How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC (2024 Guide)

09/04/2024

Congratulations! Choosing to form an LLC is a big step for any business owner. But the time it takes to officially get your LLC depends on a number of things, like which state you file in, and how you choose to file. Even if you file your paperwork lightning-fast and submit it properly, there are things like processing and approval times to contend with and they can make the already complicated LLC formation process a little more complicated. But, we'll clear it all up and break it all down so that you understand what's going on. In this article we'll answer the question “How long does it take to get an LLC?”.

Why Is Timing Crucial In LLC Formation?

It’s important that you choose the right time to form your Limited Liability Company because if you do it at the wrong time, it could cause you problems when it comes to taxes and annual reports. 

The best time to form an LLC is before you’ve even launched your business. That way, it’s a one-and-done process where you get everything done at once, as opposed to making the switch to an LLC in the middle of trying to grow your business. 

It’s a good idea in many instances to wait until January 1st, or the first of the year, to start an LLC. This is because if you form an LLC at the end of the year, you may end up having to file two annual reports in your first year, and they’re quite pricey in some states. The good news is that some states allow you to do what’s called “delayed filing”, which allows you to start the formation process a few months early, and request an LLC effective date of January 1st. 

There are a few instances where January 1st isn’t the ideal time to form an LLC. For instance, if your business is already running and you work in a high-liability industry, then it’s probably a good idea to start your Limited Liability Company as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to form an LLC ASAP if you want to cash in on the tax benefits immediately.

Understanding the LLC Formation Process

It’s important to know what the LLC formation process entails before you dive head-first into it. This will give you a better idea of both what’s expected from you and what you can expect on the government end of things. 

Step-by-Step Breakdown Of The LLC Formation Process

  1. Get the Right Form : Some states call this the Articles of Organization, but it’s also called a Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization form. You can usually find the form with the Secretary of State. No matter what it’s called in your state, you need to get it.
  2. Choose A Name For Your LLC : Choosing a name for your LLC is more difficult than simply thinking up something that sounds cool. Your LLC must have a unique name that doesn’t sound too similar to other business names. So, you’ll need to run a business name search to find out if your name idea is available, and go back to the drawing board if it isn’t.
  3. Choose A Registered Agent or Statutory Agent : Your registered agent is someone who receives official correspondence from government agencies and law firms on behalf of your business, and it’s a position you need to fill for legal reasons. This can be a civilian resident of the state, or a business. If you’re choosing someone you know for the position, it’s important to know that they must be available during business hours, present at your business address, and have a physical address. (PO boxes aren’t allowed!)
  4. Choose Your LLC Address : The official business address of your LLC is just as important as your LLC name because it’s where all of your government correspondence and service of process will be sent. But, it’s usually not a good idea to use your home address because your business address is listed on public record. So, make sure you choose wisely!
  5. Submit Your Paperwork : After you’ve filled out your paperwork, you need to sign it (or choose who signs it), and then submit it. If you sign and file it yourself, then that information is listed on the public record. 

There are also a number of activities you’ll need to complete once you’ve filed your paperwork. If you want to learn more about all of the steps you need to take to get an LLC, read How to Start an LLC

Factors Influencing The Duration To Form An LLC

There are several different factors that could affect how long it takes you to get an LLC. Here are some of the factors that influence the duration to form an LLC.

State Specific Regulations And Processing Times

One of the biggest factors that affects how long it takes to get an LLC is the regulations and processing times of your state government. For instance, some states like New York, have a publishing requirement for all LLCs. This means you’ll have to publish a notice of formation in an approved newspaper for a certain number of weeks, at the end of which you’ll get a Certificate of Publication, which you’ll file along with your Articles of Organization. 

Some states also allow for expedited filing, which can greatly speed up the process for an additional fee. Others only allow you to file by mail and don’t even have online filing options.

Complexity Of Your Business Structure

A more complex business structure with loads of members and managers can hold up the formation process. This affects approval times, as well as things like taxes. It can also take longer for an LLC formation service to properly file all the paperwork to get your LLC up and running because they’ll have to highly customize your LLC Operating Agreement.

Professional Assistance : A Time-Saver ?

You may be wondering if an LLC formation service will cut down on processing times. Unfortunately, the answer is no, not really. That’s not why you should use an LLC formation service. If you choose to use one, it WILL make the formation process easier because they’ll file all the paperwork for you and keep your personal information off the public record.

 Average Time To Form An LLC

Let’s say you just want a ballpark figure on how long it takes on average to form an LLC. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there, too!

