How to File a Delaware LLC Certificate of Formation

The Delaware Certificate of Formation is the LLC form you fill out and file with the state to form an LLC.

Follow the steps in our How to File the Delaware LLC Articles of Organization guide below to get started.

Or, use a professional service to form your LLC:

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Filing the Delaware Certificate of Formation is Easy!

We'll take you through three easy steps for filing the Delaware LLC Articles of Organization.

  1. Get Your Certificate of Formation
  2. Fill out the Certificate of Formation
  3. File the Certificate of Formation

diagram showing the steps for how to file the L L C Certificate of Formation

Step 1: Get Your Certificate of Formation

You can mail in your Delaware Certificate of Formation, OR you can file online. Regardless of your choice, you must download the Certificate of Formation PDF and complete the applicable sections.

File the Delaware Certificate of Formation

OPTION 1: Create a Delaware One Stop account. After signing in, select "Set Up Your Business's Legal Structure" under the top "Start" menu. Then, select "Set Up Your Legal Structure."

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: Download the Certificate of Formation PDF from the Delaware Department of State website.

Download PDF


Step 2: Fill Out the Certificate of Formation

In this step, we will help you complete the Delaware Certificate of Formation form.

You will need to know the following information to complete each Article:

  1. Entity Name
  2. Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address

Entity Name

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 Delaware naming guidelines. 
  • Is not already in use by another business in Delaware


Follow the Delaware Naming Guidelines:

  • 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.).
  • Your name may contain the following words: Company, Association, Club, Foundation, Fund, Institute, Society, Union, Syndicate, Limited, Public Benefit, or Trust.
  • Your name cannot contain the word "bank" or any variation unless the company is authorized as a bank by the state. However, the word "bank," or any variation, can be used if the context clearly doesn’t refer to a banking business or mislead the public about the nature of the business. An example of acceptable use would be Bank Shot Basketball LLC.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state.


Check Name Availability:

Is your name available in Delaware? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Delaware Division of Corporations website.

To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Delaware 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.

Find a Domain Now

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Registered Agent and Registered Office

A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC's behalf. When you register your Delaware 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 Delaware. 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 a Delaware registered agent, read our How to Choose a Delaware 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.

Step 3: File the Certificate of Formation

To register your 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:

  • Upload a PDF copy online.
  • Submit a hard copy by mail or in-person.
File the Delaware Certificate of Formation

OPTION 1: File online with Delaware One Stop. After signing in, select "Set Up Your Business's Legal Structure" under the top "Start" menu. Then, select "Set Up Your Legal Structure." Fill out the required prompts, sign the resulting document, and upload a PDF copy.

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File by mail with the Delaware Department of State's downloadable form.

Download PDF


State Filing Cost: $90

Mailing Address:
Delaware Division of Corporations
401 Federal St.
Suite 4
Dover, DE 19901

Turnaround Time: Typical processing time is 10 to 15 business days, but you can expedite the processing for an additional fee.

Steps After Your Delaware LLC Is Officially Formed

Once you’ve filed your Certificate of Formation, you should take the following steps:

Create an Operating Agreement

A Delaware LLC Operating Agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.

In Delaware, 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 in order to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses and/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 Delaware's One Stop website.
  • 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.

Delaware Business Resources