California Foreign LLC – Qualification and Registration

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If you already have an LLC in another state and want a California LLC, then how to start an LLC would be somewhat different. You must register as a foreign LLC. We have here a guide on how you can qualify and register for a foreign LLC in California. 

Forming a California Foreign LLC

A foreign LLC does not need to be a company from another country but a business formed under the laws of another state. To start a foreign LLC in California, you need to register it with the California Secretary of State.

Step 1: Choose California Foreign LLC Name

Obtain a name reservation certificate and submit it with your foreign qualification requirements at the California Secretary of State. Your LLC’s legal name outside of California will be listed on the application, along with the name it will use in California. Take note of the requirements for naming your LLC

Check name availability at California’s business entity names and reserve your LLC name.

Step 2: Select California Foreign LLC Registered Agent

You’ll need a registered agent to form a foreign LLC in California and take note that a California registered agent must have a local address. Here are three of the best LLC services on our list: 

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Step 3: File Registration of California Foreign LLC 

Fill out and submit a Foreign LLC Application for Registration form via email on their official website or by mail to P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244–2600.

Include the following:

  • LLC’s full legal name. 
  • A fictitious name or a DBA (only if your LLC’s legal name is not available); Attach a statement of adoption of the fictitious name signed by all LLC members.
  • LLC’s principal office and mailing addresses.
  • LLC formation state and date.
  • Registered agent’s name and address in California.
  • Date when your LLC will start operations in California.
  • Credit card information on the last page of the form for the $70 application fee. 

The LLC cost in California, even for foreign LLCs, will differ between online filing and by mail.

Step 4: Determine How Your California Foreign LLC is taxed

Foreign LLCs are also subjected to the California Business Privilege Tax, and they must file LLC annual reports each year.

Note that forming a foreign LLC would be good for your business as you can legally operate in a different state, thus reaching a larger market and opening more opportunities for higher profit.

Steps to Filing a California Foreign LLC Online

Time needed: 10 minutes.

To register a foreign LLC in California, the business has to be registered under the Secretary of State, California. There are several ways to register the California Foreign LLC, by mail, drop-off the forms to counter and online. To register a foreign LLC in California online, go to the official online service website.

  1. Go to the official website of California Secretary of State Online Services

    You will get the information regarding the filing fees and franchise tax to be paid to start a foreign LLC in California.

  2. Hit the “Start” button

    After you hit the “Start” button, you will be directed to the next Privacy and Terms page. Read the Privacy Warning carefully before you accept the terms and conditions. Hit the ‘I Accept’ button and move on.

  3. Add your LLC name and identifier.

    You will be directed to the registration form page on the website. There are 7 pages to fill up by the LLC. The first page is about the purpose of the LLC.

  4. Add your Business address.

    On the next page, you will have to enter the information about your business address. Enter the initial and mailing address. Make sure that the address is correct and from California.

  5. Registered Agent

    Proceed to the next page, where you will have to enter the details of ‘Service of Process.’ Whether your agent is an individual or a corporation, details should be given under the specific option.

  6. Enter Management Structure

    On the next page, specify your Management, whether your LLC is a single-member or multiple-members.

  7. Organizer Information

    The next page is about the Organizer of your LLC. Enter the name of the organizer, address, and pin code. Also, specify the date of filing.

  8. Review your application

    Once this page is done, the next page will be the review page. Review carefully what information you have entered. If there is anything you want to include or change, you can go back and edit the form.

  9. Payment

    Finally, you will be landed on the Payment page. Enter the payment amount, method, and other information. Hit the submit button to complete the payment and registration process.

    These are the process of filing a Foreign LLC in California online.

It is convenient plus easy to file for the foreign LLC if you are doing it online. The steps are straightforward, and that’s why it’s possible to go along with the steps and form a foreign LLC in California. 

After Forming California Foreign LLC

Here are added things you need to accomplish after forming your California Foreign LLC.

  1. Obtain Business Licenses. Find the business licenses you’ll need using the Business License Search.
  2. File LLC annual reports and Business Privilege Tax.
  3. Pay State Taxes like sales tax; you’ll need an EIN for your LLC

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Foreign LLC in California

When starting a business in a different state, it is essential to get a Certificate of Authority from the state in which you want to operate. These documents are required before you can do anything in that state, including banking or hiring employees. The process to get a Foreign Qualification varies by state. You will need to complete at least one application and pay the appropriate filing fee for the state in which you are incorporating. To ensure that your foreign LLC meets all of California’s requirements, you should seek out a service that specializes in providing this service.

After you have completed the application, you will need to pay a fee of $70 to file it with the Secretary of State. A certificate of good standing must also be included with the application. Once you have completed the application, you can request a Certified Copy of your document for an additional $5. After you have filed your Application, you must file an Initial Statement of Information (SI) within 90 days and an Additional Statement of Information (SI) every two years. You can file both documents online or through the Secretary of State’s website.

Once you have completed the application, you must pay the state fees and apply for a Certificate of Status. You must pay the processing fee of $70. You will also need to pay the $20 Initial Statement of Information fee and the $15 Foreign LLC registration fee. The Application for Registration of a Foreign LLC in California is a streamlined process and the filing process can take from one to two months, depending on the number of documents you have and the amount of information you provide.


What is a foreign LLC in California?

If your LLC is formed under the laws of another state, it is referred to as a foreign LLC in California.

Do I need a foreign LLC?

Businesses incorporated outside of the state where they operate must have “foreign qualifications” issued in the other states.

What is the main difference between domestic and foreign LLC?

A domestic LLC is a company registered in California as an LLC. The entity type that has a physical presence in another state is a foreign LLC.

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