How Long Does it Take to Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
Business Formation Expert
Steve Goldstein runs LLCBuddy, helping entrepreneurs set up their LLCs easily. He offers clear guides, articles, and FAQs to simplify the process. His team keeps everything accurate and current, focusing on state rules, registered agents, and compliance. Steve’s passion for helping businesses grow makes LLCBuddy a go-to resource for starting and managing an LLC.

All Posts by Steve Goldstein →
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Staff
Last updated: 
LLCBuddy™ offers informative content for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. We may earn commissions if you use the services we recommend on this site.
At LLCBuddy, we don't just offer information; we provide a curated experience backed by extensive research and expertise. Led by Steve Goldstein, a seasoned expert in the LLC formation sector, our platform is built on years of hands-on experience and a deep understanding of the nuances involved in establishing and running an LLC. We've navigated the intricacies of the industry, sifted through the complexities, and packaged our knowledge into a comprehensive, user-friendly guide. Our commitment is to empower you with reliable, up-to-date, and actionable insights, ensuring you make informed decisions. With LLCBuddy, you're not just getting a tutorial; you're gaining a trustworthy partner for your entrepreneurial journey.
llc processing time

Forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) is easier than other types of business structures. It is less complicated and of course, requires the bare minimum of paperwork compared to corporations. Starting an LLC in the USA needs a handful of steps. These general steps are applicable irrespective of the state your LLC is registered. There might be additional steps in some states.

In this guide, we will go into the nitty-gritty of LLC formation, especially how long it takes to form your LLC. We’ll look at what influences the processing time of the process, the steps involved, and ways to make it faster. Whether you are starting your first business or an experienced entrepreneur thinking about reorganizing an existing venture, this article will provide you with information that will help you on your way through the LLC formation process.

What is an LLC?

Before getting into details of how long it takes to form an LLC, let us first understand its meaning and importance as a business structure. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a separate legal entity that is formed under state law and offers its owners known as members unique combinations of benefits and protection.

LLCs offer personal asset protection for their members by being treated as separate entities from them. This means that in case a lawsuit or financial problems arise out of LLCs’ operations, creditors cannot reach members’ personal assets such as homes and savings/investments.

Moreover, they give room for flexible management styles and taxation systems. LLCs have a pass-through taxation structure that prevents them from double taxation like corporations. An owner can choose to treat his/her company as a partnership firm, corporation, or disregarded entity (for single-member LLC). This helps in planning for LLC taxes hence leading to possible savings.

The states have different rules that regulate how one can set up an LLC, but usually one has to file articles of organization (can be called by different names in different states); designate a registered agent who receives mail on behalf of the company; come up with an operating agreement which provides guidelines for running company internally. Check the state-wise Secretary of State list to find out the business forms and records.

LLC Ownership and Management

Members own these companies who can be individuals themselves other corporations or even other limited liability corporations. Therefore someone’s liability towards these entities does not exceed the amount he/she had invested to cover his/her personal properties from any liability risk.

This type of business might be either member-managed or manager-managed. Member-managed is when each partner has equal rights and duties concerning everyday activities. The manager-managed is when a few members are in charge of operating the company but some decisions require approval by the majority.

State Statutes and Regulations

Each state has its own statute books that regulate the creation, registration, and dissolution of LLCs within its boundaries. These provisions explain what needs to be done when setting up an LLC; for instance, including articles of organization, operating agreements as well and default provisions outlining the correct way of setting up and governing these entities.

To avoid delays or setbacks during the process of formation it’s important to check out relevant statutory rules from a particular jurisdiction.

LLC Filing Method and Processing Time

The way you choose to file your articles will greatly affect how long it takes before an LLC is formed. Most states offer multiple filing options, each with its own advantages and potential drawbacks.

Online Filing:

Nowadays many states allow people to file their articles online to speed up how long it takes for them to be processed. Normally online filings are reviewed within days and sometimes even hours while some might take just 24 hours. Nonetheless one should keep in mind that additional fees may exist for online filing accompanied by additional requirements like digital signature demands, electronic payment, etc.

