Filing a Foreign Corporation or LLC in California

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Related: Get a California Registered Agent


If your company was not incorporated in California, but you wish to do business there, you need to register as a foreign entity with the state.

Known as Foreign Qualification, this process allows a company formed in Delaware or any other state to legally transact business in California.

Please note: information on this page is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, requirements and costs can be changed by states at any time and Harvard Business Services cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.

How to Get a Certificate of Authority in California:

The California Secretary of State requires different forms and fees depending on what type of entity you are operating.

Requirements for LLCs:

  • File a for Certificate of Authority
  • Fee: $70
  • Certificate of Good Standing dated within 6 months of filing the application. 

Requirements for Corporations:

  • File an Application for Certificate of Authority
  • Fee for Stock Corporations: $100
  • Fee for Nonstock Corporations: $30 
  • Certificate of Good Standing dated within 6 months of filing the application. 

You must also appoint and list a California Registered Agent. The Registered Agent must be maintained at all times. Harvard Business Services can provide this service at a cost of just $99/year.

Harvard Business Services can assist with your application so you don’t have to deal with the California Secretary of State directly. We do charge our own fee for this service, in addition to state fees. The exact fee can vary based upon whether your company is already filed and whether you need us to obtain additional documents to meet the state’s requirements. Please contact us for an exact quote.

How Do I Know if I Need a California Certificate of Authority?

In California, companies that "transact intrastate business" require a Certificate of Authority. Other common reasons for applying for a certificate of authority include:

  • Opening a physical office or location
  • Hiring employees
  • Maintaining bank accounts
  • Licensing authority
  • Beginning a contract or job in the state 

Keep in mind that even if the State of California does not require a Certificate of Authority for a specific activity, a bank, vendor or another party can still require one in order to establish a relationship.

California Annual Requirements

Once you have Foreign Qualification in California, state law requires entities to file Statement of Information. These are to be filed by all corporations and limited liability companies.

For an LLC and nonprofit corporations, a Statement of Information is required 90 days after incorporation by the last day of the month. The fee for this is $20 for the first, and $20 every other year. After that, a Statement of Information must be filed every 2 years. However, there is no fee to update this in between filing periods.

For Corporations, a Statement of Information is required 90 days after incorporation by the last day of the month. The fee for this is $25 for the first, and $25 annually. After that, a Statement of Information is due annually. A filing schedule for corporations is availble online. 

Please note that this annual requirement is independent from requirements you may have in Delaware or other states.

Since 1981, Harvard Business Services, Inc. has helped form 289,353 Delaware corporations and LLCs for people all over the world.

Registered Agent Service

Harvard Business Services, Inc. guarantees your annual Delaware Registered Agent Fee will remain fixed at $50 per company, per year, for the life of your company.