Understanding Virginia LLC Laws

The rules for starting and running a Virginia limited liability company (LLC) are laid out by Virginia's LLC laws

In this guide, we offer simple explanations to Virginia LLC laws about:

To learn more about starting an LLC, visit our form an LLC guide.


LLC Formation Requirements

Virginia LLC laws set out the requirements for forming an LLC. The Commonwealth of Virginia has created the SCC Clerk's Information System and PDF Articles of Organization form to simplify the process.

Virginia LLC Formation Statute

The following LLC formation statutes are from the Virginia Limited Liability Company Act:

Section 13.1-1011. Articles of organization.

A. The articles of organization shall set forth:

1. A name for the limited liability company that satisfies the requirements of § 13.1-1012;

2. The post office address, including the street and number, if any, of the limited liability company's initial registered office, the name of the city or county in which it is located, the name of its initial registered agent at that office, and that the agent is either (i) an individual who is a resident of Virginia and one of the following: a member or manager of the limited liability company, a member or manager of a limited liability company that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, an officer or director of a corporation that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, a general partner of a general or limited partnership that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, a trustee of a trust that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, or a member of the Virginia State Bar or (ii) a domestic or foreign stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company or registered limited liability partnership authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth; and

3. The post office address, including the street and number, if any, of the principal office of the limited liability company, which may be the same as the registered office, but need not be within the Commonwealth.

B. The articles of organization may set forth any other matter that under this chapter is permitted to be set forth in an operating agreement of a limited liability company.

C. The articles of organization need not set forth any of the powers enumerated in this chapter.

D. If the Commission finds that the articles of organization comply with the requirements of law and that all required fees have been paid, it shall issue a certificate of organization.

1991, c. 168; 1992, c. 574; 1993, c. 113; 1997, c. 190; 2000, c. 162; 2001, cc. 517, 541; 2004, c. 314; 2006, c. 748; 2009, c. 763.

What This Means: Key Takeaways*

The Virginia LLC statute provides the requirements for setting up (or forming) an LLC. The Commonwealth of Virginia offers online and mail-in LLC filing to meet these requirements.

Required Information for Virginia LLC Formation:

  • LLC’s name (Must meet Virginia LLC naming requirements)
  • LLC principal office’s street and mailing address
  • Registered agent’s name and registered office’s Virginia address and county

Optional Information for Virginia LLC Formation:

  • LLC organizers can add their own provisions as long as the provisions don’t conflict with LLC statute. 
  • LLC organizers can make statements about management structure, but they don’t have to.

Recommended: For help with completing the LLC formation forms, visit our Virginia LLC Articles of Organization guide.

Registered Agent Duties and Appointment

Virginia LLC laws define the duties and appointment of the LLC registered agent.

Virginia LLC Registered Agent Statute

The following registered agent statutes are from the Virginia Limited Liability Company Act:

Section 13.1-1015. Registered office and registered agent.

A. Each domestic limited liability company and each foreign limited liability company registered pursuant to Article 10 (§ 13.1-1051 et seq.) of this chapter shall continuously maintain in the Commonwealth:

1. A registered office that may be the same as any of its places of business; and

2. A registered agent who shall be either:

a. An individual who is a resident of the Commonwealth and is (i) a member or manager of the limited liability company, (ii) a member or manager of a limited liability company that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, (iii) an officer or director of a corporation that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, (iv) a general partner of a general or limited partnership that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, (v) a trustee of a trust that is a member or manager of the limited liability company, or (vi) a member of the Virginia State Bar, and whose business office is identical with the registered office;

b. A domestic or foreign stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company, or registered limited liability partnership authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth, the business office of which is identical with the registered office; provided such a registered agent (i) shall not be its own registered agent and (ii) shall designate by instrument in writing, acknowledged before a notary public, one or more natural persons at the office of the registered agent upon whom any process, notice, or demand may be served and shall continuously maintain at least one such person at that office. Whenever any such person accepts service, a photographic copy of such instrument shall be attached to the return; or

c. A Virginia resident who is an officer of the limited liability company, provided that such a registered agent or a natural person designated by the registered agent shall be available during regular business hours at the registered office to accept service of any process, notice, or demand. Whenever any such person accepts service, a photographic copy of such instrument shall be attached to the return. As used in this subdivision, "officer of the limited liability company" means any employee of the limited liability company, other than a member or manager of the limited liability company, who has been designated by the limited liability company by instrument in writing as a person upon whom any process, notice, or demand may be served.

B. The sole duty of the registered agent is to forward to the limited liability company or foreign limited liability company at its last known address any process, notice, or demand that is served on the registered agent.

1991, c. 168; 1993, c. 113; 1994, c. 348; 1996, c. 265; 2000, cc. 162, 537; 2001, cc. 517, 541; 2004, c. 314; 2005, c. 255; 2016, c. 275.

What This Means: Key Takeaways*

A registered agent’s job is to accept service of process (legal summons to a lawsuit). 