Mail Filing:


The old-fashioned way of doing things involves mailing your articles of organization. Even though this choice is generally cheaper, the time it takes to have your papers processed might be longer lasting 2-6 weeks or as long as they are in a particular state’s queue.

In-Person Filing:

In certain states, the proper agency can receive your articles of organization over the counter. This method can be quicker than using mail but may necessitate more effort and time because one must physically go to the state agency on working days.

Expedited Filing:

To ensure that you file quickly, several states provide expedited filing for an extra fee. For example, some of these sped-up choices might make it possible for formation approval within a day or even less compared to other cases taking too long to process LLCs due to unnecessary delays. It is important however to note that expedited filing fees may vary greatly and could be quite high in some states.

State-wise LLC Processing Time

State NameOffline FilingOnline Filing
Alabama LLC1-2 working daysImmediately
Alaska LLC10-15 working daysImmediately
Arizona LLC14-15 working days14-15 working days
Arkansas LLC3 weeks3-7 working days
California LLC8 working days8 working days
Colorado LLC N/AImmediately
Connecticut LLC10 working days3 working days
Delaware LLC10 working days10 working days
District of Columbia LLC2-4 weeks5 working days
Florida LLC12 working days5 working days
Georgia LLC15 working days7-10 working days
Hawaii LLC7-10 working days7-10 working days
Idaho LLC5-7 working days5-7 working days
Illinois LLC7-14 working days5-10 working days
Indiana LLC 5 working days1 working days
Iowa LLC7-10 working days1 working days
Kansas LLC2-3 working daysImmediately
Kentucky LLC1 working daysImmediately
Louisiana LLC3-5 working days3-5 working days
Maine LLC10-15 working daysN/A
Maryland LLC5-8 weeks2 weeks
Massachusetts LLC1-2 working days1-2 working days
Michigan LLC10 working days10 working days
Minnesota LLC11-12 working daysImmediately
Mississippi LLCN/A1-2 working days
Missouri LLC3-4 weeksImmediately
Montana LLCN/A5-6 working days
Nebraska LLC2-3 working days2-3 working days
Nevada LLC2-3 weeks1 working day
New Hampshire LLC7-10 working days7-10 working days
New Jersey LLC5-7 working days1 working day
New Mexico LLC15-20 working days1-3 working days
New York LLC8 monthsImmediately
North Carolina LLC2-5 working days2-5 working days
North Dakota LLC5 working days5 working days
Ohio LLC1 working days1 working days
Oklahoma LLC5-7 working days2-3 working days
Oregon LLC5-6 weeks2-3 working days
Pennsylvania LLC5-7 working days5-7 working days
Rhode Island LLC3-4 working days3-4 working days
South Carolina LLC3-4 working days1-2 working days
South Dakota LLC1-2 working daysImmediately
Tennessee LLC3-5 working daysImmediately
Texas LLC4-8 weeks15 working days
Utah LLC3-7 working days2 working days
Vermont LLC5-7 working days1 working day
Virginia LLC2-5 working days2-5 working days
Washington LLC5-6 Weeks12-14 working days
West Virginia LLC5-10 working days5-10 working days
Wisconsin LLC5 working daysImmediately
Wyoming LLC10-15 working daysImmediately

The processing time for offline filing includes the mail transit time (in the case of filing by sending mail). One must consider that the LLC processing time does not mean the LLC is registered. Processing time is considered as the time of LLC registration application to be reached to the Secretary of State.

After they receive the application (online or offline) it gets reviewed by the concerned department. Once approved, the approval reaches the LLC after a few days (especially for the offline filings). This is called the approval time.

The above table shows the processing time based on each state. The approval time generally takes more than the processing time. So, if the processing time shows 10 working days, the approval time will be 20-25 days or more.

