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Related: Get a Washington Registered Agent
If your company was not incorporated in Washington, but you wish to do business there, you need to apply for a Washington Certificate of Authority.
Known as Foreign Qualification, this process allows a company formed in Delaware or any other state to legally transact business in Washington.
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.
Existing LLCs and Corporations have the same document requirements in this state when applying for Foreign Qualification:
Washington requires an application to be submitted along with a fee of $180 for both LLCs and corporations, plus a $20 online processing fee. In addition, you must appoint and maintain a Washington Registered Agent at all times. We can provide this service for just $99 per year.
Harvard Business Services can assist with your application so you don’t have to deal with the Washington 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. Contact us for an exact quote.
Part of the process of applying to do business with a foreign entity in Washington state involves registering your company name. Typically, your name must be both unique to Washington and compliant with WA statutes regarding trade names.
If your name is not available (i.e. there is already a company using the same name in the state), you are generally allowed to use a fictitious name, also know as a Doing Business As, or DBA. This will not affect the name of your company in your home state.
Sometimes, the name a company uses in one state is not compliant with another state's statutes, due to specific words, sentiments or implications of the company name. This is another situation where a fictitious name may be necessary.
Here are some of the limitations Washington statutes place on registering a trade name:
For more information: https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=23.95.305
If your company will do business in the state of Washington and it is incorporated elsewhere, you will often need to obtain Foreign Qualification. Typically, “doing business” is defined by activities such as maintaining a physical office or having employees in the state.
Like many other states, Washington’s state statutes specify some example activities that do not constitute doing business in the state, and therefore do not require Foreign Qualification:
Activities of a foreign entity that do not constitute doing business in this state under this chapter include, but are not limited to:
You should also keep in mind that even if the state 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.
If you have Foreign Qualification for an LLC or corporation in Washington, you will be required to pay an annual report fee in order to keep your company in good standing status with the state. The annual corporation renewal fee is $60, while the fee for LLCs is $71.
In addition, the annual requirements above are independent of requirements you may have in Delaware or other states.
Harvard can provide assistance throughout the life of your company. These custom services are the most popular with our clients: