Every limited liability company operating in the United States needs to designate a registered agent. Even after you identify your initial registered agent in your formation paperwork, there are several reasons for why you may need to change the registered agent for your LLC in California.
Your registered agent could be moving out of state, or they could be a former co-owner or employee who no longer works for your organization. Maybe you want to switch from an individual registered agent to a professional service that operates in all 50 states, or perhaps you’re simply unsatisfied with your current registered agent’s service.
Whatever the reason may be, each state allows you to change your registered agent at any time, and in most states the process is both simple and inexpensive. Let’s dive into the specifics of how to change your LLC’s registered agent in California.
NOTE: If you need help changing registered agents, the same services that are known for offering top rated LLC services — like LegalZoom and Zen Business — can also take over registered agent duties and file the needed paperwork.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent in California?
A California registered agent is a person or business entity that has a physical address in the state. You or one of your co-owners can serve as your own registered agent, you can designate a friend or family member for this role, you can hire a lawyer or accountant as your agent, or you can hire an online business services company to provide registered agent service.
No matter who you choose to be your registered agent, they need to be physically present at the address provided to the state during all standard business hours. This person or entity does not need to have any prior experience being a registered agent, but it’s wise to choose a registered agent who is familiar with the serious responsibilities that come with this role.
There is no minimum age requirement on who can be a registered agent in the state of California. The California Secretary of State FAQ section regarding business entities outlines the specifics of who can be a registered agent in California. It states that:
- “An agent for service of process is an individual who resides in California, or a corporation, designated to accept service of process (court papers) if the business entity is sued. If a corporation is designated as agent for service of process, that corporation must have previously filed a certificate pursuant to California Corporations Code section 1505.
- A business entity cannot act as its own agent for service of process and no corporation may file a certificate pursuant to California Corporations Code section 1505 unless the corporation is currently authorized to engage in business in California and is in good standing on the records of the Secretary of State.”
For more general information regarding the role of a registered agent with a California LLC, we encourage you to check out our full guide on the topic.
What Is the Procedure for Changing Your LLC Registered Agent in California?
While the role of the registered agent is vitally important for any American business entity, this role can always be changed, and there are different rules for how to change your agent depending on which state your business operates in.
In the state of California, you can change your LLC’s registered agent at any time by filing a Statement of Information form. This is the same form used to file biennial reports, and the change can either be made as part of that periodic filing, or as a separate filing.
Option 1) Filing a Statement of Information Form
To change your registered agent in California, you’ll need to file a Statement of Information form. The form is the same for domestic and foreign LLCs, and there is no fee for this filing. The form can be filed online, via mail, or in person.
Option 2) Updating the Agent Information In Your Biennial Report
LLCs in California must file a Statement of Information every two years as a biennial report, which is due by the end of the month in which you originally registered your California business. You can change your registered agent information in this report, which has a $20 fee.
The standard processing time for this form is approximately four business days. There are three options for expedited service in California: 24-hour ($350), 4-hour ($500), and same-day ($750). Expediting requests must be submitted in person, and can only be submitted at the Sacramento office.
Prefer to Have a Registered Agent Service Handle Your Requirements?
A registered agent service is a company that specializes in being a registered agent for a wide variety of businesses across the country, bringing tons of expertise and a healthy dose of reliability to the role.
Most professional registered agent services operate on a national basis, meaning there’s no restrictions on which states you can operate your business in. They also tend to charge affordable rates, as you can find several registered agent services that charge around $10/month or even less for this service. In addition, most of these companies will also offer to handle the process of changing a registered agent for you.
If you’re interested in this option, we highly recommend Northwest Registered Agent.
The Law for Changing Your LLC Registered Agent in California
It’s always important to be well-informed regarding the specific laws for changing your registered agent. The laws in the state of California do not distinguish between entity types or classifications for changing a registered agent, and therefore the same law applies to all business entities.
Title 2.6, Article 2 of the California Codes says: “When changing its agent for service of process or when the address of the agent changes, the limited liability company or foreign limited liability company shall file a current statement containing all the information required by subdivision (a). Whenever any statement is filed pursuant to this section, that statement supersedes any previously filed statement pursuant to this section, the statement in the original articles of organization, and the statement in any previously filed amended or restated articles of organization that have been filed, or in the case of a foreign limited liability company, in the application for registration.”
If you operate a limited liability company in the state of California, you need to designate a registered agent to receive important government document deliveries on your behalf. If you decide at any time that you would rather change your registered agent to a different individual or business entity, it’s important to know what that process looks like.
In California, the only way to change an LLC’s registered agent is to file a Statement of Information form, either as a biennial report or as a standalone filing. It’s a simple document with a reasonable filing fee, but if you’d rather have a registered agent service handle this task for you, you certainly have that option.
We hope this article helped you improve your understanding of changing a registered agent in California, and as always we thank you for choosing Registered Agent Ready!