North Carolina Foreign LLC – Qualification and Registration


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If you already have an LLC in another state and want an LLC in NC, then starting an LLC would be somewhat different. You must register as a foreign LLC. We have here a guide on how you can qualify and register for a foreign LLC in North Carolina.

Forming an North Carolina Foreign LLC

A foreign LLC does not need to be a company from another country but a business formed under the laws of another state. To start a foreign LLC in North Carolina, you need to register it with the North Carolina Secretary of State.

Step 1: Choose North Carolina Foreign LLC Name

Obtain a name reservation certificate and submit it with your foreign qualification requirements at the North Carolina Secretary of State. Your LLC’s legal name outside of North Carolina will be listed on the application, along with the name it will use in North Carolina. Take note of the requirements for naming your LLC.

Check name availability at North Carolina’s business entity names and reserve your LLC name.

Step 2: Select North Carolina Foreign LLC Registered Agent

You’ll need a registered agent to form a foreign LLC in North Carolina and take note that a North Carolina registered agent must have a local address. Here are three of the best LLC services on our list that will provide you with registered agents to ease your worries:

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Step 3: File Registration of North Carolina Foreign LLC

Fill out and submit a Foreign LLC Application for Registration form via email to [email protected] or by mail to NC Secretary of State Business Registration, P.O. Box 29622, Raleigh, North Carolina 27626-0622.

Include the following:

  • LLC’s full legal name.
  • A fictitious name or a DBA (only if your LLC’s legal name is not available); Attach a statement of adoption of the fictitious name signed by all LLC members.
  • LLC’s principal office and mailing addresses.
  • LLC formation state and date.
  • Registered agent’s name and address in North Carolina.
  • Date when your LLC will start operations in North Carolina.
  • Credit card information on the last page of the form for the $150 application fee.

The LLC cost in North Carolina, even for foreign LLCs will differ between online filing and by mail.

Step 4: Determine How Your North Carolina Foreign LLC is taxed

Foreign LLCs are also subjected to the North Carolina Business Privilege Tax, and they must file LLC annual reports each year.

Note that forming a foreign LLC would be good for your business as you can legally operate in a different state thus reaching a larger market and opening more opportunities for higher profit.

Steps to Filing North Carolina Foreign LLC

Time needed: 5 minutes

To establish your foreign LLC in the State of North Carolina, you are required to register your business LLC with the Secretary of State of North Carolina. You can apply for Certificate of Authority for Limited Liability Company via online as well as offline mode. The cost of registration is $250. Once your application is approved, you will receive a Certified Copy of your registration from the Secretary of State office. We have explained the aspects you need to cover when you apply for the North Carolina Foreign Limited Liability Company.

  1. Go to the Official North Carolina Secretary of State website

    Visit the NC SOS portal on the official Secretary of State website. The portal is a one-stop solution to different business filings online. You can easily submit your business documents by creating a free account on the portal. Scroll down and select the option of ‘Online Business Services’.
    NC-sos

  2. Navigate to Online Business Services

    On the given page, select the option of ‘Navigate to Online Business Services’ present on the top section of the screen. Next, select the link of ‘Business Registration’ from the given drop-down list.
    NC-online business service

  3. Register your business

    On the Business Registration page, scroll down and select the third tab ‘Register your Business Online’. On the next page, the Sign In box appears. If you already have an account on the NC SOS portal, proceed to log in by entering your username or notary number and password. If you do not have an account, go on to read the next step to create an account on the portal.
    NC-sos register

  4. Create your account:

    To create your account, on the Sign In page, under the Sign In help box click on the ‘First Time user?’ link.
    NC-sign-in

  5. Complete the Registration Process

    On the Create a New Account page, create your username and password and proceed to fill in the other required details such as Business name, first and last name, street address, and contact details. Click on the ‘Register’ tab.

  6. File your application

    After creating your account on the portal, log in to your account using the username and password. On the user homepage, select the option to ‘Create a Business Online’ under the ‘I want to..’ section from the toolbar. Now on the online application page, proceed to fill in all the required fields with your relevant business information. Upload all the mandatory documents in the given sections.

  7. Review your application

    Before submitting your application, recheck all the information entered by you to be correct and accurate to your knowledge.

  8. Make the payment

    As the last step, proceed to the payment gateway page and make an online payment of $250.00 as the filing fee for your North Carolina Certificate of Authority Application. After you have successfully submitted your application form, you will receive a notification from the Secretary of State office acknowledging the receipt of your application.

