A Delaware registered agent is required by law for every formal business in the state of Delaware. A registered agent receives all official paperwork from the State of Delaware, they also receive any service of process a business may be served in a lawsuit.
In our Delaware Registered Agent guide, we'll go over everything related to what a registered agent is, what they do, and how to pick one.
Recommended: Get a free year of registered agent services when you form an LLC with Northwest Registered Agent ($29 plus state fees).
What Is A Delaware Registered Agent?
A Delaware registered agent is an individual or business entity that acts as the point of contact for your business for:
- All communication with the State of Delaware, such as the Delaware Annual Franchise Tax and certificate of good standing
- Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit
Every formal business in Delaware eg LLC, corporation, etc is required by law to have a registered agent.
For more information on the role of registered agents, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
For help forming your LLC, use our Delaware LLC guide.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Delaware?
Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in Delaware as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in Delaware.
You could also choose to elect a member of your LLC, or even a friend you trust, as long as the person meets these requirements too.
Though many businesses prefer to use a professional registered agent service.
Why Businesses Use a Delaware Registered Agent Service
Many businesses choose to use a registered agent service when they form an LLC, here are some of the reasons why:
A registered agent service maintains a compliance calendar and will remind you when annual reports or other filings are due, and help you file them.
This helps you to avoid fines and keeps your company in good standing, which is important to maintain your limited liability protection.
Legal complications, fees, or any other issues can arise if you do not respond quickly to service of process. A registered agent will scan your documents, share them with you online, and notify you when they are available.
If you work from home, or even a private office, and act as your own registered agent, your address will be published publicly on the Delaware General Information Name Search.
If you value your privacy, a registered agent service will use their own address in place of yours.
Receiving service of process for a lawsuit at your business can be a sensitive situation to have happen in front of your employees and clients.
To avoid having this issue a registered agent will receive any service of process and other documents at their office, and discreetly deliver them to you online.
If you are your own registered agent, you must be available at all normal business hours, every working day of the year.
Registered agent services run physical offices and have staff to cover those hours, so they can be available at those times
Hiring a registered agent service allows you to be more flexible in the hours and locations you work. So, take a vacation, work from home or the office, or travel the world, knowing they’re around to take your paperwork.
A good registered agent service will scan your documents as soon as they are received, storing a digital copy of all your business documents and any service of process available on a convenient dashboard.
Typically, if you’ve used an LLC formation service, you will also use them as a registered agent. This means that a copy of your formation documents will also be available online.
Having all of this information, available as PDFs, is very helpful when you need to do things for your business, such as opening a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, applying for small business loans, and many more things that require a copy of your documents.
If you plan on expanding your business into other states like if you’re hiring an out-of-state employee or opening a new sales office, a registered agent is necessary for your foreign LLC or other entity.
Most registered agent services operate in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Just pay a little extra for the new state you operate in, and they will deliver all those documents to the same online dashboard.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
The cost of hiring a registered agent service is typically around $50 to $300 per year. This is a small cost when you consider how much time it will save you — it’s well worth the price.
Best Delware Registered Agent Service
Northwest is the best registered agent service based on overall quality and transparent pricing. Northwest offers a seamless user experience and best-in-industry customer service and privacy protection.
When you choose Northwest as your registered agent service, you'll get an online account to access essential documents, mail forwarding, and business address services.
Northwest’s virtual mailbox service will scan your mail and forward it to you electronically. This means that you can keep track of your mail no matter where you are in the world.
Registered Agent Standard
LLC Formation + 1 yr Free Registered Agent Service
One Year Free Registered Agent with LLC Formation $29 (Plus State Fees)
If you want to explore all your options, check out this article on the 7 Best Registered Agent Services written by our friends at Startup Savant.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Delaware?
In Delaware, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Certificate of Formation. The Certificate of Formation is the main LLC formation document in Delaware.
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail
To form your LLC by mail, download the Certificate of Formation ($90 filing fee required), fill out the required fields, and submit a physical copy to the Delaware Secretary of State. You’ll be asked to provide your registered Agent’s information in the second section of page 3:
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Delaware?
To change your Delaware registered agent, simply fill out a Change of Agent form and submit it to the Delaware Department of State along with the $50 filing fee ($5 for nonprofit corporations and $500 for statutory trusts) paid by check or credit card (online only).
Delaware has different Change of Agent forms for different business structures:
- Limited Partnership (LP)
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
- Statutory Trust
- Foreign Corporation
- Foreign LLC
- Foreign LP
- Foreign LLP
Delaware Division of Corporations
401 Federal Street - Suite 4
Dover, DE 19901
*Note: Forms submitted by mail must include a cover sheet.
Registered Agent FAQ
Does Delaware require a registered agent?
Every U.S. state, with the exception of New York, requires all corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) to have a registered agent. A registered agent may be called different names in different states, such as a resident agent, a statutory agent, or an agent for service of process.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No. A business owner can be a registered agent, but a registered agent is not necessarily a business owner.
How to Become a Registered Agent in Delaware
To become a registered agent in Delaware as an individual or business entity, you must:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have a street address in Delaware.
- Have the business you’re representing list your name and address on their formation or change of registered agent documents.
After this, the State of Delaware will send you official correspondence for annual reports, service of process, and other compliance information for the business you represent.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a company that agrees to receive service of process for an LLC, corporation, or nonprofit.