Do You Need a Registered Agent in Hawaii?


It’s smart for most business owners to designate a Hawaii registered agent, but it’s also a legal requirement of any registered business entity, including your Hawaii LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship. 

They’re so important to business formation that it’s pretty much impossible to get through the formation process without a registered agent. Registered agents also ensure that you won’t miss filing deadlines—for things like Hawaii annual reports—with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division. (That name might seem overly long, but keep in mind that Hawaii also has a fish called humuhumunukunukuapuaa.)

At this point you’re probably wondering precisely what a registered agent is, how you choose one, and if your Hawaii business actually needs one. 

What Is a Registered Agent in Hawaii?

A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for being present at a registered office address to accept service of process, legal documents, and mail during normal business hours on behalf of your Hawaii LLC or business. 

Understandably, it probably sounds weird to have your business’s mail sent to another location to be received by someone else. But the second half of Hawaii registered agent services involves delivering the mail to you through mail forwarding or online document management systems so that you receive all your important correspondence when you’re supposed to. Really good registered agents also send notifications of important filing requirements so you are able to meet important compliance deadlines with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division.

As long as your business is a registered business entity (Hawaii corporation, limited liability company, or sole proprietorship), Hawaii and every other US state require that you have a registered agent. And if your company does business in more than one state, it’s required to have a registered agent in each state as well. You’ll have to either designate someone who’s already at those locations as your registered agent or hire a registered agent service to meet that legal requirement.

Sometimes a registered agent in Hawaii is referred to as a statutory agent or resident agent, so if you see these terms on your formation documents or in your online research, just know that they’re different names for the same business service.

What Is the Purpose of a Registered Agent in Hawaii?

Given the definition of a registered agent in Hawaii, you’re probably concocting plans of establishing a PO box as your business address and checking it regularly for service of process or other official mail. But this won’t work, and here’s why:

A Hawaii registered agent is required to have a physical street address, which means you aren’t allowed to list a PO box. Besides that, a Hawaii registered agent service does a lot more than just accept legal documents and provide your company with an address to use on formation documents. 


It can be a real pain to remember all the filing deadlines you have to meet for business compliance, but luckily that’s one of the primary responsibilities of a Hawaii registered agent service. They send out compliance notifications to remind you about important filings, like your annual report.

You can consider your registered agent in Hawaii as a sort of go-between between your business and government agencies like the Hawaii Secretary of State and the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division. As such, its primary duty is to keep on top of compliance notifications so that your company doesn’t miss important filing deadlines and lose its good-standing status. By designating a Hawaii registered agent, you guarantee that you won’t miss important correspondence that could have drastic repercussions for your business. 

Management of Important Documents

For businesses without a physical address, or with only a PO box, the stipulation of a physical location can be a real pain. But without a Hawaii registered agent, they’ll be required to list a home address on public record instead of a registered agent’s name and information. For obvious reasons, that isn’t the best option. 

It’s important to note that your business address is important for more than just privacy concerns. It’s also where the mail for your business will be sent. You need to keep these important documents safe and well organized. Most registered agent services (the good ones, anyway) provide online document management systems that allow clients to access their documents with an online account. This means you can use the system to conveniently store and view your documents anytime.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Hawaii?

Here are some of the nationwide requisites that your Hawaii registered agent or registered agent service is required to meet: 

  • Physical address. Your registered agent’s address must be a physical street address in the state, with your Hawaii registered agent present and available during regular business hours. You can’t use a PO box as your Hawaii registered agent address. 
  • State laws. Some states have laws specifically for registered agents. You should brush up on laws regarding Hawaii registered agents to make sure you’re complying with them. 
  • 18+ years old. Your registered agent in Hawaii must be at least 18 years of age. 
  • Who you can designate. If they meet the other requirements, you can designate anyone as your resident agent or registered agent in Hawaii. It can be a trusted employee, friend, family member, lawyer, etc. But be forewarned: they need to be responsible and reliable.. 

