How to Find a Registered Agent in New York (Step-by-Step Guide)

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by Team
Last updated: June 13th, 2024
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New York registered agent requirements

Professional registered agent companies must follow certain requirements if they are to act as legal registered agents for their clients in New York. Likewise, if you choose to be your own registered agent, you also need to follow certain requirements. These are outlined below.

Being your own registered agent

New Yorkers who want to act as their own registered agents must:

  • Be at least 18
  • Have a local street address that is in-state (this cannot be a P.O. box address)
  • Be available to accept and sign for important delivered correspondence at this address
  • Have their contact information listed on their business’s formation documents

Hiring a New York registered agent service

Your registered agent service must have an in-state physical address (no P.O. box addresses).

They must be available on normal business days and during normal business hours. Finally, they must be ready and able to accept service of process documents and other government paperwork and legal notifications on behalf of your New York LLC.

In addition, the best registered agent services will create an online account for you and forward your mail to you quickly and efficiently.

Why use a registered agent service

While it’s certainly an option to choose yourself or an employee as your designated registered agent, the following is a list of the most compelling reasons to opt for a commercial registered agent service provider instead:

  • It will keep your personal address separate from your business address.

There is a publication requirement for being your own registered agent. That is, you must publicly list your registered agent office address.

One of the biggest benefits of hiring a professional service to act as your registered agent is that it keeps your personal address from being on public record. Instead, the office of your resident agent is the one publicly listed.

  • You won’t have restrictions on when you can travel and for how long.

One of the main requirements when acting as your own registered agent is being present at your listed address during “normal business hours.” These vary, but generally speaking, normal business hours around 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

These hours must be maintained year-round, which means you’ll have a hard time traveling. Especially when travel is an essential part of your job, this can make acting as your own registered agent untenable.

  • It will allow you to prioritize the grown of your business.

You’ll save time and energy when you choose a professional agency to act as your registered agent. They’ll take care of most of your business filings and incorporations in other states.

A professional service can even alert you when you need to file an annual report, help organize your legal notices, and much more. All of this frees you to put your energy toward the more important aspects of growing your business.

  • You’ll stay more organized and maintain compliance.

Business filings, document organization, and the overall accumulation of paperwork make running a business even more of a challenge. But hiring a registered agent service to be your business’s registered agent can ease this burden.

First, professional registered agent service companies specialize in acting as registered agents for sometimes hundreds of companies nationwide. This means they are experts in compliance, and they will make sure that your company is always in good standing with state and federal regulations and deadlines.

Many business owners who decide to take on the role of registered agent themselves have trouble remaining in good standing. They may end up with penalties and state fees every year for accidental noncompliance.

Furthermore, registered agent companies help you keep all of your documents in one place. Many will provide you with an online account where all of your service of process mail and other important notifications will be sent.

In many cases, you’ll even get same-day access to service of process documents. These documents are always time sensitive, so having access to them right away is of the upmost importance.

  • You’ll be able to incorporate your business entity in other states with more ease.

If you plan on doing business with your company in states other than New York, you’ll need a registered agent in each of these states. Ensuring this is a process known as foreign qualification, and it requires time, energy, patience, and an intricate knowledge of the incorporation requirements in other states.

Most business owners don’t have time to carry out foreign qualification on their own. Fortunately, the registration service you hire will be able to carry out these processes for you, saving you stress.

New York registered agent costs

If you want to avoid the hassle of being your own registered agent, you might consider having a company take on this burden for you. In this case, you would need to pay an annual fee.

Typically, you can expect to pay $100 or $200 for a hired registered service agent in New York. Commercial registered agent services in New York usually charge their fees annually. When you go with a professional service from the beginning, many companies will include their LLC formation service with your first year’s fee.

Want to act as your own registered agent? There are no filing fees associated with being your own registered agent or having an employee carry out this role.

How to change a registered agent in New York

  • Your New York limited liability company (LLC) can change the registered agent it has listed with the New York Department of State at any time. This process requires that you fill out a Certificate of Change of Address of Registered Agent form (change form) and submit it along with the appropriate additional fees.
  • If you are a nonprofit, you will generally be charged a separate nonprofit fee.
  • Keep in mind that if you choose to name a commercial registered agent company as your new registered agent, they may carry out this process for you, including paying the fees.

Why you need a registered agent

Your registered agent acts on behalf of your LLC business to receive and handle your service of process mail. Their address acts as your business’s address, so whenever legal documents or other important mail is sent to your small business, it will be received by your registered agent.

No matter what industry you are in or how big your business is, if you incorporate your company in the state of New York, you need to have a registered agent.

The good news is that getting a registered agent isn’t hard. You can act as your own registered agent, enlist an employee to take on the role, or hire a professional service to be your registered agent. There are benefits to all of these options.

When you need a registered agent

Choosing a registered agent shouldn’t be your number one concern when incorporating your small business in New York. Rather, choosing a business name is your first priority. It is the first step in the formation of your business corporation.

Be sure to conduct a name search to be sure you have chosen a unique business name that no one else has. Once you’ve selected a unique name for your business, you can start filling out the paperwork necessary to become a New York corporation or LLC (limited liability company).

One important step is creating your Articles of Organization and submitting them to the Secretary of State. You will need to list your chosen registered agent as well as their contact information (business address) and their business hours.

Useful links

Take a look at the list of links and relevant forms found below. These will be helpful to you as you incorporate your New York business.


Do you have to have a registered agent for your LLC in New York?

Yes, all business entities in the state of New York are required by law to have a listed registered agent. Depending on the size of your company, your typical business days and hours, and whether or not you have a business office address, you might decide to hire a registered agent service or be your own registered agent.

What are the responsibilities of a New York registered agent?

The main responsibility of any registered agent is to ensure the associated company gets its legal and government-related mail quickly and in an organized manner. Forwarding of service of process mail needs to be done efficiently as this type of mail is of the utmost importance for business services.

Is a registered agent the same as a virtual address?

No. Virtual addresses are different from registered agent addresses. Your registered agent lists their address with the state in order for business documents and government-related documents to be sent there. Regular mail can be sent to a virtual address but not to your registered agent’s address.

Find the best registered agent in your state

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