South Carolina Foreign LLC – Qualification and Registration


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If you already have an LLC in another state and want an LLC in SC, 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 South Carolina.

Forming a South 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 South Carolina, you need to register it with the South Carolina Secretary of State.

Step 1: Choose South Carolina Foreign LLC Name

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

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

Step 2: Select South Carolina Foreign LLC Registered Agent

You’ll need a registered agent to form a foreign LLC in South Carolina and take note that a South 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 South Carolina Foreign LLC

Fill out and submit a Foreign LLC Application for a Registration form by mail toSouth Carolina Secretary of State’s Office, Attn: Corporate Fillings, 1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525, Columbia, SC 29201.

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 South Carolina
  • Date when your LLC will start operations in South Carolina.
  • Credit card information on the last page of the form for the $150 application fee.

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

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

Foreign LLCs are also subjected to the South 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 South Carolina Foreign LLC Online

Time needed: 5 minutes

To initiate your foreign business through a Limited Liability Company in the State of South Carolina, you must register your foreign business with the Secretary of State of South Carolina. The State offers online and offline methods of filing. After approval of your application, you will receive a Certified copy of your Business Registration from the Secretary of State office. The Cost of registration is $110 (non-refundable). We have explained the aspects you need to cover when you register your foreign business in South Carolina.

  1. Visit the official website of the Secretary of State of South Carolina

    Access the South Carolina Secretary of State official website. The State website offers a single-stop solution to different business filings through an Online Business filings portal to provide a convenient platform offering different business-related services to the citizens in the online format.

  2. Create a Business Account

    Create your personal account on the State business portal to access the online services offered by the State. If you already own a business account, enter your user ID and password to log in to the portal.

  3. Start your business filing

    Login to your business portal account. On the user homepage, select the option to “Start a New Business Filing”. Next, enter your desired business name and choose to “Add a new entity”. Now, from the dropdown menu, select the option of “Limited Liability Company” and then select “Articles of Organization”.

  4. Read the instructions

    When you access the online application form on your device, firstly, go through all the instructions attached to the form carefully and accordingly start filling in all the required details. Do not skip any important section. After you finish providing the details in the form, review all the information provided by you to be correct and accurate.

  5. Make the payment

    Upon finalizing your application form, you must proceed to the payment gateway page and pay $110 as the online filing fee of your business registration application. You shall receive an acknowledgment receipt notification from the Secretary of State office after you successfully submit the application form.

File Foreign LLC By Mail

  • Download the Application form PDF on your device.
  • Read all the instructions to fill the form and proceed accordingly. Do not miss out on providing any important information.
  • You must also attach the Certificate of Existence issued by the State of Original Jurisdiction.
  • Recheck all the details mentioned in the application form. Avoid any error in filling the details.
  • Now, issue a money order or check for $110 payable to the Secretary of State.
  • Arrange all the documents together and mail it to the following address, Secretary of State, 1205 Pendleton St, Ste.525, Columbia, SC 29201.

After Forming South Carolina Foreign LLC

Here are added things you need to accomplish after forming your South 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 South Carolina.

F.A.Qs

What is a foreign LLC in South Carolina?

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

To register as a foreign LLC in South Carolina, you can file through mail or online by paying a filing fee of $110 to the South Carolina Secretary of State.

Firstly, foreign business owners need to consider the application filing fee imposed by the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office. This fee typically covers the administrative costs associated with processing the LLC registration documents. While the amount may differ from state to state, potential investors should be prepared to allocate a proportionate sum appropriate for South Carolina’s requirements.

Additionally, hiring a registered agent is an essential expense to anticipate when planning to register a foreign LLC. A registered agent is a designated individual or entity responsible for receiving important legal documents and notifications on behalf of the business. South Carolina mandates that all LLCs have a registered agent who maintains a physical address within the state. Therefore, foreign LLCs are obligated to hire a registered agent or use a registered agent service, which necessitates additional costs.

Apart from the initial registration fees and hiring a registered agent, foreign businesses seeking to expand to South Carolina should consider expenses related to legal guidance. Although retaining the services of an attorney is not mandatory, seeking legal counsel can be beneficial during the registration process. Attorneys can help ensure compliance with South Carolina’s laws, rules, and regulations, providing foreign business owners with peace of mind that all necessary legal documentation and formalities are correctly established.

Another crucial consideration is the ongoing annual reporting fees that foreign LLCs are subject to in South Carolina. These fees are typically intended for LLCs to stay in good standing within the state. While the fees may vary depending on factors such as the LLC’s revenue or other specific requirements, it is crucial for foreign business owners to plan for this annual expense when registering a foreign LLC in South Carolina.

In some cases, foreign LLCs may also encounter additional costs tied to local licenses and permits. Businesses operating in certain industries or offering specific products or services may be required to obtain specialized permissions or licenses to ensure compliance with South Carolina’s regulations. Although these costs would highly depend on the business’s nature, foreign LLCs should investigate and take into account any necessary licenses in the related field.

In conclusion, foreign LLC registration in South Carolina comes at a price, as businesses must navigate various expenses to fulfill the state’s required legal obligations. While the precise costs associated with registering a foreign LLC may differ from case to case, it is important for foreign business owners not to overlook these potential expenses. By thoroughly researching and planning for these financial obligations, foreign LLCs can remain abreast of the costs involved and take the necessary steps to establish a successful presence in South Carolina.

In Conclusion

Starting a foreign LLC in South 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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