Follow These Three Easy Steps:
Get Help Filing Your Articles of Organization:
Filing the Articles of Organization 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.
Get Your Certificate of Formation
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.
Option 2: Access the Certificate of Formation PDF from the Alabama Secretary of State. This form will need to be mailed to the Judge of Probate's Office.
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
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Copy of the Name Reservation certificate from the Alabama Secretary of State
- 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.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
Copy of Name Reservation Certificate
Alabama requires you to reserve your name before registering it. You can do this online or by mail. Once reserved, request a copy of the certificate from the Alabama Secretary of State and send it with your Certificate of Formation.
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.
File the Alabama Certificate of Formation
Option 1: Create an account to file online as a subscriber OR continue as a non-subscriber.
Option 2: File by mail or in person with the Alabama Secretary of State's downloadable form.
State Filing Cost: $200 Online, $100 by Mail
Mail to: The Office of the Judge of Probate in your Registered Agent's county. Do NOT mail any documents or payments directly to the Secretary of State.
The following must be mailed in:
- One (1) signed original Certificate of Formation document
- Two (2) completed copies
- $100 check payable to the Secretary of State
- An additional check made payable to the Judge of Probate's Office in your Registered Agent's county. The exact fee varies by county. Contact your local Probate Office for more information.
Turnaround Time: 10 days online or by mail, but can be expedited for an additional $100 fee.
Steps After Your Alabama LLC Is Officially Formed
Once you’ve filed your Certificate of Formation, you should take the following steps:
Create an Operating Agreement
An LLC operating 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.
For more information, read our Alabama LLC Operating Agreement guide.
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 5 Best Business Bank Accounts for Entrepreneurs reviews on StartupSavant.com.
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.