Filing the Certificate of Formation Is Simple!
Step 1: Get Your Certificate of Formation
You can download and mail in your Alabama Certificate of Formation, OR you can file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
Alabama has an extra step for mail-in filers. If you choose to mail in your Certificate of Formation, you'll need to mail in the Name Reservation Request for Domestic Entities form at least two weeks beforehand.
OPTION 1: Create an account to file online as a subscriber OR continue as a non-subscriber. Choose domestic filing to create a new LLC.
- OR -
OPTION 2: Access the Certificate of Formation PDF from the Alabama Secretary of State.
Mail-in Filers: Submit your Name Reservation Request for Domestic Entities form at least two weeks beforehand.
Step 2: Fill Out the Certificate of Formation
In this step, we will help you complete the Alabama Certificate of Formation.
You will need to know the following information to complete each section:
- Entity Name
- Copy of the Name Reservation certificate from the Alabama Secretary of State (If filing by mail)
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Type of LLC being formed (conditional)
- Effective Date
Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.
When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:
- Meets Alabama naming guidelines.
- Is not already in use by another business in Alabama
Follow the Alabama Naming Guidelines:
- You must reserve your LLC's name online or by mail before registering it.
- Your name must include the phrase "limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Any banking-related name needs a letter from the Alabama Banking Commissioner's Office, and any insurance-related name needs a letter from the Alabama Insurance Commissioner's Office.
- Any name using a professional designation in the name (i.e., engineering, attorney) requires a copy of the license of one officer/member or a letter from the governing agency allowing the use of the name without licensing.
- Your name cannot include any words that indicate or imply that the LLC is engaged in a business that is not authorized by law to pursue.
- Your name must be different from any name on the record with the Secretary of State (words or abbreviations indicating the type of company such as LLC, Inc., etc. are not taken into account when determining distinguishability).
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in Alabama? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Alabama Secretary of State website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Alabama guide.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator.
Register Your Domain Name:
We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Copy of Name Reservation Certificate
Alabama requires you to reserve your name before registering your LLC if you're filing by mail.
Registered Agent and Registered Office
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC's behalf. When you register your Alabama LLC, you are required to list your registered agent and your registered office.
Your registered agent can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in Alabama. Your registered agent must always be available at the registered office during regular business hours. Your registered office address cannot be a P.O. box.
To learn more about choosing an Alabama registered agent, read our How to Choose an Alabama Registered Agent guide.
To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
This article is only relevant if you are forming a Series LLC, a Professional LLC, or a Nonprofit LLC, in which case you would select your type.
Series LLCs consist of a master LLC and individual series LLCs that branch off from it.
Professional LLCs are for doctors, lawyers, accountants, or other licensed professionals.
Nonprofit LLCs are owned by a single nonprofit association and must meet strict IRS requirements.
Step 3: File the Certificate of Formation
To register your Alabama LLC, you will need to file the Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State.
There are two ways to file your Certificate of Formation:
- Complete the forms online.
- Submit a hard copy by mail.
OPTION 1: Create an account to file online as a subscriber OR continue as a non-subscriber.
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by mail or in person with the Alabama Secretary of State's downloadable form.
You must submit your name reservation request form at least two weeks prior.
State Filing Cost: $200
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103-5616
Note: You must attach your Name Reservation Certificate if mailing in your Certificate of Formation.
Create an Operating Agreement
An Alabama LLC operating agreement, also known in the state as a limited liability company agreement, is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.
In Alabama, you aren't required to have an operating agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Certificate of Formation.
Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC's private business records; you do not file it with the state.
Use our free operating agreement tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.
Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.
You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.
Open a Business Bank Account
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued.
For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our Best Banks for Small Business review.
Get Licenses and Permits
When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses or permits.
Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with The State of Alabama Department of Revenue.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
Brand Your Business
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool can help you design your own unique logo for your new business idea.