A Virginia registered agent must:

  • Maintain a registered office in Virginia (i.e., no P.O. boxes)
  • Be an individual, a Virginia corporation or LLC, or foreign corporation or LLC with a business address that is the same as the registered office address
  • Be available to accept service of process at the registered office during normal business hours

Registered agent information is kept on file by the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you change your registered agent or if your registered agent resigns, you must file a change of registered agent form.

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Operating Agreements

Virginia LLC laws provide guidelines for creating and maintaining an LLC operating agreement.

The following operating agreement statutes are from the Virginia Limited Liability Company Act:

Section 13.1-1023. Operating agreement.

A. Authority.

1. The members of a limited liability company may enter into any operating agreement to regulate or establish the affairs of the limited liability company, the conduct of its business and the relations of its members. A limited liability company is bound by its operating agreement whether or not the limited liability company executes the operating agreement. An operating agreement may contain any provisions regarding the affairs of a limited liability company and the conduct of its business to the extent that such provisions are not inconsistent with the laws of the Commonwealth or the articles of organization. An operating agreement may provide rights to any person, including a person who is not a party to the operating agreement, to the extent set forth in the operating agreement.

2. If a limited liability company has only one member, an operating agreement shall be deemed to include:

a. Any writing signed by the member, without regard to whether the writing constitutes an agreement, that relates to the affairs of the limited liability company and the conduct of its business.

b. Any agreement, regardless of whether the agreement is in writing, between the member and the limited liability company, that relates to the affairs of the limited liability company and the conduct of its business, provided that the limited liability company has a manager that is a person other than the member.

B. Adoption and amendment.

1. An operating agreement must initially be agreed to by all of the members. Unless the articles of organization or a written operating agreement specifically requires otherwise, an operating agreement need not be in writing.

2. If the articles of organization or an operating agreement does not provide for the manner by which an operating agreement may be amended, then all of the members must agree to any amendment of an operating agreement.

3. If the articles of organization or the operating agreement provide for the manner by which an operating agreement may be amended, including by requiring the approval of a person who is not a party to the operating agreement or requiring the satisfaction of conditions, an operating agreement may be amended only in that manner or as otherwise permitted by law; provided that (i) the approval of any person may be waived by that person and (ii) any conditions may be waived by all persons for whose benefit the conditions were intended.

C. Enforcement of operating agreement.

1. A court of equity may enforce an operating agreement by injunction or by such other relief that the court in its discretion determines to be fair and appropriate in the circumstances.

2. As an alternative to injunctive or other equitable relief, when the provisions of § 13.1-1047 are applicable, the court may order dissolution of the limited liability company.

1991, c. 168; 1993, c. 113; 1997, c. 190; 2005, c. 255; 2009, c. 763; 2012, c. 706.

What This Means: Key Takeaways*

An LLC operating agreement allows LLC members to create rules for how their unique LLC operates. These rules are often called “terms” or “provisions.”

Operating agreements are limited by state statute. For example, if the statute says LLC members can’t dissolve an LLC without all members agreeing, LLC members can’t change or override the statute with an operating agreement.

When an operating agreement is in place, it’s easier to navigate situations involving the operation of the LLC. And, if a lawsuit or dispute arises, LLC members (or the courts) have something to reference.

The initial operating agreement must be agreed to by all members.

If a dispute arises that can’t be resolved by LLC members and there isn’t an operating agreement, the courts will use LLC statute to resolve disputes.

Creating an Operating Agreement

Some LLCs, such as professional LLCs or real estate LLCs, might need unique terms, while others might only need to cover standard provisions:

  • Each member’s responsibilities
  • How new members will be admitted
  • How existing members may transfer or terminate their membership
  • How profits and dividends will be distributed
  • The process for amending the operating agreement

Use our free operating agreement template or learn more with our What Is an Operating Agreement guide.

Annual Registration Fee Requirements

Virginia LLC laws set out the requirements for annual LLC registration fees. The Commonwealth of Virginia has created the SCC Clerk's Information System to simplify the process.

Virginia LLC Annual Registration Fee Statute

The following annual registration fee statutes are from the Virginia Limited Liability Company Act:

Section 13.1-1061. Annual registration fees to be assessed and collected by Commission; application of payment.

The Commission shall assess and collect the annual registration fees imposed by this chapter. When the Commission receives payment of a registration fee assessed against a domestic or foreign limited liability company, or any protected series thereof, such payment shall be applied against any unpaid registration fees previously assessed against such limited liability company or protected series, including any penalties incurred thereon, beginning with the assessment that has remained unpaid for the longest period of time.

1991, c. 168; 2019, c. 636.

Section 13.1-1062. Assessment of annual registration fees; annual registration fees to be paid by domestic and foreign limited liability companies.

