This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Operations

The Complete Guide to Registered Agent Requirements By State

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Need help with registered agent compliance? This extensive guide covers the registered agent requirements in all 50 states. Regardless of your location or entity type, you can find the answers you’re looking for below.

Why Registered Agents Are So Important

Naming a registered agent is a crucial aspect of starting and maintaining a legal business entity. It’s something you’ll need to do during the initial formation process, but you’ll also need to keep a registered agent on record for the lifetime of your business. 

Registered agents are designated to receive service of process on behalf of a business. They’ll also handle government correspondence from various state and local agencies.

By using a third-party registered agent service, you can rest easy knowing that your business is compliant and your personal information remains private. So your home or office address won’t be listed in public records. 

For example, If your business gets sued or receives a court summons, someone needs to be around to physically accept that paperwork. Some states allow you to be your own registered agent, but that would require you to be available at all times at a physical location during regular business hours. 

Whether you’re launching a new business or need to switch registered agents, Northwest Registered Agent is a top choice to consider in all 50 states. 

They go above and beyond basic registered agent services, giving your business the tools you need to succeed. Northwest Registered Agent provides access to every state form with pre-filled information for simple filings. 

You can access any document they receive on your behalf through an online portal within minutes after the delivery. 

Northwest Registered Agent sends you compliance notifications and sets you up with local corporate guides to navigate the waters of your specific location. Plans start at just $125 per year.

Registered Agent Requirements by State

Below, we’ve put together some quick at-a-glance information about the registered agent requirements in all 50 states. But you can always refer to Northwest Registered Agent or your local government agencies for more specific details.

Alabama

  • Registered agents must have a physical address in Alabama and be open during business hours.
  • Any business owner in Alabama can be their own registered agent.
  • Individual persons designated as registered agents must be state residents.
  • Alabama businesses can use a registered agent company as long as the company maintains a registered office with a physical address in the state.

Alaska

  • Alaska state law requires all registered businesses to appoint a registered agent.
  • The secretary of state will reject state filings if a registered agent has not been appointed.
  • Business owners in Alaska can be their own registered agents.
  • PO boxes cannot be used as a physical address for registered agents. 
  • Registered agents must be state residents or be a company that provides registered agent services with an office registered in the state.

Arizona

  • Arizona statutory agents (also known as registered agents) must have a physical office registered within the state of Arizona—no PO boxes.
  • Individual persons acting as registered agents must be state residents.
  • Businesses in Arizona cannot legally operate until a registered agent has been chosen. 

Arkansas

  • Any person or entity with a physical address in the state can be a registered agent.
  • Business owners, family, friends, and lawyers can be named as registered agents.
  • All business entities are required to appoint a registered agent by state law.
  • Business filing paperwork will be rejected by the secretary of state if a registered agent hasn’t been appointed. 

California

  • An agent of process in California can be a registered agent service or an adult person who is a state resident.
  • Corporations cannot be listed as their own registered agent.
  • LLCs cannot be registered agents in the state of CA.
  • If a corporation acts as a registered agent for another business, it must file a Section 1505 Certificate with the secretary of state. 

Colorado

  • Individuals appointed as registered agents in CO must be at least 18 years old.
  • Companies providing registered agent services are allowed.
  • Agents must be available during normal business hours and maintain a physical address in Colorado.

Connecticut

  • Connecticut registered agents must maintain a physical address in the state—no PO boxes allowed.
  • Registered agents can be individuals at least 18 or be a company that provides registered agent services.
  • All Connecticut registered businesses must maintain a registered agent. 

Delaware

  • Any business entity formed through the Delaware Division of Corporations must have a registered agent. 
  • All corporations and LLCs in Delaware must maintain a registered agent.
  • Delaware registered agents must have a physical address in the state—PO boxes are not allowed.
  • Business owners in Delaware can be their own registered agents if they are a state resident. 

Florida

  • Florida registered agents must have a physical address in FL and be available to accept documents during business hours.
  • A person forming an LLC or corporation in Florida can be their own registered agent.
  • The Florida secretary of state will reject business filings if an agent has not been appointed.

