How to Start an LLC in Virginia (Step-by-Step) 2024 Guide

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Starting an LLC, step-by-step

Starting a Virginia LLC costs $100. And it takes 5 days to get one.

How to start an LLCThere are 6 steps to forming an LLC:

  1. Choose an LLC Name
  2. Select a Registered Agent
  3. File Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. Register for a Tax Account

If you want to form your LLC yourself, follow our free guide below.

If you want someone to take care of it for you, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent

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

(We recommend Northwest. We've reviewed all the top companies in the industry. And Northwest is our #1 pick for prices, customer support, and address privacy. Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom to learn more.)

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Virginia?

It costs $100 to start an LLC. And then it costs $50 per year.

What are these fees for?

  • The $100 is to file the Articles of Organization – the document that creates an LLC.
  • The $50 per year is for your Annual Fee – a mandatory fee that keeps your LLC in good standing.

To learn more about LLC Costs, see LLC Costs in Virginia.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Virginia?

If you file your LLC by mail, it will be approved in 2-5 business days (plus mail time).

But if you file online, your LLC will be approved in 2-5 business days.

Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in Virginia to check for any delays.

Here are the steps to forming an LLC

1. Search your LLC Name

LLC namesSearch your Virginia LLC Name to make sure it’s available in the state.

You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same name.

First, search your business name and compare it to existing businesses in the state.

You can make sure the LLC Name you want is unique from existing businesses using the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Business Entity Search.

Second, familiarize yourself with the state’s business name rules (so your LLC gets approved).

We’ll explain both in more detail here: Virginia LLC Name.

2. Choose a Virginia Registered Agent

The next step is to choose a Registered Agent.

Registered AgentA Virginia Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail and state notices on behalf of your Limited Liability Company.

Who can be an LLC Registered Agent?

You have 3 options for who can be the Registered Agent:

  • You
  • A friend or family member
  • A Registered Agent Service

The Registered Agent for your LLC must have a physical street address in Virginia. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.

And the Registered Agent’s name and address will be listed on public records.

If you don’t have an address in Virginia, or you want more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC.

We recommend Northwest Registered Agent

Our favorite feature about Northwest is they’ll let you use their registered office address throughout your LLC filing. This way, you can keep your address off public records.

They’ll also scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account.

Northwest has excellent customer service, and they’re who we trust to be our own Registered Agent.

Special offer: Hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), and you'll get a free year of Registered Agent service.

(Why is Northwest the best? Read our Northwest Registered Agent review)

3. File LLC Articles of Organization

Articles of OrganizationTo start an LLC, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC).

It costs $100 to file Virginia Articles of Organization online.

This is a one-time fee to create your LLC.

If you want to file this yourself, see our step-by-step guide: Virginia Articles of Organization.

Or, you can hire a company to do it for you.

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)

4. Create a Virginia LLC Operating Agreement

Operating AgreementAn LLC Operating Agreement serves as a “companion” document to the Articles of Organization.

The Articles of Organization creates your LLC, and the Operating Agreement shows who owns the LLC.

Additionally, some banks require an Operating Agreement when you open an LLC bank account.

And having an Operating Agreement will be very helpful if you ever end up in court. Reason being, it helps prove that your LLC is being run properly.

That’s why we recommend that all LLCs have an Operating Agreement – including Single-Member LLCs.

Furthermore, an Operating Agreement is an “internal document“. Meaning, you don’t need to file it with the state or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Just keep a copy with your business records.

You can download a free template below.

Then, learn how to fill it out by watching our step-by-step Virginia Operating Agreement video.

Download a free LLC Operating Agreement:
Member-managed: Google DocWordPDF
Manager-managed: Google DocWord

(What's better? See Member-managed vs Manager-managed LLC)

5. Get an EIN for your LLC

The next step is to get a Virginia EIN Number from the IRS for your LLC.

Note: An EIN Number is also called a Federal Tax ID Number or Federal Employer Identification Number.

EIN Number for an LLCAn EIN Number is used to:

  • identify your LLC for tax purposes
  • open a business bank account
  • apply for business licenses and permits
How much does an EIN cost?

Getting an EIN Number from the IRS is completely free.

How long does it take to get an EIN?

If you apply online, it takes 15 minutes.

If you apply by mail or fax, it can take 1-3 months.

How can I get an EIN?

US Citizens/US Residents: If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online. Follow these instructions: Apply for an EIN online.

