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.


Commercial Registered Agent vs. Noncommercial Registered Agent

A commercial registered agent is a person or entity that has registered with the state by filing a commercial registered agent 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 MoRAA and recognize commercial registered agents. These states include:

In addition, Pennsylvania, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, and California have laws similar to the MoRAA. Other states don’t require registered agents to file commercial registered agent listings.

How Do You Become a Commercial Registered Agent?

To 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.

Other Names for Commercial Registered Agents

Depending on the state, a registered agent could also be known as a resident agent, statutory agent, or agent for service of process.

How to Check if You’re Using a Commercial Registered Agent

If you’re not sure whether you’re using a commercial or noncommercial registered 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?

You can be your own registered agent in a state that requires a commercial registered agent if you meet the criteria for a registered agent and file the required paperwork.

Who Should Be Your Registered Agent?

A registered agent can be 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.

The 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 registered agent services and provide a side-by-side view of the main features you should care about when choosing among registered agent services.

Recommended: ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness is the best registered agent service based on overall quality. The company provides features like a full year of included registered agent service with LLC formation. If you just need registered agent services, ZenBusiness offers an unbeatable price of $99 per year. Learn more with our ZenBusiness Registered Agent Service review.

How to Choose a Registered Agent in Your State

To learn more about registered agent requirements in your state, visit our state registered agent guides:

Commercial Registered Agent Frequently Asked Questions

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.

What is the difference between a commercial registered agent and a noncommercial registered agent?

A commercial registered agent has filed a registered agent listing statement, whereas a noncommercial registered agent has not.

Who should be your registered agent?

While you can be your own registered agent, we recommend hiring a service. To narrow down your choices, see our review of the top 5 registered agent services of 2021.

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