Georgia

  • LLCs in Georgia can appoint an individual who is a resident of the state or use a domestic or foreign corporation registered in GA as the registered agent. 
  • Corporations and nonprofits in Georgia can use an individual person, a domestic corporation, foreign corporation, nonprofit organization, or any other business entity in the state of Georgia as a registered agent.
  • All Georgia registered agents must have a physical office address in the state.

Hawaii

  • Hawaii Registered agents must be a resident of Hawaii or a domestic or foreign business entity registered in HI. 
  • Registered agents in Hawaii must have a physical street address.
  • Business owners in Hawaii can be their own registered agents, as long as they are state residents.

Idaho

  • Idaho law requires all business entities in the state to appoint a registered agent.
  • Registered agent information is public information.
  • Business filings in Idaho will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of Idaho.

Illinois

  • Illinois registered agents must be available at a physical address (no PO boxes) during regular business hours to receive official mail and tax notices. 
  • If a registered agent cannot be contacted, the Illinois Secretary of State office will automatically be served on the business’s behalf. 
  • All LLCs and corporations in Illinois are required to have a registered agent. 

Indiana

  • Indiana registered agents must have a physical address in the state and be open during business hours.
  • Individuals can be a registered agent as long as they are state residents.
  • Companies providing registered agent services can also be a registered agent for an Indiana business.

Iowa

  • Iowa residents can be a registered agent.
  • If a company’s registered agent is unreachable after a reasonable service of process attempt, the company’s secretary will get serviced at the principal address of the business. If this person cannot be reached, the business won’t know that it has been served.

Kansas

  • Corporations and LLCs in Kansas must have a registered agent.
  • The agent must have a physical address located in the state of Kansas—no PO boxes allowed.
  • Agents must be a company that provides registered agent services or an individual who is a state resident (known as resident agents).

Kentucky

  • Kentucky registered agents must be state residents or be a company that provides registered agent services. 
  • To become a registered agent in Kentucky, the agent must either sign the appointing document during the formation process or send a written statement to the secretary of state acknowledging the duties. 
  • All businesses registered in Kentucky must have a registered agent. 

Louisiana

  • All Louisiana businesses must appoint a registered agent. 
  • Individuals can be their own registered agents in Louisiana.
  • Business filings will be rejected in Louisiana if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 

Maine

  • Maine uses the term “commercial clerk” instead of registered agent.
  • Commercial clerks provide the same functions as a registered agent, like accepting service of process on behalf of a person or business. 
  • Business owners in Maine can designate themselves as their own commercial clerks.

Mayland

  • All businesses in Maryland must maintain a registered agent. 
  • The registered agent is the official point of contact for your business with the state.
  • They must accept all hand-delivered process documents like subpoenas and lawsuits.
  • Maryland registered agents are responsible for official mail correspondence from the Maryland SDAT (State Department of Assessment and Taxation). 

Massachusetts

  • All LLCs and corporations in Massachusetts must have a registered agent. 
  • Some Massachusetts documents and legal codes use the term “resident agent.” 
  • A “resident agent” in MA is an interchangeable term with “registered agent.”
  • Individual business owners can be their own registered agents in MA.

Michigan

  • Registered agents must have a physical address located within the state of Michigan.
  • Some documents and legal codes in Michigan use the term “resident agent.” 
  • A “resident agent” in Michigan is an interchangeable term with “registered agent.”

Minnesota

  • The name and address of registered agents in Minnesota will be listed on the secretary of state website.
  • Minnesota requires businesses to maintain a registered agent in each state where the company operates. 
  • All registered offices must have a physical address—PO boxes are not allowed. 

Mississippi

  • All business entities in Mississippi are required to have a registered agent. 
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent has not been appointed. 
  • Business owners in Mississippi can be their own registered agents or hire a registered agent service.  

Missouri

  • Missouri registered agents must be individuals who are residents of the state or be a company providing registered agent services. 
  • To become a registered agent in Missouri, the agent must either sign the appointing document or send a written statement acknowledging the duties to the secretary of state. 
  • All registered businesses in Missouri must appoint a registered agent. 

