Before forming your North Dakota LLC by filing the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, you need to select a Registered Agent for your LLC.
A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC in case your business gets sued.
In North Dakota, a Registered Agent can also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.
Your Registered Agent must have a street address in North Dakota (PO Boxes are not allowed).
Your Registered Agent in North Dakota must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process for an LLC includes delivery of documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent in North Dakota?
When forming an LLC in North Dakota, you have 3 options:
Option 1: You can be your own Registered Agent.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Important: If your Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual needs to be a resident of North Dakota.
How Do I Know Which Registered Agent to Choose?
- If you have a street address located in North Dakota (such as a home or office), and are available during business hours, you can list yourself as the Registered Agent.
- If you don’t have a street address in North Dakota, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They need to have a street address in North Dakota and be available during business hours.
- If you don’t have a street address in North Dakota, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Using a Commercial Registered Agent for your North Dakota LLC offers more privacy and is usually a more reliable setup.
Note: you cannot list your LLC name as the name of your Registered Agent.
Commercial Registered Agents in North Dakota
A Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of your North Dakota LLC. They typically charge between $100-$300 per year.
Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your North Dakota LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents as well.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent in North Dakota, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use ourselves) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public record.
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in North Dakota start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Articles of Organization get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.
If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address throughout your Articles of Organization. Northwest Registered Agent provides this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your Articles of Organization.
Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.
Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
Are there risks if you, a friend, or family member are your LLC’s North Dakota Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection.
For example, if the North Dakota Secretary of State is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to terminate your LLC.
Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s North Dakota Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), a court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it. Worse, the court could enter a default judgment against your LLC if you aren’t there to defend yourself.
A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent in North Dakota:
- you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours
- you/they are on vacation
- you/they moved and you forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the North Dakota Secretary of State
Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent in North Dakota is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address with the state if you move.
Many Commercial Registered Agents will also help keep your North Dakota LLC in compliance by sending you reminders of ongoing annual reporting requirements.
Once you determine who will serve as your North Dakota LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: North Dakota LLC Articles of Organization.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent in North Dakota, please do so before going to the next step.
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Wikipedia: Registered Agent
SCORE: What is a Registered Agent
North Dakota Secretary of State: Registered Agents
North Dakota Secretary of State: Registered Agent FAQs
North Dakota Century Code: Chapter 10-01.1 Registered Agents Act