How long does it take to form an LLC in California?

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Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee)
LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

Deal alert! Northwest will form your LLC for $39 (60% discount). See details.

You can form an LLC in California in 8 business days if you file online (or 3 weeks if you file by mail).

California LLC Processing Times

Normal LLC processing time:Expedited LLC:
California LLC by mail: 8 business days (plus mail time)Not available
California LLC online: 8 business daysNot available

What is LLC processing time? This is the time it takes for the state of California to review your LLC filing and enter it in their system. After your LLC is approved, the state sends back your approved documents electronically or by mail.

California LLC Approval Times

How long does it take to form an LLC in CaliforniaMail filings: In total, mail filing approvals for California LLCs take around 3 weeks. This accounts for the 8 business day processing time, plus the time your documents are in the mail.

Online filings: In total, online filing approvals for California LLCs take 8 business days. Since you can download your documents as soon as they’re approved by the Secretary of State, there is no extra transit time.

What is LLC approval time? This is the total turnaround time to get your LLC approved from start to finish. It includes the processing time plus any transit time to and from the state.

California expedited LLC

Since all LLC filings in California are approved within 8 business days, there is no expedited filing option.

What’s the fastest way to form an LLC in California?

The fastest way to form an LLC in California is to file yourself online. This option has the fastest approval time since you’re not waiting for documents to travel by mail.

Should I hire an LLC filing service in California?

Hiring an LLC filing service isn’t going to get your LLC approved any faster. Filing companies still have to wait for the state to approve your LLC.

However, the benefit of hiring a filing company isn’t to reduce LLC approval time. It’s to have someone else take care of the paperwork for you (and make sure it’s filed correctly).

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(Learn why Northwest is #1 in Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Why we recommend Northwest? Northwest Registered Agent has been in business for over 20 years and they have the best customer support. Our favorite thing about Northwest is that you can use their address throughout your LLC filing. This can provide you with additional privacy by keeping your address off public records. No other filing company offers this.

Even though Northwest is our favorite company, you may want to look at other companies and compare your options. Check out Best LLC Services in California for additional recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an LLC cost?

The one-time cost to start an LLC varies by state. There are also LLC Annual Fees to maintain your business that vary by state.

Here are the costs for a California LLC:

How to start an LLC in California?

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in California:

  1. Search your California LLC name
  2. Choose your California Registered Agent
  3. File California Articles of Organization with the state
  4. Sign your California LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN for your California LLC
  6. Open an LLC bank account
How long does it take to form an LLC in every state?

Important: Just because one state is faster than another doesn’t mean you should form your LLC there. If you form your LLC out-of-state, you’ll need to register it as a foreign LLC in your home state. For more information, please see the best state to form an LLC.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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