Montana

  • All business entities registered in Montana must have a registered agent. 
  • If a registered agent in Montana is unreachable after a reasonable service of process attempt, the company’s secretary will get served at the principal address of the business. If this person cannot be reached, the business won’t know that it has been served.
  • Individuals can be their own registered agents in the state of Montana. 

Nebraska

  • To become a registered agent in Nebraska, the agent must either sign the appointing document or send a written statement to the secretary of state acknowledging the duties. 
  • Registered agents must maintain a physical address in Nebraska (no PO boxes allowed).
  • Individual persons acting as registered agents must be state residents or authorized to do business in the state. 

Nevada

  • Any business entity formed with the Nevada Secretary of State is required to appoint a registered agent. 
  • You can be your own registered agent by choosing the “noncommercial registered agent” option on the business formation documents. 

New Hampshire

  • All LLCs and corporations in New Hampshire must appoint a registered agent. 
  • Registered agents must maintain a physical address in the state, known as a “registered office.”
  • Agents must be state residents or a business providing registered agent services in the state.

New Jersey

  • Individuals appointed as registered agents in New Jersey must be at least 18 years old.
  • Agents must be state residents or be a company providing registered agent services. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of New Jersey.

New Mexico

  • New Mexico state law requires all registered business entities to appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in New Mexico.

New York

  • Registered agents in New York must be a state resident, LLC, or a corporation with a physical address in the state.
  • New York requires LLCs to publish a summary of their articles of incorporation in two county newspapers where the principal office address is located. 
  • Business owners in New York can be their own registered agents. 

North Carolina

  • North Carolina registered agents must be a state resident or company that provides registered agent services. 
  • All businesses registered within the state must appoint a registered agent in NC.

North Dakota

  • North Dakota registered agents must be a state resident or company that provides registered agent services. 
  • All businesses registered within the state must appoint a registered agent in North Dakota.
  • Business filings will be rejected by the secretary of state if an agent hasn’t been appointed.

Ohio

  • Registered agents in Ohio are also known as “statutory agents.”
  • Statutory agents must have a physical address located in Ohio. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Ohio, as long as they are state residents. 

Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma registered agents must maintain a physical office in the state.
  • They can be an individual who is a state resident or a company providing registered agent services.
  • Oklahoma registered agents must be available during normal business hours for service of process and other legal documents. 

Oregon

  • All businesses registered in Oregon must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Oregon. 
  • Oregon registered agents must maintain a physical registered office and be available during regular business hours. 

Pennsylvania

  • If a registered agent in Pennsylvania can’t be served after a reasonable attempt, the company’s secretary will be served at the principal address of the business. If this person is unreachable, the business may never know that it has been served. 
  • All businesses in Pennsylvania must appoint a registered agent during the business formation process. 
  • Owners can act as the registered agent for their business in PA. 

Rhode Island

  • All businesses registered in Rhode Island must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings in Rhode Island will be rejected if an agent has not been appointed. 
  • Rhode Island business owners can be their own registered agents. 
  • Rhode Island registered agents must maintain a physical registered office in the state and be available during normal business hours. 

South Carolina

  • LLCs and corporations in South Carolina are legally required to maintain a registered agent.
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of South Carolina.

South Dakota

  • All corporations and LLCs in South Dakota must maintain a resisted agent. 
  • Registered agents must have a physical address in South Dakota and be available during business hours.
  • Individuals named as registered agents for a business must be state residents. 

Tennessee

  • All legal business entities in Tennessee must appoint a registered agent. 
  • You can be your own registered agent in the state of Tennessee. 
  • The name of the registered agent and registered agent’s address becomes a public record in Tennessee. 
  • Agents must be available during normal business hours at a physical address in the state.

Texas

  • Registered agents in Texas must have a physical address—PO boxes are not allowed.
  • State law requires all businesses in the state to appoint a registered agent.
  • The Texas secretary of state office will reject business filings if an agent has not been appointed.  
  • You can be your own registered agent in Texas. 

Utah

  • All corporations and LLCs in Utah must appoint a registered agent.
  • Registered agents in Utah must maintain a physical address in the state, known as a “registered office.”
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in the state of Utah.

