How to find a registered agent in Virginia

Virginia registered agent requirements

All registered agents in Virginia have certain requirements that they must fulfill. As stated above, a registered agent can be an individual, or it can be a commercial company. Below, we have outlined the requirements for both individual registered agents in Virginia and commercial company registered agents in Virginia.

Being your own registered agent

If you plan to be your own registered agent (also known as resident agent), you must meet the following requirements. You must:

  • Accept the appointment of being your business’s registered agent
  • Be a legal resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Be 18 or older
  • Have a physical Virginia address (no P.O. box addresses)
  • Be located at this physical Virginia address during normal business hours throughout the week: 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday

Hiring a Virginia registered agent service

If you plan to hire a commercial registered agent company, the company you hire must meet the following requirements. They must:

  • Accept the appointment of being your business’s registered agent
  • Be legally registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Have a physical Virginia address (no P.O. box addresses)
  • Be located at this physical Virginia address during normal business hours throughout the week: 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

Every corporation and LLC (limited liability company) in the Commonwealth of Virginia needs to have a registered agent according to state law. A registered agent can be a business entity or an individual.

A registered agent is tasked with the acceptance of legal paperwork, tax documents, and other important correspondence for your business. Some registered agent companies offer other services as well. Essentially, they will be your business’s point of contact for legal matters.

For example, they may help you stay in good standing with the state. They can also help you incorporate your business in other states. This is called foreign qualification.

When you need a registered agent

You will need to list who you have appointed as your registered agent on your formation documents when you incorporate your business in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Formation documents are an essential part of the incorporation process. You may see these called your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation.

In addition to filling out your Articles of Organization with your registered agent’s name, phone number, and address, you will also need to add what your new business’s name will be, who your Board of Directors will be, what your corporate bylaws will be, and more.

When choosing your new business name, be sure to follow the guidelines on the website for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Conducting a name search for your chosen names is the first step.

Finally, before you can fully incorporate your Virginia LLC or corporation, you will need to hold your first board meeting and obtain an employer identification number (also known as an EIN).

Why use a registered agent service

Here are the benefits of using a registered agent service over acting as the registered agent for your own business.

You don’t need to maintain normal business hours.

If you are a business owner who decides to act as your own registered agent, keep in mind that you will need to maintain normal business hours at your registered office address.

This means you’ll need to be in one spot basically all the time, from 8am through 5pm, Monday to Friday. On the other hand, a registered agent service can do this for you so that you are free to take meetings, have business lunches, and travel as you need to.

You’ll be sure to get private receipt of legal documents.

If you receive any legal documents such as service of process paperwork because your Virginia business is being sued, this will be directed to a registered agent address and won’t have to be delivered to your home if you are acting as your own registered agent or to your actual place of business (brick-and-mortar building or storefront).

You can keep your P.O. box address.

Many businesses like to run their operation out of their home and simply use a P.O. box address as their business address. You can continue to do this if you hire a registered agent service.

On the other hand, if you want to be your own registered agent, you’ll need to have a physical street address as your registered agent address. A P.O. box address will not work in this regard.

Foreign qualification is far easier.

Foreign qualification is the act of incorporating your business in a state other than your home state. For example, if you would like to sell your products or services in Maryland in addition to selling them in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you will need to foreign qualify in Maryland. Most registered agent companies can help you do this with ease.

You’ll be sure to remain compliant with the state.

Staying compliant with the state is essential as an LLC or corporation. However, it can be difficult to keep up with deadlines, due dates, and more in regards to compliance.

Your commercial registered agent company can help you keep track of all of these deadlines and the associated paperwork so that you always stay compliant with the state.

Virginia registered agent costs

Not sure how much a registered agent is going to cost? Here’s the breakdown.

First, if you appoint yourself as your business’s own registered agent, you shouldn’t have to pay anything. There are no state fees for this position, and you won’t have to pay yourself (unless you want to) either.

Hiring a registered agent company does come with some costs, however. Namely, you will need to pay an annual fee of between $50 and $300. How much you pay will depend on several factors.

For example, if you are a larger business that requires more mail forwarding and organization services, you will naturally have to pay more every year. If you need foreign qualification services, this will cost more too.

If, however, you are just starting out on your business journey, you can usually find a registered agent service that will offer a basic plan for a small annual some. Another way to save money on registered agent costs is to go with a registered agent company that offers free services for the first year if you incorporate your business with them.

How to change your Virginia registered agent

You will need to go to the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Secretary of State) of Virginia in order to change your registered agent. A specific form is required that must be completed with your new registered agent’s contact information. If you would like to have this business filing performed on your behalf, choose a registered agent company to be your new registered agent, and they will generally do the filing for you.

On the other hand, some business owners may be selecting an individual to be their new registered agent, and thus, they may need to perform the change of agent filing on their own. If this is the case, follow these steps to change your registered agent in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

  • Obtain a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form from the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth.

  • Complete the form in its entirety. Be sure to include the full name, phone number, and registered agent address of your new registered agent.

  • File this form with the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth. You can submit the form online or by mail.

    There is no filing fee in the Commonwealth of Virginia for changing your registered agent.

List of forms

We hope you find the following websites useful as you select your registered agent and incorporate your business in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

FAQs

What is a Virginia registered agent?

A Virginia registered agent is a business or individual that receives and organizes business documents on behalf of another company. These documents may include service of process and legal notices, tax notifications, and other official correspondence.

How do I appoint a registered agent in Virginia?

You will appoint your registered agent on your Articles of Organization (Articles of Incorporation). These formation documents are a critical part of the formation process in Virginia.

Can I be my own registered agent in Virginia?

Yes. If you own a business in Virginia, you may choose to be your own registered agent. Just keep in mind that this isn’t an easy job. You need to be a resident of Virginia, and you need to have a physical address in Virginia. Furthermore, you need to be there nearly all the time during regular business hours.

What is service of process?

Service of process is an action that involves notifying a business entity or individual that they are being sued or that another type of lawsuit is being filed against them. Your registered agent will receive service of process if it is directed to your business.

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