Filing your North Carolina Certificate of Authority by Mail

You can also file your Foreign LLC Certificate of Authority Application by mail

  • Download the Application form PDF (Form L-09) on your system.
  • Read all the instructions carefully and proceed to fill in the application form.
  • You must attach the original Certificate of Existence issued by the State of Original jurisdiction, which should be less than 6 months old from the date of issuance.
  • Review all the information entered by you to be correct and accurate.
  • Issue a money order or check of $250 as the filing fee for your Foreign LLC Registration application, payable to the ‘Secretary of State’.
  • Arrange all the documents and mail it to the following address, Business Registration Division P.O. Box 29622 Raleigh, Nc 27626-0622.

After Forming North Carolina Foreign LLC

Here are added things you need to accomplish after forming your North Carolina Foreign LLC

  1. Obtain Business Licenses. Find the business licenses you’ll need using the Business License Search.
  2. File LLC annual reports and Business Privilege Tax.
  3. Pay State Taxes like sales tax; you’ll need an EIN for your LLC.

It is convenient plus easy to file for the foreign LLC if you are doing it online. The steps are very easy and that’s why it’s possible to go along with the steps and form the foreign LLC in North Carolina.

F.A.Qs

What is a foreign LLC in North Carolina?

If your LLC is formed under the laws of another state, it is referred to as a foreign LLC in North Carolina.

Do I need a foreign LLC?

Businesses incorporated outside of the state where they operate must have “foreign qualifications” issued in the other states.

What is the main difference between domestic and foreign LLC?

A domestic LLC is a company registered in North Carolina as an LLC. The entity type that has a physical presence in another state is a foreign LLC.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Foreign LLC in North Carolina

To register as a foreign LLC in North Carolina, you can file through mail or online by paying a filing fee of $250 to the North Carolina Secretary of State.

The first step towards pursuing these entrepreneurial aspirations is determining the type of entity suitable for conducting business in a foreign land. LLCs, with their flexibility and limited liability protections, have gained considerable popularity over the years. However, when establishing a foreign LLC in North Carolina, entrepreneurs must bear in mind the various fees involved.

One of the primary considerations is the application fee for registering the foreign LLC with the Secretary of State’s office. Just as opening an international business requires diligence and meticulousness, these responsibilities come at a price. The application fee helps cover the administrative costs associated with processing and documenting the incorporation of this foreign entity.

Apart from the initial filing fee, a financial commitment is also necessary to maintain the foreign LLC’s status in North Carolina. This maintenance fee is typically an annual charge and ensures the LLC meets all obligations stipulated by the state. Regular assessment and collection of these fees allow the government to sustain its infrastructure and continue providing business-friendly services to entrepreneurs.

Other expenditures entrepreneurs should be mindful of pertain to securing a registered agent and obtaining a certificate of authority. Appointing a registered agent is mandatory, as it ensures that the LLC has a designated point of contact for receiving service of process and official documents. Complying with this requirement is an essential part of maintaining legal compliance and protecting the members’ interests.

Additionally, obtaining a certificate of authority is crucial to prove the foreign LLC’s legitimacy and authority to conduct business on North Carolina soil. This certificate serves as a documentary declaration that the LLC has adhered to the state statutes and regulations. While securing a certificate does bear a cost, it reinforces the foreign entity’s credibility, helping establish effective relationships with local vendors and clients.

It is essential, however, to bear in mind that the fees associated with registering a foreign LLC in North Carolina are subject to periodic fluctuations and may vary based on specific circumstances. Other potential expenditures might include additional required licenses or permits depending on the nature of the business. Therefore, entrepreneurs are well-advised to consult with legal and financial professionals to gain an accurate understanding of the current fees and requirements.

Despite the financial considerations involved, registering a foreign LLC in North Carolina is an investment that can provide tremendous growth opportunities and increased market reach. Entrepreneurs entering this realm must recognize that establishing an international presence requires careful estimation of costs, the willingness to adhere to regulations, and the pursuit of expert guidance to savor the sweet taste of success in foreign landscapes.

In Conclusion

Starting a foreign LLC in North Carolina does not require a lot of documentation or tasks. However, it is always good to seek help from a professional when it comes to running your business. Get a professional registered agent and form your foreign LLC anywhere without a hassle.


About Author & Editorial Staff

Steve Goldstein, founder of LLCBuddy, is a specialist in corporate formations, dedicated to guiding entrepreneurs and small business owners through the LLC process. LLCBuddy provides a wealth of streamlined resources such as guides, articles, and FAQs, making LLC establishment seamless. The diligent editorial staff makes sure content is accurate, up-to-date information on topics like state-specific requirements, registered agents, and compliance. Steve's enthusiasm for entrepreneurship makes LLCBuddy an essential and trustworthy resource for launching and running an LLC.

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