Seasonal Delays

Besides these factors, there are also seasonal peaks that could affect LLC formation timelines. The beginning and end of calendar years, in particular, see many state agencies experiencing high volumes of filings.

business processing time

Processing during these periods often takes longer due to backlog and heavier workloads. For instance, submitting documents for an LLC in December or January might take more time than doing so during slower times when businesses want to have new entities formed or structural changes made before the New Year begins.

To minimize seasonal delays it is recommended that you plan your LLC formation well ahead of any possible peak times. An alternate may involve seeking expedited filing options or even filing during less busy months if available within your jurisdiction.

Online Approval Time vs Offline Approval Time

It is obvious that online filing takes less time than offline filing. In the case of online filing, as soon as you submit the form, the process starts within no time or 1-2 working days. As soon as the document review is done, LLCs receive approvals/feedback immediately.

However, that is not the case for offline filing. If you’re filing via mail, the processing and approval time includes the mail transit time. Hence, if the processing time is 10 working days that excludes the mail transit time (it can take up to 7 working days for the SOS to receive the mail and vice versa). The same happens at the time of LLC approval. It takes additional days for the LLCs to receive the approval letter from the SOS.

Steps to Create an LLC

Generally, forming an LLC comprises multiple steps each having requirements that must be met lest one goes wrong. Therefore, understanding these steps together with their respective timelines is very essential for a smooth and efficient LLC formation process.

Choosing a Name

When creating an LLC the first step involves selecting a business name that is unique and compliant with all laws pertaining thereof. This name will represent your company in all legal and business transactions, so it’s essential to choose wisely.

name your llc

When you come to choose LLC names, you must follow the specific set of rules and regulations given by your state. One common requirement all across the states is the name being distinguishable from the other businesses registered within the State. This means that your preferred name cannot be identical or too similar to another business’s name because it may create confusion and legal problems. You can search LLC names on the State SOS site.

In order to make sure that your desired business name is both available and in compliance with all requirements, most states provide online tools or databases that allow you to search for and check availability. Should this not be possible because of someone already using it or because it is similar to an existing entity, you will have to go back to the drawing board.

Name Reservation

Some states may offer an option for reserving your LLC’s desired name before filing for its formation officially. It usually involves submitting a name reservation application accompanied by a small fee. In case, you are yet to file articles of organization but want to secure its availability until then, reserving a name could be helpful.

It is important to note that these reservation periods are often limited, generally between 30-120 days depending on how each state is regulated. If during such period you fail to file documents of formation for your LLC, other people are free to seize this name.

Designating a Registered Agent

The designation of a registered agent is another very important step in forming an LLC. A registered agent refers to either an individual or an entity assigned with receiving official correspondence as well as legal documents on behalf of such limited liability company.

Every state has made having a registered agent mandatory so as not only to guarantee proper delivery of service but also to ensure compliance with state laws regarding companies’ operations. The registered agent should have a physical address within the same state where the LLC has been formed; therefore he/she must be available at his/her office during normal working hours in order for any document intended for the LLC could reach him/her and be redirected to the company.

Filing the Articles of Organization

Your articles of organization are a foundational document that will officially create your LLC, also known as a certificate of formation or certificate of organization in some states. This document provides the basic information about your business such as the name, address, purpose, and names and addresses of the members and registered agent.

The articles of organization have specific requirements that vary from state to state but usually include:

articles of organization
  • LLC name and address
  • Purpose of the business
  • Names and addresses of the LLC members
  • Name and address of the registered agent
  • Signatures from members or organizers
  • Information on management (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • Effective date for LLC (if desired)
  • Duration for LLC (if not perpetual)

After you’ve prepared the articles of organization you’ll need to file them with the appropriate state agency like the Secretary of State’s Office or any other business registration agency. In this respect, filing can be done online through mail or in person depending on regulations by individual states.

It is important to make sure that all information given in these articles is correct and complete because any mistakes or omissions could lead to delays or rejection by filing offices. Additionally, most states require a filing fee which may range between $100-$1,000 depending on the jurisdiction.

