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

If you are wondering how much it costs to register a foreign LLC in California, you have come to the right place. This article will go over the basics and answer your most pressing questions about foreign LLC registration. To get started, make sure you have all of the information needed to start a foreign LLC in California. Then, check out the costs below to find the best option for you. The more information you have about the registration process, the better – and faster – it will be!

The application fee to register a foreign LLC in California is $180. This includes the special handling fee of $15. Payment can be made by mail, check, money order, cash, or credit card. Visa or Mastercard are accepted for payment. In addition, you will need to pay for a copy of the company’s articles of incorporation. An uncertified copy of the documents will cost you an additional $5.

In addition to the filing fee, foreign LLCs in California must file an Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (Form LLC-5) and initial Statement of Information. Additionally, these companies may require other federal, state, or local permits. These fees can add up fast. The average cost to register a foreign LLC in California is $90. Depending on the size of the business, you may need to file additional documents, such as a Federal Identification Number and other local permits.

In California, the foreign entity qualification is dependent on whether or not the business is transacted in another state. While many states do not define “doing business” in this context, the California Franchise Tax Board defines it. Certain types of businesses are exempt from these requirements. Therefore, it is important to check the guidelines and the state’s laws before registering a foreign entity. A foreign LLC can be beneficial if you’re looking to expand your business beyond the borders of your state.

Once you have the legal documents in place, you need to choose a registered agent. Your registered agent is responsible for accepting court documents on behalf of your business. They can be an employee or a service company. Adding a registered agent will cost you an additional $5. If your business name already exists, it’s best to choose a name with that word in the name. Then, you can focus on preparing for the filing.

The main fees for registering a foreign LLC in California will be around $500. In addition to that, you’ll need to file an fictitious business name statement (also known as a “Doing Business As Statement” in California) to get your business registered. You’ll need this statement every five years, or whenever your business information changes. The operating agreement, also known as an “Official Document,” details how the LLC will function and who will be in charge of making decisions.


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.

In Conclusion

Starting a foreign LLC in California does not require a lot of documentation or tasks. However, it is always good to seek help from a professional when it comes to running your business. Get a professional registered agent and form your foreign LLC anywhere without a hassle.

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