What Are The General Time Frames ?

In general, with no other factors taken into account, LLC formation takes somewhere between 7-10 days on average. This average comes because some states can process and approve your paperwork in one day if you file online, while others can take 4-6 weeks because their filings are so backed up.

Fast-Track Options For Urgent LLC Formation

Some states offer “expedited filing”. This option is often more expensive, but can fast-track your LLC formation and cut it down to as little as 1-3 days.

State-By-State Analysis Of LLC Formation Times

If you want to know how long it takes to get an LLC in your state, then check out the links to your specific state here: 

How Long Doest it Take to Get an LLC by State

How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Alabama
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Alaska
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Arizona
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Arkansas
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in California
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Colorado
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Connecticut
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Delaware
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Florida
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Georgia

How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Hawaii
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Idaho
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Illinois
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Indiana
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Iowa
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Kansas
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Kentucky
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Louisiana
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Maine
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Maryland

How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Massachusetts
How Long Doest it Take to Get an LLC in Michigan
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Minnesota
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Mississippi
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Missouri
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Montana
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Nebraska
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Nevada
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in New Hampshire
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in New Jersey

How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in New Mexico
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in New York
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in North Carolina
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in North Dakota
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Ohio
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Oklahoma
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Oregon
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Pennsylvania
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Rhode Island
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in South Carolina

How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in South Dakota
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Tennessee
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Texas
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Utah
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Vermont
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Virginia
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Washington
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in West Virginia
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Wisconsin
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC in Wyoming

Comparing The Fastest States For LLC Formation

Here are the fastest states to form an LLC in: 

Expedited Filings:

StateDuration
California4 hours
Delaware1 hour
Michigan1 hour
Louisiana2-4 hours
Montana1 hour
Nevada1 hour
New York2 hours
West Virginia1 hour

It’s worth noting that these speedy expedited filings cost an arm and a leg, but they’re worth it if you need rush processing!

Online Filings: 

StateDuration
AlabamaImmediately
AlaskaImmediately
ColoradoImmediately
KansasImmediately
KentuckyImmediately
MinnesotaImmediately
MissouriImmediately
New YorkImmediately
South DakotaImmediately
TennesseeImmediately
WisconsinImmediately
WyomingImmediately

Mail Filings:

StateDuration (Plus Mail Time)
Alabama1-2 Days
Kentucky1 Day
Massachusetts1-2 Days
Ohio1 Day
South Dakota1-2 Days

Comparing The Slowest States For LLC Formation

Here are some of the slowest states for LLC formation: 

Expedited: 

StateDuration (Business Days)
Maryland7 Days
Arizona5 Days

Of course, these are just the states that give an actual timeline in days for expedited processing times. Some states, like Illinois, simply state that expedited filings will be processed faster than regular filings. And in Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming, expedited filing isn’t an option.

Online: 

StateDuration (Business Days)
Arizona14-16 Days
Maryland2 Weeks
Texas13-15 Days
Washington12-14 Days

Mail:

StateDuration (Plus Mail Time)
D.C.2-4 Weeks
Maryland5-8 Weeks
Nevada3-4 Weeks
New York8 Months
Oregon4-6 Weeks
Pennsylvania6 Weeks
Texas4-8 Weeks
Washington 5-6 Weeks

Preparing For Your LLC Formation

One way to save yourself some time is to be properly prepared when you start the LLC formation process. Here are some things you can gather and prepare before forming your Limited Liability Company.

Necessary Documents For A Smooth Process

Some of the documents you’ll need to form an LLC are an EIN, name reservation form, Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement (although many states don’t require this, it’s still considered by most business professionals to be necessary), your initial report, and tax registration paperwork (many states require businesses to register with the Department of Revenue or other agency). So, make sure to gather all of your forms and paperwork so you can get through the process with ease.

Pre-Formation Considerations To Save Time

Some of the things you’ll need to consider before forming your LLC are your management structure (member managed vs manager-managed), who your LLC members are, their roles, ownership percentages, etc. You should also consider how you wish your LLC to be taxed. Some LLCs choose to be taxed as an S-Corporation or C-Corporation for tax reasons.

Starting an LLC is an exciting time full of lots of work, but sometimes waiting for approval and processing times is frustrating. Knowing how long your processing times are likely to take can cut back on that frustration a great deal. On average, LLC formation can take between 7-10 days. It can be faster, or slower, depending on which filing method you choose, and which state you file in. Make sure you check the list above and click the link for your state for more state-specific information about processing times in your state!

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