What Happens If My Business Operates Without a Registered Agent?

If no one is present at your registered agent’s address during normal business hours to receive service of process when a process server attempts to deliver it, then the server may attempt to deliver the service of process to the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division instead. 

If this happens, then the Hawaii Business Registration Division has your important documents, and you do not. The result is a lawsuit moving forward without your knowledge or ability to defend your company in court.

And that’s not all. If you don’t maintain a registered agent in Hawaii or meet compliance filing deadlines, the Hawaii Secretary of State could revoke your company’s good-standing status. This can pose major legal and financial problems for your Hawaii business. It could be ineligible for business loans, prohibited from expanding to other states, and even completely banned from conducting business in Hawaii. 

If you’re an LLC owner, losing your good-standing status can be particularly devastating. It could result in your LLC being automatically dissolved. Once your LLC is dissolved, your Hawaii business no longer reserves the right to use its business name in the state. While you scramble to solve your company’s legal issues, other businesses can swoop in like vultures and snatch your business name for themselves. And even if you restore your company’s legal LLC status, you may never reclaim your business name. 

It’s a dangerous move to continue regular business operations after your LLC has been dissolved. In particular, owners of LLCs are especially vulnerable. Without limited liability protection, the personal and financial assets of the business owner are up for grabs if the company is sued.

Of course, these consequences aren’t exclusive to LLCs. Other business entities (corporations, sole proprietorships, etc.) face many of these same repercussions if they don’t designate a registered agent in Hawaii. 

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Hawaii? 

No state in the United States expressly forbids you from being your own registered agent, which means you’re perfectly allowed to be your own Hawaii registered agent. But before you become your own agent, you should know the pros and cons of being your own registered agent as opposed to hiring a Hawaii registered agent service. 

Cons of Being Your Own Registered Agent


There’s a catch to being your own registered agent, and it mostly involves the serious results of missing a service of process. The results of missing a service of process include a default judgment against your business without you even knowing that the legal proceedings are taking place. This could obviously spell disaster for your company.

Lack of Privacy

If you choose to be your own registered agent, then you’ll be required to list your personal information on the public record. Once it’s there, it’s accessible to everyone, including cybercriminals and hackers. This means that, besides the privacy issue and creep factor of everyone knowing your name and address, you’ll be more vulnerable to cybercrime and identity theft. 


One of the biggest inconveniences of being your own registered agent is the vast amount of time the job takes up. Being a Hawaii registered agent and being a business owner both require big time commitments. 

But the factor that many business owners often don’t account for is that a registered agent in Hawaii is required to be present at the company’s business address during regular business hours to accept service of process and mail on your company’s behalf. It’s likely that your business operates during the same hours, making it difficult to be your company’s registered agent and effectively run your business. 

Pros of Being Your Own Registered Agent

There’s really only one benefit of being your own registered agent: you won’t have to pay fees to a Hawaii registered agent service. 

Usually, once business owners learn about the perils of missing a service of process and just how time consuming registered agent duties are, they typically leave it to a registered agent service. 

Should I Use a Registered Agent Service?

There are boatloads of reasons that business owners choose to use Hawaii registered agent services: 

  • You’ll always be up to date on your annual report and other important compliance filing deadlines. 
  • It’s less likely that the Hawaii Business Registration Division will revoke your good-standing status or that you’ll miss a service of process and a court will proceed with legal actions against your business. 
  • You’ll be free to run your business without the stress of also performing the duties of a registered agent or statutory agent and being present to receive every legal document sent to your company.
  • Any company that conducts business in multiple states can conveniently meet its legal obligations by using a national registered agent service. 
  • Businesses that don’t operate inside normal business hours can benefit from a registered agent service because it means they won’t have to work round the clock to run their business and perform registered agent duties at the same time. 
  • A registered agent service removes hurdles that business owners face when they don’t have a physical address because you’ll be able to list your registered agent’s name and address on public record. 
  • Businesses are sent an irritating amount of junk mail every day. If you don’t use a registered agent service, it will all be sent to your home address. By listing your registered agent information instead, you avoid this hassle. 
  • Some registered agent service providers offer premium services, which include things like identity theft protection and payment of state fees. 
  • Some Hawaii registered agents also provide business formation services. So if you’ve yet to establish your business, you can take advantage of bundle packages, like a year of registered agent service free when you also sign up for formation service. 

