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What’s the difference between a Foreign LLC and a Domestic LLC?

When most people hear the word “Foreign LLC” they usually think this is an LLC formed outside of the United States. This is not the case. A Foreign LLC still refers to a US company. A Foreign LLC is an LLC that was formed in one state, but is now registering (also referred to as “qualifying”) to do business in a new state. A Domestic LLC is an LLC that was formed in its “home state” and that operates in this state.

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Foreign LLC Fees by State

The table in this article shows Foreign LLC registration fees (“qualification fees”) for all 50 states. The average Foreign LLC registration fee in the US is $186. The names of the forms required to register a Foreign LLC vary widely, but some of the most common names are “Foreign LLC Registration”, “Application for Registration of Foreign LLC”, and “Application for Certificate of Authority”.

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What is a Foreign LLC?

A foreign LLC is an LLC that was originally formed in one state but then registered to do business in another state. In essence, the LLC is “foreign” to the new state. The reason for this type of terminology is that every single state is governed by different laws. A Foreign LLC is not an LLC that is formed outside of the United States. The requirement to file for a Foreign LLC is usually to expand one’s business operations or to open an additional retail or brick-and-mortar location in a new state.

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What is a Multi-Member LLC (MMLLC)?

A Multi-Member LLC is abbreviated MMLLC and is the term used for an LLC that has 2 or more Members (owners). There are no limits* to the number of Members a Multi-Member LLC can have and the LLC Members can be individual people, or they can be companies (like another Corporation or LLC). The purpose of starting a Multi-Member LLC is protect the personal assets of the Members. LLCs – Limited Liability Companies – do just that; they limit the amount of liability the owners would be exposed to in the event of a lawsuit.

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What is a Single-Member LLC (SMLLC)?

A Single-Member LLC, abbreviated SMLLC, is an LLC with just 1 owner. An LLC owner is referred to as a Member, hence the name “single member” LLC. The purpose of forming an LLC is to protect the personal liability of the owners. Forming an LLC separates your personal assets from that of the business. All 50 states allow for Single-Member LLCs and this is the most popular type of LLCs formed in the United States.

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