Non-US Residents: You can’t get an EIN online, but you can still get one by fax or by mail. Follow these instructions: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

6. Register for a Virginia Tax Account & Business Licenses

Business LicenseGood news! Virginia doesn’t have a state general business license requirement.

However, you do have to register with the Department of Taxation and get a Virginia State Tax Account Number.

This state tax account number is required to do business in the state, and is different from your LLC’s federal EIN number.

Depending on where your LLC is located, you may also need a local business license or permit.

For example, if you want to start a daycare, you may need a business license from the city or county.

You can learn more on our Virginia Business License page.

What do I do after my LLC is approved?

After your LLC is approved, there are some additional steps.

LLC business bank account

You’ll want to open a business bank account for your LLC.

This makes accounting and record-keeping much easier for your business finances.

Having a separate business bank account also maintains your personal liability protection. This is because it keeps your business entity finances separate from your personal finances.

File your LLC Annual Registration Fee

LLC Annual Report

All Virginia LLCs must pay an Annual Fee every year.

The Annual Fee keeps your LLC in good standing with the state.

Note: In Virginia, the Annual Registration Fee is also called the Annual Fee. You may also see this called an Annual Report, but that is incorrect.

In Virginia, only Corporations file an Annual Report. LLCs don’t file an Annual Report. LLCs only need to pay the Annual Registration Fee.

How much does a Virginia LLC Annual Fee cost?

The Annual Fee costs $50 per year.

When is the Annual Fee due?

Your LLC’s Annual Fee is due by the last day of your LLC’s anniversary month, every year.

For example, if your LLC was approved on March 15, your Annual Fee is due by March 31 every year.

When is my first Annual Fee due?

Your first Annual Fee is due the year after your LLC was approved.

For example, if your LLC was approved on March 15, 2024, your first Annual Fee is due by March 31, 2025.

How do I file my LLC Annual Fee?

You can pay your LLC’s Annual Fee online or by mail. We recommend paying online because it’s easier to complete.

We have step-by-step instructions for the mail and online filings here: Virginia LLC Annual Report.

File and pay taxes

LLCs don’t pay federal taxes. Instead, the LLC Members pay the taxes for the LLC.

Said another way, the owners pay taxes for the LLC as a part of their personal tax return.

How will my LLC be taxed?

By default, an LLC is taxed by the IRS based on the number of owners your LLC has:

  • A Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
  • A Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership.

Alternatively, you can ask the IRS to tax your LLC like a C-Corporation or S-Corporation.

Besides federal taxes, there are also state and local income taxes – and sales tax. Learn more in Virginia LLC Taxes.

How to Start an LLC in Virginia FAQs

Can I start an LLC online in Virginia?

Yes, you can file your LLC online. The Articles of Organization filing fee is $100.

When you start your LLC online, it will be approved in 2-5 business days.

What are the benefits of an LLC?

The first benefit of an LLC is protecting your personal assets. Meaning, if your business is sued, your personal assets – like your home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected.

This protection applies to all LLC owners (called LLC Members). It doesn’t matter if you have a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC. All of the LLC owners are protected from the business debts and liabilities.

This type of protection wouldn’t apply if you operate as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. With these types of informal business structures, the owners aren’t protected in the event of a lawsuit. For that reason, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a much more popular business structure.

Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. This means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members pay the taxes on their personal tax return.

And Virginia state income taxes are very similar, since the state honors the federal tax treatment of your LLC.

To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.

Is Virginia a good state to start an LLC?

Whether Virginia is a good state to start an LLC depends on where you live – and where you’re doing business.

Meaning, if you live in or do business in Virginia, then you should start your LLC there. While many websites talk about tax rates and advantages of certain states, none of that applies if it’s not the state where you live and do business.

For example, if you form an LLC in Delaware, but live in and conduct business in Virginia, you’ll also need to register your Delaware LLC in Virginia (and pay extra fees). And you’ll end up paying Virginia taxes anyway. This ends up leading to more costs and more headaches with no advantages.

In summary, if you live in and conduct business in Virginia, then yes, it’s a good state to start a business. If you don’t live in and do business in Virginia, then no, it isn’t a good state to start a business.

Real estate exception: If you’re purchasing real estate outside of Virginia, you should form your LLC in the state where the property is located.

For more information, please see Best State to Form an LLC.

What is the difference between a Domestic LLC, a Foreign LLC, and a PLLC?