Drafting the Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is regarded by most best practices as one of the key requirements for an LLC, although it may not be mandatory in some jurisdictions. This internal document will give structure to the operations of your company. In other words, it outlines the governance and operational procedures that help in managing the affairs of your business.

Write the Operating Agreement

The operating agreement generally includes provisions regarding:

  • Management structure and decision-making processes
  • Members’ roles, responsibilities, voting rights
  • Profit sharing and loss allocation
  • Admission and withdrawal of members
  • Dissolution and winding up of the LLC
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Amendment procedures

By having a well-crafted operating agreement in place, you can establish clear guidelines for the LLC’s operations, mitigate potential conflicts among members, and ensure that the company adheres to its intended purpose and structure.

While some states require the submission of an operating agreement during formation, others allow businesses to maintain this document internally. Nevertheless, irrespective of such state requirements it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney or legal professional to ensure that your operating agreement is comprehensive, compliant, and tailored specifically for your LLC’s needs.

Obtaining an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

This Employer Identification Number (EIN) is given out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes that serve as a nine-digit number unique identifier for every business operating within the United States even though it does not plan initially employ people outlining:

  • Open a business bank account
  • Hire employees (if applicable)
  • File tax returns and pay taxes
  • Establish credit for your business

You can apply online through the website or by mail or fax. The fastest and easiest way is to apply online which gives you an immediate EIN upon successful submission.

Fees Associated with Forming an LLC

Apart from the timeframe involved in forming an LLC, knowing the fees involved is very significant. These charges vary widely between states and can have a bearing on one’s budget for starting a business venture. The total cost of an LLC majorly depends on the state filing fees and taxes. Though LLCs have a pass-through tax advantage, they also have to pay sales taxes, franchise taxes, and other types of local taxes (if applicable).

State Filing Fees

The commonest fee charged when undertaking an LLC formation is the state filing fee. It is charged by the relevant state agency tasked with processing and approving the articles of organization/certificate of formation you submitted.


State filing fees for LLCs can range from as low as $40 in Kentucky up to $1,000 in Massachusetts while most other states usually charge between $100 and $500 per application on average.

One important point to bear in mind is that payment must be made for the full amount when submitting articles of association; otherwise procrastination or refusal may occur because of lacking correct information about the cash required by the authority responsible for the registration procedure associated with setting up a limited liability company corporation (LLC).

Additional Costs

In addition to the state filing fee, other charges may be imposed depending on your situation and the state in which you are forming an LLC.

Expedited Processing Fees

As was said earlier, many states have expedited LLC formation processes that can cut the time taken. These services, however, attract additional costs; which range from $ 100 to more than $ 1,000 for a quick turnaround of say one hour.

To illustrate, the fee for an expedited service in Delaware ranges from $50 to $1,000. In Nevada, fees start at $125 and go up to $1,000.

Professional Service Fees

While not mandatory per se, some businesspersons prefer using professional LLC formation companies or attorneys to handle this process. They can provide support by ensuring that you adhere to state laws and can complete necessary filings on your behalf. These companies charge a sum of money for their service packages. ZenBusiness is one of our top recommendations. It offers LLC formation for free.

Professional Limited Liability Company set-up charges can vary widely depending on the provider and the level of service offered. The least amount that a person can spend when seeking online basic designs is fifty dollars only thus raising should be as high as one thousand dollars or more if it’s full attorney representation. The price starts from $0 for formation and can go up to $1000+ for full legal and business services.

In other words, it is crucial to consider whether you will benefit sufficiently from hiring some experts while facing extra expenses associated with this kind of hiring besides how complex starting your LLC is and how well-versed you are in legal and business matters.

Post-Formation Steps

Yet forming the company is a very important step; there are still several steps you should take after formation to operate in full compliance with all relevant regulations.

