To change your registered agent (aka agent for service of process) in the state of California, you’ll need to follow the specific guidelines provided by the California Secretary of State and file a Statement of Information form with the California Secretary of State. Then choose one of the three main ways.
To change your registered agent in California there are three main options to take.
- Hire a professional service (the easiest way)
- Do it online
- Do it by mail or in-person
Tip: We recommend Northwest ($125/year) they can help you change your registered agent, and get the paperwork filed correctly.
1. Hire a Professional Registered Agent Service in California
Using a professional registered agent service in the state of California can provide several benefits for businesses.
Here are some of the advantages for using a registered agent service:
1. Compliance and Legal Requirements: A registered agent service ensures that your business remains compliant with California state regulations. They have a deep understanding of the legal requirements and deadlines associated with maintaining a registered agent, helping you avoid penalties and potential legal issues.
2. Reliable and Consistent Service: Professional registered agent services have dedicated staff who are responsible for receiving and handling legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of your business. This ensures that important documents are promptly and securely delivered to you, providing peace of mind and minimizing the risk of missing crucial notifications.
3. Privacy and Confidentiality: When you designate a professional registered agent, their address is used as your business’s registered address. This helps maintain your privacy by keeping your personal or business address off public records. It can also help protect you from unsolicited mail or unwanted visitors at your place of business.
4. Flexibility and Convenience: A registered agent service allows you to focus on running your business instead of constantly monitoring and receiving legal documents. They provide a reliable point of contact for all official correspondence, freeing up your time and resources.
5. Out-of-State Representation: If your business operates in multiple states or is incorporated in California but operates elsewhere, a registered agent service can handle the requirements of being a registered agent in those other states. This ensures compliance with the respective state’s regulations, even if you’re not physically located there.
6. Professional Expertise: Registered agent services specialize in providing registered agent services and have expertise in handling legal documents and compliance matters. They can offer guidance on various business-related matters and may provide additional services like business entity formation, annual report filing, and other administrative tasks.
7. Business Continuity: If you change your business address or move out of state, having a professional registered agent ensures that your business will maintain a consistent point of contact. This helps prevent interruptions in receiving important documents and legal notices, allowing your business to continue operating smoothly.
It’s important to research and choose a reputable registered agent service provider that meets your specific business needs and operates within California state regulations.
2. Change California Registered Agent Online
To change a registered agent in the state of California, you can follow these steps online:
- Obtain the Form: The form you need to file is called the “Statement of Information” (Form SI-550). You can download this form from the website of the California Secretary of State.
- Visit the California Secretary of State’s Website: Go to the California Secretary of State’s website, which is located at https://bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov/
- Business Programs: On the homepage, hover over the “Business Programs” tab in the main menu and select “Business Entities” from the dropdown menu.
- Forms and Fees: Under the “Forms and Fees” section, click on the “Forms, Samples, and Fees” link.
- Business Entities Forms: On the next page, select “Forms: Business Entities” under the appropriate business entity type (e.g., Corporation, LLC, LP).
- Search for Form SI-550: Scroll down the page and look for “Statement of Information” (Form SI-550) in the list of forms. Click on the link to download the form.
- Complete the Form: Fill out the Form SI-550 with the required information. This includes details about your business, the current registered agent, and the new registered agent.
- Submitting the Form: Once the form is completed, you can submit it online through the California Secretary of State’s online filing portal called “BizFile California.” To access the portal, click on the “File Online” link located on the California Secretary of State’s homepage.
- Follow the Online Filing Instructions: The online filing portal will provide instructions on how to submit the form and complete the filing process. You may need to create an account or log in if you have an existing account.
- Pay the Filing Fee: There is a filing fee associated with changing the registered agent. The exact fee amount and payment methods will be provided during the online filing process.
Remember to double-check the specific requirements and procedures on the California Secretary of State’s website, as they may change over time. The website will provide the most up-to-date information regarding the form, filing process, and any associated fees.
3. Change California Registered Agent By Mail or In-Person
To change a registered agent in the state of California by mail/in-person, you can follow these steps:
- Obtain the Form: You will need to complete a form called the “Statement of Information” (Form SI-550) to change your registered agent. This form is available on the California Secretary of State’s website.
- Download and Print the Form: Visit the California Secretary of State’s website at https://bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov/ and search for “Statement of Information.” Locate the appropriate form (Form SI-550) and download it. Then, print out the form.
- Complete the Form: Fill out the Form SI-550 with the necessary information, including your business name, entity type, current registered agent information, new registered agent information, and other required details.
- Sign the Form: Sign the completed Form SI-550. Make sure all required fields are filled in accurately and legibly.
- Prepare a Cover Letter: Write a cover letter addressed to the California Secretary of State explaining that you are submitting a request to change your registered agent. Include your business name, entity type, and contact information.
- Package the Documents: Place the signed Form SI-550 and the cover letter in an envelope. Make sure all documents are securely packaged.
- Mailing Address: Address the envelope to the California Secretary of State.
- Mail the Documents: Send the envelope containing the completed Form SI-550 and cover letter to the above address using a traceable mail service, such as certified mail or registered mail. Retain a copy of the documents and the mailing receipt for your records.
Secretary of State Statement of Information
Unit P.O. Box 944228
Sacramento, CA 94244-2280
It’s important to note that the process and requirements may change over time, so it is advisable to check the California Secretary of State’s website or contact their office directly for the most up-to-date information regarding changing your registered agent by mail in California.
CA Entity Formation Tips
If you’re looking to form an LLC in California, it’s crucial to understand the necessary steps and requirements. To begin, conduct a California LLC name search to ensure the availability of your desired business name.
Once you’ve confirmed its availability, you can proceed with preparing the essential formation documents, including registering your business name and drafting a California LLC operating agreement, which outlines the internal structure and management of your LLC.
Additionally, you have the option to be your own registered agent in California or enlist the services of a professional registered agent. It’s worth noting that the length of time to get an LLC in California can vary, but typically ranges from a few weeks to several months.
To streamline the process, it’s advisable to gather all required information and submit your filings promptly. Furthermore, obtaining a California Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is essential for tax purposes.
Detailed guides and online resources are available to help you navigate the steps involved, and various California LLC services and registered agents can assist you in forming your LLC efficiently. Additionally, ensure compliance with any necessary business licenses in California, and consider the California LLC cost while budgeting for the formation process.
How long does it take to change a registered agent in California?
It typically takes around 5-10 business days for the California Secretary of State’s office to process the change of registered agent. This timeframe can vary depending on the volume of filings and other factors.
Can I be my own registered agent in the state of California?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent in the state of California. California allows business entities to designate themselves as their own registered agent, as long as they meet the requirements set by the state.
When acting as your own registered agent, you must fulfill the following criteria:
- Physical Address: You must have a physical street address in California where you can receive service of process and official correspondence. P.O. Box addresses are not acceptable.
- Availability: You must be available during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday) to accept legal documents and other important notifications on behalf of your business.
- Residency: If you are an individual acting as the registered agent for your business, you must be a resident of California.
By serving as your own registered agent, you take on the responsibility of promptly receiving and handling legal documents and official notices on behalf of your business.
Please note that requirements and regulations may change over time, so it’s advisable to verify the most up-to-date information on the California Secretary of State’s website or by contacting their office directly.