Can My Registered Agent Be in Another State?


A registered agent is a person or business entity whose job is to accept service of process, important documents, and mail for your company at your registered office address during regular business hours. 

Whether you’re a new business owner or your business is expanding, you’ve likely learned that most states (all except West Virginia, in fact) require you to designate a registered agent for your business entity. 

Luckily, registered agent services are quite handy to have around. But sometimes you may need a registered agent in another state. I’ll explain everything you need to know about having a registered agent in another state. 

*Sometimes a registered agent is called a statutory agent or resident agent. But all three of these terms are used to describe the same business service.* 

Is Your Registered Agent Required to Be in the Same State as Your Business?

Yes. If you conduct business in multiple states, you’ll need a registered agent in each of those states. This can be accomplished by appointing multiple registered agents, or by hiring a national registered agent service that works as a one-stop-shop to meet all your registered agent needs. 

What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent?

Your registered agent is required to be physically present at your business address, which must be a physical location, and available during normal business hours to receive service of process and other important documents and mail on behalf of your company. 

This means that PO boxes aren’t allowed. Many states also don’t allow virtual addresses. However, there are a lot of things your registered agent can do for you beyond supplying a physical address!


A company that conducts business in multiple states means keeping track of multiple deadlines and complicated procedures. Luckily, your registered agent is in charge of keeping track of these compliance filing dates. 

Your registered agent functions as an intermediary between your business and government agencies, law firms, and other business entities, and, as such, its job is to let you know about filing deadlines (for things like your annual report) so that you don’t encounter trouble with the Secretary of State. 

The best registered agent services even issue compliance alerts so that the process is more automated and stress-free.

Management of Important Documents

In a further effort to make sure that you receive your service of process and important documents, many of the top registered agent services have started supplying online document-management systems. You’re able to access service of process notices, mail, and legal documents the day they receive them. 

It sure beats mail forwarding and the painfully slow postal system! Plus, you’re able to store your mail and documents online, which means you don’t have to find ways to store physical copies of documents. They’ll even sort your junk mail!

These systems can be particularly useful if you’re in a different state because you can view your mail more quickly than the postal system will allow, and you can store it online, which means you won’t have to deal with physically filing documents for businesses in several different states. 

Service of Process

The way service of process is touted as the main function of a designated registered agent, you’d think it’s an everyday occurrence. 

A service of process is often a legal notification that tells you that your company is being sued, or required in court for some reason, so let’s hope that isn’t common for your business! But in the event that your company is sued, your registered agent will receive the service of process on your behalf. 

This is quite handy if you’re out of state because it means someone will be there to intercept it in your stead. 

Registered Agent Requirements

When choosing a registered agent, it’s important to make sure that they meet the requirements in your state. Here are some of the requirements your registered agent will have to fulfill.

  • State law. Some states have specific regulations set up for registered agents, so to make sure that your registered agent is legally qualified, you’ll need to check state laws.
  • 18+. Your registered agent must be at least 18 years old. 
  • Physical address. Your registered agent must have a physical address in the state, even if you choose a registered agent with a headquarters in another state. This means that registered agents can’t use PO boxes or virtual addresses. 
  • Who you can designate. If they meet your state’s requirements, you’re free to designate a registered agent of your choosing. This allows you to designate a national registered agent service, a friend, family member, employee, or lawyer.

Read my article What Is a Registered Agent? for more information about registered agents.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? 

Legally, there’s nothing holding you back from being your own registered agent. But before you jump the gun, you should learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of being your own agent and how it compares to hiring a professional registered agent service provider. 

Cons of being your own registered agent:

  • Liability: Missing a service of process or compliance deadline could cause a lot of legal and financial problems for your company.
  • Time: Conducting the duties of a registered agent may take time away from running your own business.
  • Privacy concerns: Your personal information will be listed on the public record.

Pros of being your own registered agent:

  • Money: You’ll save money by not paying registered agent fees to a professional registered agent service. 

When business owners consider the risks of acting as their own registered agent or appointing an individual as their registered agent, they often decide it’s better in the long run to pay for a registered agent service. 

Also, most registered agents cost less than you might think. For more information, read my article all about being your own registered agent.

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

The best registered agent service depends on your needs. And to be honest, the quality runs the gamut. You’ll have to do some digging to find a reliable registered agent service. I’ve found that Northwest Registered Agent is the most trustworthy there is, but here are some things to consider while deciding on a registered agent for your business: 

What to Look for in a Registered Agent:

  • Compliance alerts
  • Document-management systems 
  • Fair prices 
  • Simple and quick sign-up process
  • Simple user interface
  • Outstanding customer service

I used these factors, along with my four-stage investigative process, to determine that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent company. If you’d like more information on how to appoint a registered agent or how to choose the best one for your business, read my guide to the Best Registered Agent Services


Your registered agent needs to be in the same state as your business. Even if you choose a national registered agent service with locations all over the country and a headquarters far away from you, your actual registered agent’s address has to be one in the same state, and your registered agent must be present at your registered office address. 

By law your company needs a registered agent in each state in which it operates. If you don’t want to designate a different registered agent in every state, you can choose a national registered agent. Just check that your registered agent has a physical office address in your state and has legal permission to do business there. 

If you haven’t formed your business yet and would like to learn more about the LLC and business formation process, read How to Start an LLC. If you’d like expert guidance throughout the formation process, read the Best LLC Formation Services

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