Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!
Step 1: Get Your Articles of Organization Forms
You can download and mail in your Rhode Island Articles of Organization, OR you can file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
Option 1: Select the “Access Online” button below. Select “File a New Business Entity” on the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website. Scroll down to “Domestic Limited Liability Company” and select “Articles of Organization.”
- OR -
Option 2: Download the Articles of Organization PDF from the Rhode Island Department of State’s website. This form will need to be mailed to the Department of State.
Step 2: Fill Out the Articles of Organization
In this step, we will help you complete the Rhode Island Articles of Organization form.
You will need to know the following information to complete the form:
- Entity Name and Type
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Governing Authority Type
- Business Purpose and Duration (optional)
- Effective Date
Entity Name and Type
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 Rhode Island naming guidelines.
- is not already in use by another business in Rhode Island.
Follow the Rhode Island Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must end in either the words "limited liability company" or the upper or lower case letters "l.l.c.," with or without punctuation.
- If your company is organized as a low-profit, limited liability company, its name must end with either the words "low-profit, limited liability company" or the abbreviation "L3C" or "13c."
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- In some states, certain restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual to be part of your LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Rhode Island reserved names.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in Rhode Island? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 to prevent others from acquiring it.
Registered Agent and Registered Office
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. When you register your Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island. 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 Rhode Island registered agent, read our How to Choose a Rhode Island 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.
You will need to decide if your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Read our Management by Members or Managers article to determine the best structure for your LLC.
Purpose and Duration (optional)
You can list additional provisions if you like. These could include your LLC’s business purpose and any planned limits on its duration.
Keep in mind that a business purpose that involves licensing, tax-exemption, or tax-deductible status requires special language from the IRS or a professional license.
State whether you would like the Articles of Organization to be effective upon filing or if you have a later effective date.
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
There are two ways to file your Articles of Organization:
- Complete the form online.
- Submit a hard copy by mail.
Option 1: Select “File a New Business Entity” on the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website. Scroll down to “Domestic Limited Liability Company” and select “Articles of Organization.” Then, fill out the required fields and submit.
- OR -
Option 2: Download and mail in the Articles of Organization to the Rhode Island Department of State.
State Filing Cost: $150
Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904
Create an Operating Agreement
A Rhode Island LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.
In Rhode Island, 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 Articles of Organization.
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 Rhode Island's Department of Business Regulation.
- 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.