How to Start an LLC in Virginia

L L C members happy after starting an L L C in Virginia

LLCs are the most popular structure for small businesses in Virginia. That's because starting and running a limited liability company (LLC) is very simple and offers important benefits.

LLCs can protect your personal assets (car, house, savings) if something happens to your business. LLCs also offer credibility and options to save on taxes.

It’s easy to form an LLC in Virginia online yourself. Just follow these steps:

  1. Name Your LLC
  2. Choose a Registered Agent
  3. File the VA Articles of Organization
  4. Create an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN


Or, you can use an online LLC service to form an LLC:


four point seven out of five stars ZenBusiness ($39 + State Fees)

Three out of Five Stars LegalZoom ($149 + State Fees)

Starting a Virginia LLC is Easy

You can start a Virginia LLC online by registering the Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission. The cost for Virginia LLC registration is $100.

Follow our How to Start an LLC in Virginia guide below to get started.

Steps to form an L L C in Virginia

Step 1: Create A Name For Your LLC in Virginia

Before you register your LLC, you'll need to come up with a name. Your business name needs to be catchy for branding purposes and legitimate for legal purposes.

We go into depth on this topic in our LLC naming guide. We’ll go over the basics below.

Naming Your LLC

First, brainstorm some possibilities. Use our LLC name generator to get the ideas flowing.

Next, make sure your name meets Virginia guidelines:

  • it contains the words limited liability company, limited company, LLC or L.L.C.
  • it doesn't contain restricted words or phrases (these often include words like bank, attorney, and university) without approval
  • it's distinguishable from any other entity or trade name registered in Virginia
  • full list of Virginia naming rules

Next, do a Virginia LLC name search with the State Corporation Commission to find out if your name is available in Virginia.

If your business name is available and meets guidelines, you’ll be able to register it when you file your Virginia Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission.

Is the URL available? Before you commit 100% to a name, check to see if there’s a good web domain available.

We recommend buying your domain right away because even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it will be soon.

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Step 2: Appoint A Virginia LLC Registered Agent

When you file your Articles of Organization, you will be asked to appoint a Virginia registered agent.

Your registered agent will be responsible for receiving important legal documents like tax forms and service of process notices on behalf of your Virginia LLC. Your registered agent can be an individual resident of the state or a company that’s legally authorized to represent businesses in Virginia.

Virginia does give you the option to act as your own registered agent, but many business owners choose to appoint a professional instead. Here are a few things to think about before you decide to act as your own:

  • You’ll have to maintain normal (9 am - 5 pm) business hours at the address you provide.
  • If you run your business from home, you’ll be required to make your personal address public.
  • You must keep up on important notices, dates, and deadlines.
  • You could be served in front of your family or coworkers.

 

Recommended: Most registered agent services offer a year of registered agent service free when you form an LLC with them. 

Step 3: File Your Virginia LLC Articles of Organization

It’s time to officially form your LLC by filing your Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission.

You can file online with the State Corporation Commission or fill out a hard copy of Virginia Form LLC1011 and mail it in. The filing fee is $100. 

Recommended: Now is a good time to decide if your LLC will be member-managed vs manager-managed.

You'll need to know the following information to complete each Article:

  1. Entity Name
  2. Registered Agent Name
  3. Registered Office Address
  4. Principal Office Address

For more detailed help with completing the form, visit our Virginia Articles of Organization guide.


Mail Your Articles of Organization:

Send the form and payment (payable to the State Corporation Commission) to:

State Corporation Commission
Clerk's Office
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197

How long does it take to get an LLC approved? LLC processing time is one week by mail or immediately online (following payment).

Step 4: Create a Virginia LLC Operating Agreement

Creating a Virginia LLC operating agreement is the only way to legally lock down your LLC’s management and ownership structure. Having this document in place will give you something to return to if a dispute or lawsuit arises. 

Even single-member LLCs benefit from having an operating agreement.

Your operating agreement should outline the following:

  • Each member’s responsibilities
  • How new members will be admitted
  • How existing members may transfer or terminate their membership
  • How profits and dividends will be distributed

You can add as many provisions as you want, as long as they don't conflict with Virginia business law. Take a look at our What is an Operating Agreement guide to learn more.

Download a template or create a custom Free Operating Agreement using our tool.

Step 5: Obtain An EIN (Employer Identification Number) For Your LLC

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number (SSN) for your company. The IRS and the state of Virginia will use this number to track your business activity.

Your EIN will come in handy when it’s time to:

  • Open a business bank account
  • File Federal and State taxes
  • Hire employees

The best way to get an EIN for your LLC in Virginia is by using the free online application on the IRS website.

Read our Get an EIN guide for instructions.

Steps After Forming an LLC

After forming your LLC, it's important to:

Need Help Forming an LLC?

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