of Alabama
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-5A-1.01
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-5A-1.04
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-5A-2.01
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-5A-2.04
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-2.01
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-2.02
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-3.01
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-3.03
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-3.04
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-3.05
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.01
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.02
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.03
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.04
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.05
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.11
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.12
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.13
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.14
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-4.15