  • Opening a Business Bank Account

Separating personal and business financials is important for preserving the limited liability that is extended to your LLC. A separate bank account will create a distinction between you as an owner of the business and the company itself while at the same time building a name for your new business that would enable it to get credit facilities.

To open a business bank account, you’ll typically need to provide documents such as your Articles of Organization, EIN, and in some cases, your Operating Agreement. Requirements and fees may vary depending on the financial institution and your state’s regulations.


What is an LLC and why should I consider forming one?

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business structure that offers personal liability protection to its owners, known as members. This means members are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities. LLCs also offer flexibility in management and taxation; they can be managed by members or managers, and profits can be passed through to members’ personal tax returns, avoiding double taxation. Forming an LLC is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses seeking legal protection without the complexity of a corporation.

How do I choose the right name for my LLC?

Choosing an LLC name involves ensuring it is unique and complies with your state’s naming requirements. The name must include “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company” and cannot be the same as any existing business entity in your state. Additionally, certain words (like “bank” or “insurance”) may require special approval. You can check the availability of your desired name through your state’s business registration website or database. It’s also wise to ensure the name is available as a domain name for your website and does not infringe on any trademarks.

What is a registered agent, and do I need one for my LLC?

A registered agent is an individual or business entity designated to receive legal documents, such as service of process and state correspondence, on behalf of the LLC. All states require LLCs to have a registered agent. This agent must have a physical address in the state where the LLC is registered and be available during business hours. Choosing a reliable registered agent ensures that important documents are promptly and properly handled, helping to maintain your LLC’s good standing and avoid legal issues.

What are the Articles of Organization, and how do I file them?

The Articles of Organization is a formal document filed with the state to officially create an LLC. It typically includes the LLC’s name, address, registered agent details, and member or manager information. Filing the Articles of Organization can usually be done online, by mail, or in person at the relevant state office. Each method has different processing times and fees. Filing online is often the fastest. Ensure all information is accurate to avoid delays. Once approved, the state will issue a certificate of formation, confirming your LLC’s legal existence.

What information is required in the Articles of Organization?

The Articles of Organization generally require the LLC’s name, principal business address, registered agent’s name and address, and information about the LLC’s management structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Some states may also require the purpose of the LLC and the names and addresses of the initial members or managers. Providing accurate and complete information is crucial, as errors can delay the approval process. It’s advisable to review your state’s specific requirements before submitting the document to ensure compliance.

What is an Operating Agreement, and is it necessary?

An Operating Agreement is a document that outlines the internal operations of the LLC, including management structure, member roles, voting rights, profit distribution, and procedures for adding or removing members. While not legally required in all states, it is highly recommended as it helps prevent disputes by clearly defining each member’s responsibilities and expectations. It also provides a legal framework for operating the LLC, which can be crucial in the event of disagreements or legal issues. Having a well-drafted Operating Agreement can enhance the LLC’s credibility and professionalism.

How long does it take to form an LLC?

The time it takes to form an LLC varies by state and the method of filing. Generally, processing times range from a few business days to several weeks. Online filings are typically processed faster, often within 1-10 business days, while mail filings can take longer. Some states offer expedited processing for an additional fee, significantly reducing the formation time. Seasonal factors, such as the beginning and end of the year, can also affect processing times due to increased filing volumes. It’s advisable to check your state’s specific processing times and plan accordingly.

Can I expedite the LLC formation process?

Yes, many states offer expedited processing options for LLC formation. Expedited processing usually involves paying an additional fee, which can range from a modest amount to several hundred dollars, depending on the state. This service can reduce the processing time from several weeks to a few days or even hours. To expedite your LLC formation, you typically need to select the expedited option when filing your Articles of Organization and include the necessary additional payment. It’s important to verify the expedited processing details with your state’s business registration office.

What are the costs involved in forming an LLC?