Vermont

  • Registered agents in Vermont are sometimes referred to as “process agents.”
  • Process agents are usually used with the Vermont secretary of state when referring to LLCs, but the term is synonymous with registered agents. 
  • All businesses registered in Vermont must appoint a registered agent. 

Virginia

  • Business entities in Virginia cannot be registered agents for their own business. 
  • Individuals can be registered agents in Virginia if they are state residents. 
  • Domestic companies are allowed to be registered agents in Virginia as long as they maintain a physical address in the state (no PO boxes).

Washington

  • All businesses registered in Washington must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Washington. 
  • Washington registered agents must maintain a physical registered office and be available during normal business hours. 

Washington DC

  • Registered agents in DC can be an individual person with an address in Washington DC or a business providing registered agent services in the District of Columbia. 
  • Washington DC registered agents must be listed on a statement of appointment on the initial business filing paperwork.
  • You can be your own registered agent in Washington DC.

West Virginia

  • All LLCs and corporations in West Virginia need to have a registered agent.
  • You can be your own registered agent in West Virginia.
  • Registered agents in West Virginia have their names and addresses listed as public records.

Wisconsin

  • All businesses registered in Wisconsin must appoint a registered agent.
  • Business filings will be rejected if an agent hasn’t been appointed. 
  • Business owners can be their own registered agents in Wisconsin. 
  • Wisconsin registered agents must maintain a physical registered office and be available during normal business hours. 

Wyoming

  • Corporations and LLCs in Wyoming are required to appoint a registered agent. 
  • All Wyoming registered agents must sign the Consent to Appointment by Registered Agent form to acknowledge duties. 
  • You can be your own registered agent in the state of Wyoming. 

Long-Term Strategies For Maintaining Registered Agent Requirements by State

In addition to the business formation process, you should consider a couple of strategies to maintain registered agent compliance for the long run. We’ll cover these in greater detail below. 

Strategy #1 — Avoid Being Your Own Registered Agent

Lots of entrepreneurs and new business owners list themselves as a registered agent during the business formation process. They do this because it’s easy, and they don’t feel like paying a third party. 

But this is a mistake that will cost you lots of headaches in the long run.

First of all, your information is now part of a public database if you do this. So anyone can see your name and address if they search for your business through the secretary of state website. 

Legally, you’ll be required to be physically present at this address during normal business hours. This is obviously not realistic for most people. If you’re unavailable and an officer comes to hand-deliver a court order or service of process, it can land you into big trouble in terms of compliance.

In some states, your business won’t have any way to know it’s being served after a reasonable attempt has been made for service of process. This could turn into a bench warrant being put out in your name for failure to appear in court. 

The cost associated with using a registered agent service is marginal. So don’t do this on your own, and let the professionals handle it for you.

Strategy #2 — Use a Registered Agent Service Available in All 50 States

You might be tempted to use your attorney’s office or another local business entity as your registered agent. This is allowed in the vast majority of states. 

However, this can pose a problem for you as your business scales. If you start to operate in multiple states, you’ll likely be required to maintain a registered agent in every state where your company does business. 

Your lawyer, friend, business partner, or local business entity probably doesn’t maintain residence in multiple states. So you’ll be forced to get another registered agent at that time. This poses problems at scale, as you’ll be dealing with multiple registered agents.

But if you sign up for a registered agent service that’s available in all 50 states, your business can scale with ease. 

Services like Northwest Registered Agent even offer discounts to businesses operating in multiple states. You can access all of your paperwork online from a single dashboard as well, without the need to physically pick up documents across state lines. 

Next Steps

Every business needs to have solid legal counsel. Rather than paying outrageous fees for an attorney, you can take advantage of an online business service. 

Many of the best online business services double as registered agent providers. You can even use some of these legal services to form an LLC or corporation. This can essentially be a one-stop-shop for several of your legal, business, and registered agent needs. 


Make your website better. Instantly.

Over 300,000 websites use Crazy Egg to improve what's working, fix what isn't and test new ideas.

Free 30-day Trial