At the end of the day, you’re the only person that can decide whether a professional registered agent service is right for your business. But I will say that I always recommend that new businesses use registered agent services. 

What Is the Best Registered Agent Service?

Many factors are involved in choosing the best registered agent service. Here are some of the criteria you should look for to choose the best resident agent or registered agent for your business: 

Service Features

There is absolutely no excuse I can think of for hiring a registered agent service that doesn’t deliver the services your company needs. There are many registered agents with full service catalogs these days. Don’t choose a lackluster agent. 


To determine a registered agent’s quality, combine the number of services it provides with the price it charges to determine its value. If it offers a wide array of services and a great price, then it’s a registered agent that provides a good value. 

In that sense, be sure to avoid “budget agents.” These agents use low start-up prices ($39–$59) to attract new customers and then rack up the bill with additional charges for essential services like compliance notifications or document management systems. You should avoid these agents no matter what. 

Easy Sign-Up 

Nobody is happy about a business wasting their time. Some registered agent services take weeks (sometimes months) and require loads of paperwork to complete the sign-up process. You should choose a registered agent with a simple and quick sign-up process. 

User-Friendly Interface 

You’re going to use your registered agent’s system a LOT, so it’s important that it be easy to navigate. Some registered agent providers have antiquated systems with complicated navigation and technical issues randomly scattered throughout it like the most dissatisfying sprinkles ever. You should seek out a registered agent with a simple, easy-to-use interface. 

Customer Service 

No matter how user-friendly its interface is, how many services and features it has, or how low its price is, technical issues are inevitable. It’s quite probable that you’ll eventually have a question about your services. And because your registered agent is the difference between good standing with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs or your business closing forever, good customer service is a MUST. 

I combined these factors with my four-stage investigative process to determine that Northwest Registered Agent is the best registered agent for most companies. If you’d like more information about registered agent services or how to choose the best agent for your company, read my article about the best registered agent services


The number of things a new business owner is expected to learn is insane! New business management techniques, how to use new software or equipment, laws and regulations, and a mind-boggling amount of business and legal terminology. On top of all of that, they have to remember filing deadlines for annual reports and other such bureaucratic rigmarole. Registered agent services exist to relieve business owners of some of this workload. 

If you’ve yet to choose a business structure and want to learn more about LLC formation, read my guide on how to start an LLC. If you’d like a bit of support during the formation process, read my guide on the best LLC formation services.

Hawaii Registered Agent FAQs

What’s the Difference Between a Commercial and a Noncommercial Registered Agent?

The difference between a commercial registered agent and a noncommercial registered agent was established in the Model Registered Agents Act, which the American Bar Association created as a set of standardized laws for registered agents nationwide. A commercial registered agent service is one that has registered with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as a commercial agent. In some states, all professional registered agent services are required to register as commercial registered agents. 

A noncommercial registered agent is any civilian or service (in states where registered agent services aren’t required to register as commercial agents) that hasn’t registered with state agencies as a commercial registered agent. If you’ve designated a family member as your registered agent, that person is a noncommercial registered agent. 

How Do I Change the Registered Agent for My LLC?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to change your current registered agent, the good news is that it’s relatively easy. All you have to do is file a Change of Registered Agent by Entity form (yes, it’s another lengthy name, but I swear I didn’t make it up). You’ll need to add the new registered agent information to this Change of Registered Agent form and pay a $25 filing fee. 

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost? 

Depending on which provider and services you choose, a registered agent can cost between $39–$299 (plus state fees) per state, per year. If you’d like to learn more about registered agent pricing, check out my guide on the best registered agent services

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