How to Start an LLC in Virginia

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

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, use a professional service:

four point seven out of five stars ZenBusiness $39 (plus 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

To learn how to form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Start an LLC guide.

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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Once you register a domain name for your LLC, consider setting up a business phone system to establish credibility and enhance your customer service. Nextiva provides a plethora of useful features and a quick, easy setup. Try Nextiva.

Using a Virginia Fictitious Name or Assumed Name (DBA)

A Virginia DBA (doing business as), also known as a fictitious name or assumed name, is any registered name that a business operates under that isn't its legal business name. A fictitious name or assumed name can be used by any type of business, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).

Learn how to get a DBA in our Virginia DBA guide.

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.

A registered agent's job is to accept legal documents like service of process and tax notices for your LLC. To learn more about Virginia Registered Agents, read our guide.

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: Northwest Registered Agent offers a free year of registered agent service when you form your LLC ($39 plus state fees).

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.

Need Help Forming an LLC?

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Steps After Forming an LLC

After forming your LLC, it's important to:

  • Open a business bank account. A business bank account helps separate personal expenses and company expenses, which is required to maintain your LLC's corporate veil. A corporate veil protects your personal assets from creditors in potential lawsuits against your LLC or Business.

    Learn more by reading this guide to Banking for Entrepreneurs. For a multi-member LLC, you'll also want to set up capital accounts for members. We also recommend checking out our review of the best business bank accounts.
  • Get a business credit card. A business credit card will help separate personal and business expenses while building your company’s credit history. A strong credit history will be useful for raising capital in the form of small business loans.
  • Hire a business accountant. A business accountant will help you save on taxes and avoid penalties and fines. An accountant makes bookkeeping and payroll easier. Find out how much you could be saving with a consultation with a business accountant.
  • Get business insurance. Business insurance helps manage risk. The most common forms of business insurance are general liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation.

Find out the real cost of getting insurance for your business. Get a free quote or call 855-602-1925.

Keep Your Company Compliant

  • Research Virginia business licenses and permits. For help, visit our How to Get a Business License in Virginia guide. There are also business license services that will help with this.
  • Pay Your Virginia LLC annual registration fee. File online with the Virginia Corporation Commission by the last day of the month in which the LLC was registered, each year.
  • Understand Virginia state tax requirements. Visit our Virginia Sales Tax guide to learn more about seller’s permits and Virginia sales tax.
  • Understand federal tax requirements. Most LLCs will need to report their income to the IRS each year using Form 1065 Partnership Return (multi-member LLCs) or Form 1040 Schedule C (single-member LLCs).

More LLC Resources

  • Virginia Foreign LLCs: Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. Download the Virginia foreign LLC form to get started.
  • Virginia Certificate of Good Standing: A certificate of good standing verifies that your LLC was legally formed. To order, follow our Virginia certificate of good standing guide.
  • Dissolving a Virginia LLC: If you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Virginia LLC Dissolution Guide.
  • LLC Legal Forms: TRUiC offers a number of free LLC legal forms including operating agreements, LLC resolutions, and hiring documents.

Need Help Forming an LLC?

Read our Best LLC Services review to learn more about pricing and packages.