What is an LLC Certificate of Organization?

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A Certificate of Organization for an LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a document that does either one of two things (depending on the state where you are forming your LLC):

1. In most states an LLC Certificate of Organization is a legal certificate from the Secretary of State showing that your LLC was duly formed and is recognized as a legal entity in that state. Usually in these states you file an Articles of Organization (or Certificate of Formation) and the state sends you back a Certificate of Organization.

2. In a few states an LLC Certificate of Organization is the actual document that you file with the Secretary of State’s office in order to form your LLC. Usually in these states you get back a stamped and approved copy of your Certificate of Organization.

Note: Don’t worry about trying to figure out which form goes with which state. We teach LLC formation for free in all 50 states. Just select your state guide here and we’ll walk you through the LLC filing.

How to Get a Certificate of Organization

You can download your state’s LLC Certificate of Organization by selecting your state here and then following the LLC filing instructions.

You can also visit the Secretary of State’s website to find the Certificate of Organization form (but the link above will save you time).

Who can file a Certificate of Organization?

Anyone can file the Certificate of Organization for your LLC. You can file it, another LLC member, or an authorized representative, such as an attorney or document filing company.

LLC Certificate of Organization vs. Articles of Organization

As mentioned earlier these documents usually do the same thing: they form/register your LLC with the state where you are filing. Different states call the “LLC formation documents” different things.

Sometimes you’ll form an LLC using a Certificate of Organization… other times you’ll form an LLC using an Articles of Organization (or Certificate of Formation). Again, it just depends on the state where you are forming an LLC.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. 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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How to form a US LLC

Non-US residents: If you want to form an LLC in the US, we recommend hiring doola.

doola specializes in forming US LLCs for international entrepreneurs.

They'll form your LLC, open your business bank account, and help with taxes. doola also has excellent customer service.

Hope that helps!

Matt Horwitz founder of LLC University
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator
LLC University®