A commercial registered agent is a person or entity that has filed a commercial registered agent listing statement with the Secretary of State (or equivalent state office) in accordance with applicable state laws.
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In this article, we explain more about what a commercial registered agent is, the differences between a commercial and noncommercial registered agent, and related topics.
- Commercial Registered Agent vs. Noncommercial Registered Agent
- What States Recognize Commercial Registered Agents?
- Other Names for Commercial Registered Agents
- How to Check if You’re Using a Commercial Registered Agent
- Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in a State That Requires a Commercial Registered Agent
- Who Should Be Your Registered Agent?
Commercial Registered Agent vs. Noncommercial Registered Agent
A commercial registered agent is a person or entity that has registered with the state by filing a commercial registered agent listing statement with the Secretary of State in accordance with the Model Registered Agent Act (MoRAA) or similar state law. A commercial registered agent serves several purposes, one of which is to allow the state to limit the number of companies served by noncommercial registered agents.
Under the MoRAA, the listing statement must include:
- The registered agent’s name and entity type
- A statement that the person or entity is acting as a commercial registered agent
- A physical address in the state where official documents like a court summons can be received
Which States Recognize Commercial Registered Agents?
Eleven states and Washington D.C. have adopted the MoRAA and recognize commercial registered agents. These states include:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
In addition, Pennsylvania, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, and California have laws similar to the MoRAA. Other states don’t require registered agents to file commercial registered agent listings.
How Do You Become a Commercial Registered Agent?
If your state has adopted the MoRAA or a similar law, becoming a commercial registered agent is a matter of filing a commercial registered agent listing statement with the Secretary of State (or equivalent government office) in accordance with that state’s laws.
Other Names for Commercial Registered Agents
In some states, a registered agent is called a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process.
How to Check if You’re Using a Commercial Registered Agent
If it’s not clear whether your registered agent is commercial or noncommercial, check with the Secretary of State (or equivalent state office), visit its website, or ask the agent.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in a State That Requires a Commercial Registered Agent?
If your state requires a commercial registered agent, you can still be your own registered agent if you meet the criteria and file the appropriate paperwork.
Who Should Be Your Registered Agent?
A registered agent should, first and foremost, be a person or entity you trust. If it’s a person, it can be anyone who:
- Is 18 years or older
- Has a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state where business is conducted
- Is available in person during normal business hours
A professional service also can act as a registered agent. To fill this role, the company must be authorized to do business in and have a physical address in the state. It also must have an authorized individual present every day during normal business hours to receive official documents.
We recommend using a professional service to maintain privacy and save time that can be spent on other business needs. For more information, see our What Is a Registered Agent? and Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? guides.
The Best Registered Agent Services
To help you find the best registered agent service online, we rated the best registered agent services and compared their prices and most important features.
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How to Choose a Registered Agent in Your State
To learn more about registered agent requirements in your state, visit our state registered agent guides:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
Commercial Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions
What is a commercial registered agent?
A commercial registered agent is a person or entity that has filed a commercial registered agent listing statement with the Secretary of State.
What is the difference between a commercial registered agent and a noncommercial registered agent?
A commercial registered agent is one that has filed a registered agent listing statement, while a noncommercial registered agent has not filed this document.
Who should be your registered agent?
Although you can be your own registered agent, we recommend using a service instead. See our review of the top 7 registered agent services of 2021 to narrow down your choices.