The main differences between Domestic LLCs, Foreign LLCs, and Professional LLCs are where they are formed and their business purpose.

A Domestic Limited Liability Company is an LLC that is formed in its “home state”, meaning, where the business owner lives and does business.

For example, if you live in and do business in Georgia, you would form your Domestic LLC in Georgia.

A Foreign Limited Liability Company is an LLC that is formed in a state that isn’t its home state. In this case, the term “foreign” simply means that the LLC is foreign to its “home state”.

For example, if you live in and do business in Georgia, you would form your Domestic LLC in Georgia. If you later expand into Florida, you would register your existing Georgia LLC as a Foreign LLC in Florida.

Said another way, LLCs are created at the state-level.

So if you want your LLC to do business in two separate states, you have to form or register an LLC in both states.

This works by forming a Domestic LLC in your home state, and a Foreign LLC in the other state.

What is a PLLC?

A Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) is a type of LLC formed for the purpose of providing “professional services”.

In this case, “professional” refers to business types that require special permissions (like a license, registration, or certification from the state) in order to do business legally.

For example, architects, attorneys, and social work counselors, doctors, and veterinarians often form their business practices as PLLCs.

You can read more about PLLCs, their availability, and their stricter requirements in: What’s a Professional LLC?

And for more information on Foreign and Domestic LLCs, please see:

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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45 comments on “Virginia LLC”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. Hello! Quick question. I currently am stationed in VA for the military. I’m from Texas so VA is not my home of residence technically. Should I register for an LLC in VA or Texas? Let me know. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Jordan, what type of business are you starting? Where will you operate it? Do you think you’ll return to Texas?

      • I’m starting a furniture refinishing business. And when I’m out of the navy I’ll return to Texas but that’s not anytime soon. So I will be operating in VA for the time being.

        • I see, thank you. I’d consider forming an LLC in Texas, then registering it as a foreign LLC in Virginia. This way, your Texas LLC is authorized to do business in Virginia. Then when you move back to Texas, you can cancel/withdraw the foreign qualification in Virginia. Hope that helps.

  2. I have an single member LLC in Virginia with it’s own FEIN and want to convert a multi-member or Partnership LLC in Virginia. I know that I need a new FEIN. Can I use the same company legal name or does that have to change. I am adding a spouse so we want to keep the name the same. Is there any issue with the IRS or VA or both? Thank you

    • Hi David, you don’t need a new EIN for the LLC. Here’s the steps to go through. You’ll first need to transfer part of your 100% LLC Membership Interest to your spouse. This can be done via an Assignment of LLC Membership Interest. Then you’ll amend the LLC Operating Agreement (or create a new one that supersedes the original) showing that there are now two Members. You don’t need to amend the Virginia LLC Articles of Organization because Members aren’t listed publicly (it’s private, in the LLC Operating Agreement).

      Once the LLC has 2 or more Members, it is recognized by the IRS – and the Virginia Department of Taxation – as a Partnership (for tax purposes). You don’t need a new EIN. You’ll just need to file a 1065 Partnership Return every year with the IRS. I’d recommend speaking with an accountant as well about what needs to be filed with the Virginia Department of Taxation; typically a state-level Partnership Return.

      It might also be best to work with a local attorney, particularly for the transfer of LLC Membership Interest and Operating Agreement amendment.

      And to answer your original question, yes, you can use the same LLC name, because it’s the same LLC (there’s just a new Member). Hope that helps.

  3. Hey I live in a county in Virginia where I don’t need a business license to sell stuff, I will be making/selling vinyl decals, t-shirts, and décor items. Should I get a business license, registration and make an LLC anyway? I will be working/making them at home if that helps.

    • Hi Dylan, it’s certainly your choice whether to form an LLC or operate as a Sole Proprietorship. You are not required to form an LLC. We have more information here: LLC vs Sole Proprietorship. Hope that helps.

  4. hi, I was trying to create LLC via online process on VASCC ( Virginia state website) and i tumbled upon a step which says upload attachment, it doesn’t mention anything on what this attachment is about or what form/ document to be submitted. Can you pls guide ?

    Additionally, we have 2 member LLC, one is obviously the RA, but other member is no where to be listed, does that mean, I need to absolutely file the Operating agreement which list all the members or where else i can list all the members ? as the Operating agreement is not mandatory for state of virginia LLC creation.
    Thanx for your help.

