Appointing a California Registered Agent for Your LLC

Hands pulling large page from printer, man and woman discussing business in office

A registered agent is a requirement when forming an LLC in California. It allows for the state to know who and how to contact your business with any important information or other correspondence. Having one is not an option but a requirement. If you are creating an LLC now, you may need to understand the details about a registered agent, including what they can offer you and how they can help you.

What Is a California Registered Agent?

A registered agent under California law is a person who is legally designated as the LLC’s point of contact. It applies to both nonprofits and businesses in the state. 

Registered agent's purpose:

Businessman talking to his registered agent

The registered agent has the responsibility of receiving all important legal notices for the LLC. This may include service of process notifications, including notifications of lawsuits filed against your organization. The registered agent must receive and inform your business about:

This agent will play a role in your business from time to time. The amount of work they need to do is really dependent on the type of business you have as well as the number of changes you make to your business over time. Choosing the right person or company for this process is important. 

Requirements for a registered agent

Businessman in front of a building registered agent requirements California

A California registered agent is a person or a business entity. There are very specific requirements for these individuals, such as:

In addition to this, the individual must be willing to provide their name and physical address to the state and include it on all public records in the state. They must be willing to maintain the role of a registered agent. It is not common for a P.O. Box or any type of mailbox service to be accepted as an address for the individual. Also, they must be available at the address that is provided during business hours. If a package or document is delivered, they must be able to sign for those documents. 

When considering the role of service of process, recognize that the agent must be readily available. If a person travels frequently or is otherwise unable to be readily available during business hours, this can be a problem. It means that legal correspondence cannot be delivered to your business. That is why having a legal representative who is available is so important.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in California?

It is possible to be your own registered agent under California law. Most people may wish to do this to reduce costs or for privacy reasons. However, there are some key things to keep in mind. 

First, you have to meet all the requirements listed above to qualify as a registered agent. You can appoint anyone to this designation if they meet these requirements.

The biggest limitation on doing so is being available every business day during all business hours. Most people may find that very limited because they are not at the location all the time. Moreover, using your own address means that anything on public record for your business is going to have your physical address on it. That could expose your personal home or other location to anyone looking for it.

If you decide to be your own registered agent, you can use your business address. If you own the property, you can use it as your registered agent. Keep in mind that if you move your business for any reason, you also need to update this information. 

How to Appoint a Registered Agent?

In the state of California, you will elect the registered agent when you complete the articles of organization for your LLC. You can change your registered agent at any time. Here are a few steps for appointing this person.

The state requires companies to complete the Registered Corporate Agent for Service of Process Certificate in California form, which you can download and print if you would like to do so. This document outlines all information required by the state. 

Appointing online

It is often faster and more efficient overall to complete this form and any other information for your LLC online through the Secretary of State’s website. This is the method the state prefers as well. To do so, start by creating an account on the website here.

From there, you are able to find the necessary forms online to use for most of the interactions you will have with the state for your LLC’s creation and management. The File Online website provides easy-to-use tools to help you with formation, statement of information, and termination needs. This includes the online forms needed for your registered agent. 

Appointing by mail

Should you decide to complete the process through the mail, you can do so by completing the form listed above for registering your agent and then printing it off. Once printed, you can then mail it to this address:

California Secretary of State – Business Programs Division

1500 11th Street, 2nd and 3rd Floors

Sacramento, CA 95814

If you find that you have questions, the Secretary of State also offers a phone number you can call at 916-653-6814. 

How to Change My Registered Agent?

It is sometimes necessary to change who you designate to hold this position for you. No matter why you want to do so, you are legally able to do so as often as you need to change it.

To do this, file a Statement of Information. This is done through the California Secretary of State online, or you can mail it in. 

To do so online, visit the Secretary of State website and log into your account. There, you can search for your company using the database tools on the site. Once you locate it, fill out and submit the form online. You can find the form needed here. You can submit the form online.

Mail it

Use this address to send this form in the mail if you choose to do so:

California Secretary of State – Business Programs Division

1500 11th Street, 2nd and 3rd Floors

Sacramento, CA 95814


A third option for submitting this information is to do so in person. You can do that by visiting this address:

Secretary of State

1500 11th St.

