California Foreign LLC

A foreign California LLC is an LLC that was formed in another state and then registers to do business in California. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about registering your LLC to do business in California. A foreign LLC does not mean the owner is not a US citizen. Information for Non-US citizens on starting and operating an LLC in US, visit our page on LLCs for non-US citizens.

Initial Costs


Filing Time

5 - 7 Business Days

Ways to File

In Person or Mail

Cost To Register Foreign LLC in California
  • $70 State Registration Fee
  • Additional $15 if submitting Application to Register Foreign LLC in person.
  • Expedite Options: $700 for Same Day Service; $350 for 24 Hour Filing
Required Maintenance
  • Statement of Information (Annual Report): $50
  • Statement of Information Can Be Submitted Online
  • Due on LLC Formation Anniversary
Foreign LLC Business License Requirements
  • California Does Not Have a State Business License
  • LLCs Will Need To Acquire All Necessary Local Licenses and Permits (find specific business requirements here:
California Foreign LLC Registration Requirements
  • Complete and Submit Application to Register Foreign LLC in California (Form LLC-5) to California Secretary of State
  • Secure California Registered Agent Service
  • Get Certificate of Good Standing from Homestate

Registering an Out-of-State LLC in California

LLCs formed in another state that want to do business in California are referred to foreign LLCs. Any business entity actively engaged in business in California must registered to do business here by filing a form called a Certificate of Authority. The Foreign LLC Certificate of Authority costs $100 to file, however, California also requires foreign LLCs to provide a certificate of good standing, which, depending on your home state, could cost anywhere from $0 to $50. The California Certificate of Authority can only be completed by paper filing currently, and the California Secretary of State typically requires 3 to 5 days to complete the filing. You will also need to have a California registered agent, an individual or business that can accept service of process; we offer the best registered agent service in California for $50 a year. We can also register your LLC to do business in California for $200 plus the cost of your certificate of good standing from your home state. Unlike other incorporation services, we’re more than willing to obtain your certificate of good standing from your home state—we just ask that you cover the cost of the state fees.

How to Complete the California Certificate of Authority

Completing the California Certificate of Authority isn’t the most difficult task, however, there are some tricks and if you mess it up, it add a lot of time to the filing. We register foreign LLCs in California everyday, some might even say we’ve got it down to a science. That’s why people hire formation services. However, if you want to do it on your own, take a look at the steps below for a general overview of the process:

4 Steps to California Foreign LLC Registration

1. Get a Certificate of Existence/Good Standing

The California Secretary of State requires you to include a Certificate of Existence from your home state—the state or country where you first formed your LLC. Your home state may have a different name for the necessary document—often a Certificate of Status or Certificate of Good Standing. All of these documents verify that your LLC was formed and remains active in the home state. California requires that you attach this document to your completed Certificate of Authority. In many states, you can obtain a Certificate of Existence online at a cost of $0 to $50. Whatever your jurisdiction calls it, the certificate must be recent (no more than 60 days from when you submit your foreign WY LLC registration), and your LLC’s name on the certificate must match the name you put on your application for registration. Certificates of good standing do not have to be original documents and are usually under $50:

Certificate of Good Standing Prices by State
State Price
Oregon $10
Montana $5
Colorado $0

2. Foreign LLC Application for Certificate of Authority

Your next step is to complete the Certificate of Authority and file the document with the California Secretary of State. This document is your application to do business in California. You can only file in person or through the mail with a paper filing. The California Certificate of Authority requires the following information:

  • LLC name

  • Home jurisdiction state or country

  • Date you formed your LLC

  • Length of time the LLC intends to exist (most likely answer is “perpetual”)

  • Mailing and principal addresses of the LLC

  • Name and address of California registered agent

  • Effective date of filing

  • Date when LLC began doing business in California (back taxes may apply if you’ve been doing business in the state for a while)

  • Registered Agent consent form

  • Original certificate of existence/good standing

3. Obtain your registered agent’s consent and signature

California requires that your registered agent here consents to appointment by signing the registered agent consent form. If you hire us as your California registered agent, we’ll set up an online account for you with a Foreign Limited Liability Company available right away. All of the registered agent information is filled for you.

4. Submit your documents and wait for processing

Once you obtain the certificate of existence/good standing from your home state, attach it to your completed Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for Certificate of Authority. The certificate must be the original. You must submit your foreign registration documents to the California Secretary of State by mail. It will take the secretary of state 3 to 5 days to complete your filing.

California Foreign LLC Costs and Fees

Foreign Requirements and Prices
Requirement Price
California Foreign LLC Certificate of Authority filing fee $70
California Foreign LLC Annual Report fee (due every year on the first day of your LLC’s anniversary month) $70
Registered Agent Fee $50
Certificate of Good Standing fee  $0 to $50

Total California Foreign LLC Registration Cost: For $200, plus the cost of the certificate of good standing, we’ll register your LLC to do business in California and give you a year of the best California registered agent service.

Ongoing Requirements for Foreign LLCs in California

Foreign LLC Annual Reports

Foreign LLCs registered to do business in California must file an annual report each year. California foreign LLC annual reports are due on the first day of the month in which the LLC originally registered to do business in California. For example, if an LLC registers to do business in California on June 29, each year after, the LLC’s annual report will be due by June 1. California annual reports cost $50. You can file annual reports online on the California Secretary of State’s website for a $2 convenience fee. California annual reports are basic reports on which the LLC confirms basic business information.

California Business Licenses

The State of California doesn’t have a general business license requirement for all businesses. However, municipalities and counties in California do have their own requirements. Fortunately, the state has compiled a resource for businesses to see all the permits and licenses they may need.

To see what licenses and permits your new California LLC will have to obtain, visit the California Government Online to Desktops Website (CalGold).

Foreign Secretary of State Information

Physical Address:

California Secretary of State
Document Filing Support Unit
1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 944228
Sacramento, CA 95814-2280