When forming an LLC, who is the Registered Agent?

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When forming an LLC it is state requirement that you to designate a Registered Agent.

This is how the US court and legal system works. If somebody wants to sue a company, there needs to be reliable person (or company) and a reliable street address where court documents, such as a subpoena, summons, petition, or complaint, can be served.

This is what a Registered Agent is; a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail (called “Service of Process“) on behalf of your LLC in the event of a lawsuit or other court proceeding.

Registered Agent synonyms: In some states, a Registered Agent is called a Resident Agent, Statutory Agent, Statutory Agent for Acceptance of Process, or Agent for Service of Process. They all mean the same thing though.

The laws regarding Registered Agent requirements vary by state, but in the vast majority of states, the following hold true:

• If the LLC’s Registered Agent is a person, that person must be a resident of the state where your forming your LLC, be at least 18 years of age, have a street address located in the state where your forming your LLC, and be available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.

• If the LLC’s Registered Agent is a company, that company needs to be registered to do business in the state in which you are forming your LLC.

• The Registered Agent must have an actual street address. Post Office (PO) boxes are not allowed.

What this means is that if you are forming an LLC, you, or someone you know, can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent. Some states require a written and signed consent form (known as a Registered Agent Consent to Appointment, or similar name) be on file with the Secretary of State’s office. Remember, you (or they) must be a resident of the state where you are forming an LLC, and have a street address where you are available (or they are available) during normal business hours.

It is important to note that the name and address of the Registered Agent will be listed publicly with your State’s Secretary of State’s Office. When forming the LLC, you’re going to file what’s called an “Articles of Organization” (or “Certificate of Organization” or “Certificate of Formation“) and that document goes on the public record.

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you use somebody else, or hire another company as your LLC’s Registered Agent, that your address is automatically going to be hidden from the public. The reason being, is that in addition to the Registered Agent’s name and address being on public, many states also require the name and address of the LLC Members or Managers.

For states requiring you to list the names and addresses of the LLC Members or Managers, hiring a Registered Agent Company is not going to offer much privacy. However, in states where the only name and address on the Articles of Organization (or similar document) is that of the Registered Agent’s, then listing someone else as your Registered Agent or hiring a Registered Agent Company (called a “Commercial Registered Agent”), certainly offers you privacy by keeping your personal information and home address off of the public record.

And although you can list yourself, or a friend or family member, as your LLC Registered Agent, if you or that person are not going to be at the street address you provided during normal business hours, this can expose your to risk. In most states, it is a requirement to “continuously maintain” a Registered Agent and that Registered Agent needs to be available during business hours if a legal document needs to be served on the company. If a legal or court document needs to be served upon your LLC, but you cannot be reached (or your friend or family member cannot be reached), after trying a few times, the court case can proceed in your absence (which you certainly don’t want).

If you don’t have an address located in the state where you are forming an LLC, or if your state offers privacy by designating someone besides yourself as the LLC’s Registered Agent, then we recommend you hire a Commercial Registered Agent.

A Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of LLCs and then forwarding it to the respective owners in a timely manner (usually by scanning and emailing mail). Most Commercial Registered Agents will charge anywhere from $100 per year upwards of $300 per year.

If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer support. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account. They also let you use their address throughout your LLC filing (if you want to keep your address off public records).

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their registered agent services free for the 1st year.

In summary, a Registered Agent is a fancy word for a person or company who agrees to accept Service of Process on behalf of your LLC in order to ensure that the United States court and legal system functions properly.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
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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. Greg Brown April 21, 2018

    That was very helpful and detailed great for first timers

    • Matt Horwitz April 21, 2018

      Awesome to hear! You’re welcome Greg :)

  2. Robert Langston Jr September 11, 2018

    Thanks so much for your help and the information you have provided! You mentioned Northwest allows you to use their address throughout the filing process. Can you tell me some examples? Can I use their address when filing for an EIN. If my business doesn’t have a physical address can I use them as the address instead, or is it only for legal matters and service of process. Thanks again for all your help.

    • Matt Horwitz October 16, 2018

      Hi Robert, what state are you forming your LLC in? They don’t explicitly advertise it, but they’ll let you use their address for your EIN. The thing is, USPS mail delivery can be a little less reliable when doing this.

  3. C.J. Thomas October 31, 2018

    On Form 205, can my spouse be listed as my registered agent at our personal residence under Article 2? Can I then also use our PMB as our mailing address in Article 3?

    • Matt Horwitz November 22, 2018

      Hi C.J., yes, in the Texas Certificate of Formation (Form 205), you can list your spouse as Registered Agent and use your residence. And yes, you can use your Private Mailbox (PMB) for the Governing Persons address(es). Hope that helps.

  4. Jeannette January 23, 2019

    How do inform the state that you have new address? Is there a special form? This would be regarding an LLC and one of the members and the organizer.

    Thank you!

    • Matt Horwitz January 28, 2019

      Hi Jeannette, it’s slightly different in each state. Where did you form your LLC?

      • Jeannette January 28, 2019



        • Matt Horwitz February 6, 2019

          Hi Jeannette, in Texas, this is done via a Certificate of Amendment (Form 424). The filing fee is $150. To change the Registered Agent, that form is called Change of Registered Agent/Office (Form 401). The filing fee is $15. Hope that helps!

  5. Jeannette January 23, 2019

    Hello, I have another question. How do you change the registered agent? Also, what if one of the members of the LLC retire, how are they removed from the LLC?


    • Matt Horwitz January 28, 2019

      Hey Jeannette, where did you form your LLC? How many members are there originally? And how many would you like there to be after the transfer of membership interest?

      Generally, the process goes like this: review your Operating Agreement to check procedure for removing an LLC Member. Then prepare Assignment of Membership Interest Agreement, amend Operating Agreement, amend Articles of Organization (if applicable), notify IRS if change in tax classification, update state Department of Revenue (or equivalent), and update bank.

  6. Nancy Freeland February 4, 2019

    Question? I am forming my single member LLC and want to know if you can change the registered agent. If so how would you do that?

    • Matt Horwitz February 12, 2019

      Hi Nancy, your LLC’s Registered Agent is not “set in stone”. Soo yes, it can be changed at any time. The process is different by state. Usually there is a “Change of Registered Agent” filing that can be done online or by mail. And some states allow you to update the Registered Agent when you file the LLC’s annual report (if applicable). Hope that helps.


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