Last updated September 30, 2020
Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Good Standing (“Subsistence Certificate”)
Certificate of Good Standing, aka Subsistence Certificate
A Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Good Standing (“Subsistence Certificate”) is an official letter from the Bureau of Corporations (division of Pennsylvania Department of State) that states your LLC is in good standing.
Although this Subsistence Certificate is not required when forming a Pennsylvania LLC, it may be needed if you need to register your Pennsylvania LLC as a Foreign LLC in another state.
There are two ways you can order a Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Good Standing (“Subsistence Certificate”):
- Order online via PENN File
- Send in a request letter by mail
If you order online, you’ll be able to download your Subsistence Certificate in 1-2 business days.
If you order by mail, the state will mail your Subsistence Certificate in 7-10 business days.
$40 fee for Subsistence Certificate
The fee for a PA Subsistence Certificate is $40. The fee is the same for both the online request and the mail-in request.
LLC University® recommendation
We recommend ordering your Subsistence Certificate online. The process is easier to complete and the approval time is much quicker.
Certificate of Good Standing (Subsistence Certificate) via PENN File
- Login to your PENN File account (or create one if needed).
- Click on “Search Business Entities” at the top, search your LLC name, and click on your LLC name in the results.
- Scroll down to “Certified Documents”, check off “Subsistence Certificate”, and click “Proceed to Cart”.
- Click “Checkout”, enter your billing information, and finalize your payment to the state.
- The Pennsylvania Department of State will send you an email with your Subsistence Certificate attached in 1-2 business days.
Certificate of Good Standing (Subsistence Certificate) via Mail-in Request Letter
- While the video below is still accurate, it’s is a bit older and only shows how to request a Subsistence Certificate by mailing in a Request Letter
- The video states you can mail in your request along with the Certificate of Organization and Docketing Statement (if you’re forming your LLC by mail). This is no longer the case. If you’re ordering a Subsistence Certificate by mail, send it in a separate envelope a few days later.
A Certificate of Good Standing is a document issued by the State of Pennsylvania that confirms that a business has all the necessary formation paperwork in and that all fees have been paid. In other word, this certificate confirms that the business is on “good terms” with the State and that it continues to be in existence. Here’s an example of a Certificate of Good Standing. You’ll notice it has the date, the name of the LLC, and then it states that the LLC “is duly organized with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”. It is not a requirement to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in order to form an LLC, but it is beneficial to 1 on file. A Certificate of Good Standing may be requested by your bank if you are opening an account or by a title company if your LLC is purchasing real estate. If you currently do or if you plan to do business in States other than Pennsylvania, you will need to register your LLC in those States (also known as “jurisdictions”) as what is known as a “foreign LLC” or a “foreign entity”. Those States will request to see a copy of your Pennsylvania Certificate of Good Standing prior to granting permission and approval. Upon approval, some States issue what is known as a “Certificate of Authority”. The cost to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in Pennsylvania is $40. Like the Certificate of Organization payment, you can either send in a personal check or money order. Your payment should be made payable to “Department of State”. If you’re filing your Certificate of Organization and a request for a Certificate of Good Standing at the same time, place them in separate envelopes even though they are going to the same address. We once sent them in the same envelope and after we received the stamped and approved Certificate of Authorization, we called to find out where Certificate of Good Standing was and the State couldn’t find it. After multiple phone calls and emails, they were still unable to locate our request. We ended up having send in another request along with another payment of $40. Learn from our mistakes and you can send them in separate envelopes. In just a moment, we will show you the request letter that you will send to the Department of State. You will send this letter along with your payment of $40 to: “Department of State, Corporation Bureau, PO Box 8722, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722. Feel free to pause this video and write down that address. Let’s take a look at the request letter now. The request letter is fairly simple and straight to the point. In the upper-right hand corner, you’re going to write today’s date, and you’ll see here in the blue ink you can just delete this once you get the Word document. You’re going to replace this with the name of your LLC, write the name and address of where you’d like the document sent to, your name and phone number at the bottom, and then once you print it out, you’re going to sign in the space below here. Mail this 1-page document along with your payment to the Corporation Bureau and within 7-10 business days, you’ll receive your Certificate of Good Standing.
- Download the Request for Certificate of Good Standing (PDF).
- Prepare a check or money order for $40 and make it payable to “Department of State”.
- Mail your request letter and $40 to: Bureau of Corporations, P.O. Box 8722, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722.
- The Pennsylvania Department of State will mail you back your Subsistence Certificate in 7-10 business days.