Sacramento, CA 95814

Keep in mind that you may need to make an appointment in advance. There is a $20 filing fee for these changes.

The amount of time it takes to process these updates varies. You can use your online account to check for processing times, which the state updates often. The state recommends using the online tools for the fastest results in every situation.

Benefits of Using a California Registered Agent Service

Registered agent benefits in CA

As a business owner, it is important to know what is best for your organization. In some situations, it is critical to hire a third-party business to be your registered agent. Doing so can offer a number of benefits to your organization while also working to ensure there is no delay in receiving the key information that you need. 

One of the most important things to remember is that if your business does not receive valuable correspondence for any reason, you may still be responsible for the information contained within it, such as timelines for responses. California does not accept “missing in the mail” reasons for information or tasks not being completed. Consider a few key reasons why you may wish to use a hired registered agent service.

Peace of mind

When you have a registered agent service working for you, you gain peace of mind. Every business needs this service, but that does place some restrictions on your organization for being available to handle these types of needs. 

When you have a service doing this type of work for you, they are able to handle the process of being there and ensuring that all documentation is properly received right away. That allows you to focus on your business and the tasks that help you run your company. 


Utilizing a registered agent service means that that service’s address is placed on all the documents necessary. That means your personal address or business address is not used on those documents. As a result, you gain more privacy. Keep in mind that the registered agent’s address is in the public domain. That means that anyone can obtain that information if they would like to for any reason. To protect the privacy of your business and potentially your residential or private commercial business, you may want to choose to have a service in place instead of doing it yourself.

Compliance with the state law

California state law is very clear on the importance of having a registered agent. Meeting compliance requirements under state law can be difficult at best and frustrating in some situations, especially when it requires time-intensive tasks. 

Your registered agent can handle this work for you. They help ensure that you are kept up-to-date on all requirements and that you do not have to worry about confusing government forms or unnecessary state filing penalties for being late. 

In addition to this, the registered agent service will also help you stay up-to-date. They may do this by sending you regular reminders and, in some situations, can even handle the Annual Report that the state of California requires you to submit to them.

Also, note that all backup documents are stored with the registered agent service. If you do not have any of the LLC formation documents, documents are available through the service.


Today’s businesses operate on many schedules. When you use a registered agent service, you no longer have to feel limited by those hours. That is because the registered agent service is available to you at any time, 365 days a year. You do not have to maintain regular business hours. You can travel as often as you like without having to worry about someone being there to meet the compliance requirements. 

If your company does business in several states, you would have to set up offices in each one, which can mean multiple people and multiple locations to be staffed all the time. That adds costs and can be hard to manage. Instead, you could pay one vendor that operates in all locations to streamline the process for you.

Reduces paperwork

One of the best reasons to use a registered agent service is that you do not have to worry about all the paperwork that is typically involved in the process. The company manages and maintains all official requirements by the state. This can help ensure that every correspondence is completed on time and accurately.

A big part of that is meeting the requirement set by California for an annual report. That report has to be filed on time, and it needs to be accurate. The registered agent service can manage that need for you while also helping you complete any other tasks needed.

A Registered Agent Is a Must, but Does Not Have to Be Difficult

With the help of your registered agent service, you can easily meet all the requirements set by California for having an agent and being available. The key here is not to overlook this need. If you are currently operating as your own, contact a registered agent service to help you make the necessary changes and get you the peace of mind you need.

This portion of our website is for informational purposes only. Tailor Brands is not a law firm, and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. All statements, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions are solely the expression of the author and provided on an as-is basis. Accordingly, Tailor Brands is not responsible for the information and/or its accuracy or completeness.

Shai Shmarel started his life as a corporate lawyer before switching to being an SEO and Content Manager at Tailor Brands. He has experience in managing companies, rankings SERPs and covering a content-driven approach for all things legal, business and marketing. When off work, you’ll usually find him chilling with a cup of coffee and a book in the desert.