Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!
Step 1: Get Your Articles of Organization Forms
You can download and mail in your Virginia Articles of Organization, or you can create an account and file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
Option 1: Create an account with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. From the user homepage, select “Get Started” under “New Business Formations.” Then, select “Form a Virginia Limited Liability Company” under “eFile Express.”
- OR -
Option 2: Download the Articles of Organization PDF from Virginia’s State Corporation Commission website. This form will need to be mailed to the State Corporation Commission OR submitted via online filing.
Step 2: Fill Out the Articles of Organization
In this step, we will help you complete the Virginia Articles of Organization form. There are four main “Articles.”
You will need to know the following information to complete each Article:
- Entity Name
- Registered Agent Name
- Registered Office Address
- Principal Office Address
Article 1: 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 Virginia naming guidelines.
- is not already in use by another business in Virginia.
Follow the Virginia Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of their abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.).
- Your name cannot contain any word, abbreviation, or combination of characters that states or implies the LLC is a corporation or a limited partnership.
- Your name cannot include the words “bank” or “trust” unless the LLC will be engaged in the banking or trust company business, or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not be engaged in such business.
- Your name cannot include the words “engineer,” “architecture,” or “land surveying,” or any variation of those words unless the LLC will be lawfully engaged in those services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not conduct such business.
- The words “United States,” “national,” “Federal,” and “reserve” may not be included in the name of a business entity that is engaged in the banking, loan, building and loan, brokerage, factorage, insurance, indemnity, savings, or trust business.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Virginia reserved names.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in Virginia? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Virginia State Corporation Commission website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Virginia 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.
Articles 2 and 3: Registered Agent and Registered Office
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. When you register your Virginia 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 Virginia. 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 Virginia registered agent, read our How to Choose a Virginia 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.
Article 4: Principal Office Address
The principal office is the location of the company’s principal executive offices. A P.O. Box is not allowed.
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission.
There are two ways to file your Articles of Organization:
- Complete the form online or upload a filled-out PDF.
- Submit a hard copy by mail or in-person.
Option 1: Create or log into your account with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. From the user homepage, select “Get Started” under “New Business Formations.”
Then, select “Form a Virginia Limited Liability Company” under “eFile Express.” Fill out the required fields and submit.
Alternatively, you can complete a PDF version of the Articles of Organization and submit it online. Instead of selecting the “eFile Express” option, select “Submit a PDF” under “PDF Submission.”
- OR -
Option 2: Download and mail in the Articles of Organization to Virginia’s State Corporation Commission or submit it in-person
State Filing Cost: $100
State Corporation Commission
PO Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
State Corporation Commission
Clerk’s Office, First Floor
1300 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Turnaround Time: Online filings are processed immediately, while filings submitted by mail are typically processed between two and five business days.
Create an Operating Agreement
In Virginia, 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 Virginia's Business 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.