How Long Does It Take to Form an LLC in North Carolina?

The recent economic stimulation in North Carolina, combined with the overall low cost of living, has attracted many new residents and businesses to the state. So if you are thinking of starting an LLC in North Carolina, there’s good news. Forming an LLC in North Carolina is as easy as filling out your Articles of Organization, paying the filing fee, and waiting for the Secretary of State to approve you.

From the time you send your paperwork to the state to the moment you are approved, the North Carolina LLC approval process takes 1-2 days for online filing and 3-4 weeks for filing by mail. The following guide will take you through the LLC approval process and timeline for North Carolina.

We recommend using a professional LLC formation service to handle your business’s formation paperwork so you can focus on what matters most — running your business.

North Carolina LLC Approval Time


Filing Options

Approval Time

Filing Delays

Expedited Filing (Fee)


Filing online

7-10 business days

No known delays

24-hour processing, $100 extra
Same-day processing, $200 extra


Filing by mail

3-4 weeks

No known delays

24 hour processing, $100 extra
Same-day processing, $200 extra


Approval time when forming an LLC refers to the entire amount of time it takes to get your LLC approved. This period includes the transit time of documents if you submit them by mail, any delays that may come up, and the handling time of the documents as they are entered into the Secretary of State’s records. Online filing can avoid most delays and forgoes travel time as uploading is instantaneous, so it has an overall faster approval time compared to mail filing.

North Carolina LLC Processing Time

Included within approval time is processing time, which is however long it takes the state of North Carolina to review your paperwork and submit the data into their system. Processing time only accounts for the time the state spends handling your documents, not any transit time for the document moving by mail. Since the paperwork will be processed by the North Carolina Secretary of State, you can mail your Articles of Organization to them or submit online filings to their website by uploading a PDF form or completing their creation wizard.

  • Online: 7-10 business days
  • By mail: 10-15 business days

Remember that processing time is simply a part of the approval process, so approval time is a much better reference for how long it will take to start operating your LLC.

Expedited Filing for a North Carolina LLC

If you can’t wait for the state to process your documents and have some disposable funds in your budget, you can expedite the processing time in North Carolina by paying extra. When filing online or by mail, paying an extra $100 can drop the processing time to 24 hours, and an extra $200 will get you same-day processing, but it has to be submitted by noon; otherwise, it will be processed at the start of the next business day.

How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in North Carolina?

Filing your Articles of Organization in North Carolina will require you to pay the $125 filing fee. Those paying for the fee by check should make it out to The North Carolina Secretary of State.

Should you decide to pay for expedited filing, the total cost for 24-hour processing will be $225, or $325 if you go with same-day processing.

LLC Formation Service

Hiring an LLC formation service is not necessary and will not speed up the approval time of your forms, but it will ensure the forms are filled out correctly the first time and save you from the hassle of filling them out yourself. Some services will even let you use their address on the forms so you won’t have to file with your private address.

Read our LLC Formation Services Review to learn more 

Should I Form an LLC in North Carolina?

LLCs are formal business structures that provide owners with limited liability protection and pass-through taxation. If you plan to do business in North Carolina, an LLC may be beneficial, and the Old North State is a great place for starting an LLC.

Low Cost of Living

Many people are attracted to North Carolina because of its lower cost of living when compared to the rest of the United States. MIT’s living wage calculator shows that the cost of living ranks 91/100, with 100 being the national average. This equates out to most things being around 2% cheaper when compared to nationwide prices. An overall lower cost of living will lead to less financial stress for you and a lower cost to operate your LLC.

Economic Opportunity

There is a lot of economic opportunity in North Carolina, with a vibrant job market seeking qualified applicants every day. All these new jobs are coming from new businesses setting up shop in North Carolina and benefitting from the low corporate tax rate. If you start an LLC in the state, you would be paying the lowest corporate tax rate in the country, which, combined with the low cost of living, would quickly add up.

Low Business Cost

On top of the low cost of living and the lowest corporate tax rate in the country, North Carolina also sports an overall low operating cost for businesses. In the state, you can find building costs to be 16% below the national average and electricity costs to be 14.5% below the national average. This has made North Carolina an incredibly profitable place for businesses to operate in and can be sure to save your LLC some money as you make it into the business you want.