A. Every domestic limited liability company, every protected series, every foreign limited liability company registered to transact business in the Commonwealth, and every foreign protected series registered to transact business in the Commonwealth shall pay into the state treasury on or before the last day of the twelfth month next succeeding the month in which it was organized, established, or registered to transact business in the Commonwealth, and by such date in each year thereafter, an annual registration fee of $50, provided that (i) for a domestic limited liability company that became a domestic limited liability company by conversion from a domestic stock corporation or nonstock corporation, or by domestication from a foreign limited liability company that was registered to transact business in the Commonwealth at the time of the domestication, the annual registration fee shall be paid each year on or before the date on which its annual registration fee was due prior to the conversion or domestication and (ii) for a domestic limited liability company that became a domestic limited liability company by conversion from a domestic limited partnership or business trust, the annual registration fee shall be paid each year on or before the last day of the twelfth month next succeeding the month in which it was originally incorporated, organized, or formed as an entity, except the initial annual registration fee to be paid by the domestic limited liability company shall be due in the year after the calendar year in which the conversion became effective when the annual registration fee of the domestic limited partnership or business trust was paid for the calendar year in which it was converted, or when the month in which the conversion was effective precedes the month in which the domestic limited partnership or business trust was originally incorporated, organized, or formed as an entity by two months or less.

The annual registration fee shall be imposed irrespective of any specific license tax or other tax or fee imposed by law upon the domestic or foreign limited liability company or any protected series thereof for the privilege of carrying on its business in the Commonwealth or upon its franchise, property, or receipts.

B. Each year, the Commission shall ascertain from its records each domestic limited liability company, each protected series, each foreign limited liability company registered to transact business in the Commonwealth, and each foreign protected series registered to transact business in the Commonwealth, as of the first day of the second month next preceding the month in which it was organized, established, or registered to transact business in the Commonwealth, and, except as provided in subsection A, shall assess against each such limited liability company and each such protected series the annual registration fee herein imposed. Notwithstanding the foregoing, (i) for a domestic limited liability company that became a domestic limited liability company by conversion from a domestic stock corporation or nonstock corporation, or by domestication from a foreign limited liability company that was registered to transact business in the Commonwealth at the time of the domestication, the assessment shall be made as of the first day of the second month next preceding the month in which its annual registration fee was due prior to the conversion or domestication and (ii) for a domestic limited liability company that became a domestic limited liability company by conversion from a domestic limited partnership or business trust, except as provided in subsection A, the assessment shall be made as of the first day of the second month next preceding the month in which the domestic limited liability company was originally incorporated, organized, or formed as an entity.

C. At the discretion of the Commission, the annual registration fee due date for a limited liability company may be extended, on a monthly basis for a period of not less than one month nor more than 11 months, at the request of its registered agent of record or as may be necessary to distribute annual registration fee due dates of limited liability companies as equally as practicable throughout the year on a monthly basis.

D. A statement of the assessment, when made, shall be forwarded by the clerk of the Commission to the Comptroller and to each domestic and foreign limited liability company and each protected series thereof.

E. A domestic or foreign limited liability company shall not be required to pay the annual registration fee assessed against it pursuant to subsection B in any year if (i) the Commission issues or files any of the following types of certificate or instrument and (ii) the certificate or instrument is effective on or before the annual registration fee due date:

1. A certificate of cancellation of existence or a certificate of organization surrender for a domestic limited liability company;

2. A certificate of cancellation for a foreign limited liability company;

3. A certificate of merger or an authenticated copy of an instrument of merger for a domestic or foreign limited liability company that has merged into a surviving domestic limited liability company or other business entity or into a surviving foreign limited liability company or other business entity; or

4. An authenticated copy of an instrument of entity conversion for a foreign limited liability company that has converted to a different entity type.

The Commission shall cancel the annual registration fee assessments specified in this subsection that remain unpaid.

F. Annual registration assessments that have been paid shall not be refunded.

G. The fees paid into the state treasury under this section and the fees collected under § 13.1-1005 shall be set aside and paid into the special fund created under § 13.1-775.1, and shall be used only by the Commission as it deems necessary to defray the costs of the Commission and of the office of the clerk of the Commission in supervising, implementing, administering and enforcing the provisions of this chapter. The projected excess of fees collected over the costs of administration and enforcement so incurred shall be paid into the general fund prior to the close of each fiscal year, based on the unexpended balance of the special fund at the end of the prior fiscal year. An adjustment of this transfer amount to reflect actual fees collected shall occur during the first quarter of the succeeding fiscal year.

1991, c. 168; 1995, c. 621; 2001, c. 545; 2002, c. 1; 2006, c. 748; 2010, c. 703; 2013, c. 17; 2019, c. 636; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 487.

What This Means: Key Takeaways*

You can pay your Virginia annual registration fee online.

The annual registration fee is $50.

Annual Registration Fee Due Dates:

  • Each year after the year of formation on the last day of the month in which the company was formed or registered to transact business in Virginia.

*This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a lawyer for legal advice.

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