    • Hi Sam, the attachment part is optional and isn’t used by most people. You can just skip it. The LLC Members (owners) are not listed in the Virginia Articles of Organization. The Members are listed in the LLC Operating Agreement. For a great paper trail though, you can have the LLC Organizer(s) sign a Statement of LLC Organizer. You and/or your partner can be the LLC Organizer(s) (Virginia allows for more than 1 Organizer). So you and/or your partner can sign the Statement of Organizer. It’ll basically say that you both organized the LLC and that you are both Members. This document is like the “connection point” between the Articles of Organization and the Operating Agreement. However, officially, the LLC membership (ownership) really occurs in the Operating Agreement. But again, this just keeps everything really organized and easy to follow. You don’t need to file your Operating Agreement with the state. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi Matt Horowitz,

    Thank you for this wonderful information!

    I have a small online retail (e-commerce) business. Though I live in California, only a fraction of my sales are to California customers. I really don’t do enough in revenue to afford the annual $800 for a CA LLC, but it is limiting my ability to grow, since some distributors won’t do business with me if I don’t have an EIN. And of course, I would want to to be another step removed from a sole proprietorship in terms of indemnity.

    In this situation, does it actually make sense for me to register an LLC in a different state? It’s a catch-22 as long as I’m in CA, I’m afraid.

    I appreciate your thoughts.

    Jeffrey

  6. Hello,

    Thank you so much for all the information you’re providing, it’s been really helpful!
    I filed to register an LLC at December 21st, 2018. Would that mean I would need to file for tax in 2018? I just received the certificate of organization but have not yet filed for EIN.

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Susan, you’re very welcome! You’ll want to have a conversation with an accountant in Virginia, as we’re not sure about any state or local returns that may need to be filed. Hope that helps.

  7. Hi,
    I want to establish an architect and designing service website. I designed for clients in DC and submitted the set of drawings to DCRA to get Building Permit. Now I live abroad and want to run a business in DC via the website (freelancer). VA llc cost is cheaper than DC. Can I have the LLC registered in VA and have my online business in DC. Could you please help me? Thanks

    • Hi DK, you may want to check with the DCRA, however, it sounds like you’re still doing business in the District. So even if you formed an LLC in VA, it’s likely you’ll need to register as a Foreign LLC in the District of Columbia. Hope that helps.

  8. Hi,
    My siblings and I inherited our parents property. It has been probated. We wish to keep the property and rent it out. How do I set up a multi member LLC that includes us all?

    • Hi Sandy, if the property is in Virginia and you’re forming a Virginia LLC, you’d file the Articles of Organization (which doesn’t list the Members) and then have all Members sign a Virginia LLC Operating Agreement. The Operating Agreement is where the membership is set. Hope that helps.

  9. Hi,

    I need to form a PLLC in Virginia (as a licensed psychologist). Does this also cover PLLC formation? From what I’ve read so far, they would need confirm my license status and the state board of Psychology would also need to approve the business formation? Could you share what the prices is for this? Thanks!

    • Hi LRB, our lessons don’t go into the details of PLLC formation, however, the process is very similar. Instead of filing Articles of Organization (Form LLC-1011), you’ll be filing Articles of Organization (Form LLC-1103). The forms are very similar, except that Form LLC-1103 asks for the type of professional services being rendered. You may need to follow-up on the following, but it doesn’t look there are any requirements for the Virginia State Corporation Commission to verify your license. We’re not sure about whether the Board of Psychology will need to approve the PLLC filing, needs a copy of the AOO after the fact, or they don’t need anything at all, so you’ll need to reach out to them. The filing fee for a PLLC is the same as a regular LLC; both are $100. Hope that helps!

  10. My husband and daughter decided to start a take out restaurant. Because it was just them two, they assumed that they had to form a general partnership. When they started to open a bank account the banker told them that it was best to become an LLC. They had already been assigned a EIN under the partnership, because we didn’t know that there is an order to this. Well now I am being added as an owner so I wrote to IRS to cancel the current EIN so that we can apply for a new one as an LLC. My question is am I doing this correctly?

    • Hi Susan, sort of. You’ll first want to cancel the first EIN. You don’t have to wait for that to go through before forming an LLC. Wait for your LLC to be approved by the state. After the LLC is approved, then get a new EIN for the LLC. Hope that helps.

