What Is a Commercial Registered Agent?
A commercial registered agent is a person or entity that has filed a commercial registered agent listing statement with the Secretary of State (or equivalent state office) in accordance with applicable state laws.
In this article, we explain more about what a commercial registered agent is, the differences between a commercial and noncommercial registered agent, and related topics.
Recommended: Northwest offers reliable registered agent service and excellent customer support.
And, learn how to change your registered agent if you decide to switch.
Commercial vs. Noncommercial Registered Agent
Commercial registered agent means a person or entity that has registered with the state by filing a commercial listing statement with the Secretary of State in accordance with the Model Registered Agent Act (MoRAA) or similar state law. Among other things, registration allows the state to limit the number of companies that noncommercial registered agents serve.
Under the MoRAA, the listing statement must include:
- The registered agent’s name and entity type
- A statement that the person or entity is acting as a commercial registered agent
- A physical address in the state where official documents like a court summons can be received
Which States Recognize Commercial Registered Agents?
The MoRAA distinguishes between commercial and noncommercial registered agents. Eleven states and Washington D.C. have adopted the Model Registered Agents Act (MoRAA) to standardize business entity laws. These states include:
- District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
In addition, Pennsylvania, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, and California have laws similar to the MoRAA. Other states don’t require agents to file commercial listings.
How Do You Become a Commercial Registered Agent?
In a state that has adopted the MoRAA or a similar law, register with the state by filing a commercial registered agent listing statement with the Secretary of State (or equivalent government office) in accordance with that state’s laws.
Depending on the state, a registered agent could also be known as a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process.
Check if You’re Using a Commercial Agent
Check with the Secretary of State (or equivalent state office), which may have a list of commercial registered agents on its website. Alternatively, ask the agent itself.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in a State That Requires a Commercial Registered Agent?
Yes, if you meet the criteria and file the required paperwork.
Who Should Be Your Registered Agent?
Any individual who:
- Is 18 years or older
- Has a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state where business is conducted
- Is available in person during normal business hours
A professional service also can act as a registered agent if the company is authorized to do business in the state, has a physical address there, and has an authorized individual there to receive official documents during normal business hours.
We recommend using a professional service to maintain privacy and save time that can be spent on other business needs. For more information, see our What Is a Registered Agent? and Can I Be My Own Registered Agent? guides.
Best Registered Agent Services
Looking for the best registered agent service online to help your business stay compliant and meet important filing deadlines? We compare the top services and provide a side-by-side view of the main features you should care about when choosing a services.
Northwest is the best based on overall quality. The company provides features like a full year of included service with LLC formation for completing business entity filings. If you just need agent services, Northwest offers services at $125 per year. Learn more with our Northwest review.
How to Choose a Registered Agent in Your State
To learn more about requirements in your state, visit our state guides:
What is a commercial registered agent?
They are persons or business entities that have filed a commercial agent listing statement with the Secretary of State. Only a few states have enacted the model registered agent act. Note that you can still be your own registered agent directly without hiring a commercial registered office provider.
What is the difference between a commercial vs noncommercial?
A commercial registered agent has filed a registered agent listing statement, whereas a noncommercial has not.
Who should be your registered agent?
We recommend hiring a service. To narrow down your choices, see our review.