The costs of forming an LLC vary by state and include several potential fees. The primary cost is the state filing fee for the Articles of Organization, which can range from $100 to $1,000. Additional costs may include fees for expedited processing, registered agent services, and any professional assistance you hire, such as attorneys or LLC formation services. Some states also have annual fees or franchise taxes that LLCs must pay to remain in good standing. Budgeting for these expenses upfront helps ensure smooth and compliant LLC formation and operation.

Do I need an EIN for my LLC, and how do I obtain one?

Yes, an EIN (Employer Identification Number) is required for most LLCs. An EIN is necessary for tax reporting, opening a business bank account, and hiring employees. You can obtain an EIN for free from the IRS. The application process is straightforward and can be completed online, by mail, or by fax. Online applications are typically processed immediately, while mail or fax applications may take longer. Having an EIN also helps separate your business identity from your personal identity, which is crucial for maintaining limited liability protection.

Why is it important to open a business bank account for my LLC?

Opening a business bank account is crucial for maintaining the legal separation between your personal and business finances. This separation is key to preserving the limited liability protection offered by an LLC. A dedicated business account simplifies accounting, makes it easier to track business expenses, and ensures that personal assets are not mixed with business funds. It also enhances the professional image of your business, making it easier to manage finances, pay taxes, and apply for business credit or loans. Most banks require your LLC’s EIN and formation documents to open an account.

What are the benefits of using an LLC formation service?

LLC formation services offer convenience, expertise, and accuracy. These services handle the paperwork, ensure compliance with state requirements, and often provide additional services like registered agent duties and ongoing compliance reminders. They can save time and reduce the risk of errors that could delay your LLC formation. Some services also offer privacy protection by using their address for public records. Popular LLC formation services, such as Northwest Registered Agent and LegalZoom, provide various packages tailored to different needs, helping you streamline the formation process and focus on running your business.

How do state-specific regulations affect the LLC formation process?

State-specific regulations can significantly impact the LLC formation process, including the required documents, filing fees, processing times, and ongoing compliance obligations. For example, some states may have additional publication requirements or higher filing fees. Processing times can also vary widely, with some states processing online filings in a few days, while others may take weeks. It’s essential to research your state’s specific requirements and regulations to ensure a smooth formation process and avoid any legal issues. Consulting with local experts or using a formation service can also help navigate these variations.

What should I do if my LLC name is already taken?

If your desired LLC name is already taken, you will need to choose a different name that meets your state’s naming requirements. You can modify the name by adding unique words, abbreviations, or using a different order of words. Ensure the new name is still relevant to your business and memorable for customers. After selecting an alternative name, conduct another name availability search. It’s also wise to check if the new name is available as a domain name and does not infringe on any existing trademarks. This step ensures your brand remains distinctive and legally protected.

What are common mistakes to avoid when forming an LLC?

Common mistakes when forming an LLC include providing incorrect or incomplete information in the Articles of Organization, failing to designate a registered agent, and neglecting to create an Operating Agreement. Another mistake is not researching state-specific requirements, leading to delays or compliance issues. Additionally, mixing personal and business finances by not opening a separate business bank account can jeopardize limited liability protection. To avoid these pitfalls, carefully follow state guidelines, ensure all documents are accurately completed, and consider seeking professional assistance or using an LLC formation service.


Forming an LLC is a crucial step for any entrepreneur looking to establish a legitimate business entity with liability protection and potential tax advantages. While the process may seem daunting at first, understanding the key steps, processing times, and associated costs can help you navigate the LLC formation process more efficiently.

Keep in mind that state regulations and processing times can vary significantly, so it’s essential to research the specific requirements and timelines for the state where you plan to form your LLC. Additionally, consider the potential benefits of using a professional LLC formation service if you want to streamline the process, ensure accuracy, and protect your privacy. We recommend ZenBusiness as it offers LLC formation at $0 and also has a quick turnaround time.

Ultimately, starting the LLC formation process early and allowing ample time for processing and approvals can help you avoid unnecessary delays and get your new business up and running smoothly.

Leave a Comment