  11. Mark, I live in Virginia and everyone tells me I should create the LLC in Delaware, is that a good way to go?

    • Hi Jo, if you’re living and doing business in Virginia, then that’s where the LLC needs to be registered. You can either form a Domestic LLC in Virginia or you can form a Domestic LLC in Delaware and then register it as a Foreign LLC in Virginia. If you form in Delaware and then register as a Foreign LLC in Virginia, you’ll need to pay LLC filing fees and LLC annual fees in both states. I recommend reading the following two articles: what’s the best LLC state and why you shouldn’t form an LLC in Delaware. Hope that helps.

  12. Thanks. That was a terrific tutorial. Easy to follow and exactly what I needed to get my LLC up and running in Virginia.

    A colleague recommended to me that I register for Subchapter S filing status with the IRS. Any comments with regard to that?

    • You’re very welcome! I would consider the Subchapter S filing once your net income reaches a reasonable amount. For most filers, this is not always the case for the first year in business, however, we have all the details here: LLC taxed as S-Corp. Hope that helps!

  13. Hi Matt,
    I am expanding my real estate portfolio and decided to form an LLC. I spoke with someone who recommended setting up a separate LLC for each rental property for peace of mind. I currently reside in VA and have a property in CA. Will I need to form an LLC in the state in which my property resides in? CA fees are high so I am looking into all of my options. Also, if my husband and I are the only members would we be forming an LLC Partnership?

    • Hi Michelle, yes, since you’re doing business in California, you should form an LLC in California. And yes, the California Annual Franchise Tax is expensive, but that is the cost of doing business in the state. You’ll also want to speak with a few accountants regarding any additional tax filings that you may need to make in California. The proper way to explain a Multi-Member LLC is that you are forming an LLC that is taxed as a Partnership. You are not “forming” an LLC Partnership. Said another way, you simply form an LLC. Then the IRS taxes your LLC like a Partnership. I know there’s a lot of links already in this reply (lol!), but do also check out how LLCs are taxed. I think that will help. Best wishes!

  14. Let’s say I set up an LLC in Virginia, but move to Florida. Can I still operate with that company or do I need another type of entity to be able to operate across state borders?

    • Hi Faith, there are usually 3 ways to “move” an LLC. Domesticate the LLC from Virginia to Florida, shut down the Virginia LLC then form a Florida LLC, or register the Virginia LLC as a Foreign LLC in Florida. How soon are you moving to Florida? If relatively soon, you could also consider just forming the LLC in Florida. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you so much for your help. I may just register a new LLC altogether in Florida as I anticipate moving between both states quite a bit. The plan is to work in Virginia during Spring and Summer and do similar work in Florida during Autumn and Winter…getting to be that age, you see :)

        • Hi Faith, I hear you. Sounds nice :) I think the Florida LLC would be a good route to go then. In terms of setting up an address, Florida is a unique state in that they specifically allow your Registered Agent address (as well as all other addresses on the Articles of Organization) to be a virtual office, private mailbox, or commercial mail receiving agency. So you could set up an address with The UPS Store (or similar company) and use that to form your Florida LLC. You can also serve as your Florida LLC’s Registered Agent to save money. If you’re going to setup an address like that, we’ve put together a private mailbox questionnaire which should help you find the best one to go with. Hope that helps!

        • Matt,

          I’m in a similar situation as Faith. When bouncing between states every few years, would it be best to have an LLC in both states or register one as a foreign-LLC?

          • Hey Edward, taking into considering your comment from the other webpage, I think forming a Domestic LLC in Florida is the way to go, then registering as a Foreign LLC in the state where you are for a few years. Hope that helps.

  15. Hey Matt,

    Your videos walked me right through this process. I had no idea who to turn to, but once I came across your info on YouTube, I just ate up the information. I sent my paperwork yesterday to become an LLC. Thank you!

    How long does it usually take for them to let you know if they have approved your LLC?

    • Hey Laskishia, SO AWESOME to hear!! Congratulations! Virginia LLCs are typically approved by the state in 10-15 business days. Hope that helps!

  16. I am the only member of my llc and would like to add a non member as a signer on the business account in case of emergencies…does her ability to draw from the account dissolve upon my death?

    • Hi Cheryl, I imagine it does not, but I’d check with the bank (as I’m not 100% sure), since adding this non-member as a signer would be done with the bank, and likely on their documentation. Whichever option you choose, I’d also draft a separate document (or add to your Operating Agreement) which includes your desired outcome. Also keep in mind, that if you pass away, and even with an agreement in place, that might not stop someone from continuing to draw on the account.

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