A North Carolina registered agent is required by law for every formal business in the state of North Carolina. A registered agent receives all official paperwork from the State of North Carolina, they also receive any service of process a business may be served in a lawsuit.
In our North Carolina 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 North Carolina Registered Agent?
A North Carolina 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 North Carolina, such as the North Carolina Annual Report and certificate of good standing
- Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit
Every formal business in North Carolina 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 How to Start an LLC in North Carolina guide.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In North Carolina?
Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in North Carolina as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in North Carolina.
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. To learn more about the Best Registered Agent Services of 2022, read our guide.
Why Businesses Use a North Carolina 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 North Carolina Business 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 North Carolina 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)
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In North Carolina?
In North Carolina, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Articles of Organization. The Articles of Organization is the main LLC formation document in North Carolina.
Electing a Registered Agent Online
You can form your LLC online on the North Carolina Secretary of State website ($125 filing fee required). Your registered agent’s name and contact information will be requested when you file your LLC’s Articles of Organization online:
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail
To form your LLC by mail, download the Articles of Organization form ($125 filing fee required), fill out the required fields, and submit a physical copy to the North Carolina Secretary of State. You’ll be asked to provide your registered agent’s information starting with number 3 in the middle of the page:
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In North Carolina?
To change your North Carolina registered agent, simply fill out a Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent and submit it to the North Carolina Secretary of State along with the $5 filing fee paid by check or credit card (online and in person).
This can be done online, by mail, or in person:
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622
Business Registration Division
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Registered Agent FAQ
Do I need a registered agent in North Carolina?
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.
What does “service of process” mean?
Service of process means receiving legal documents, such as a summons. A summons is an order to appear before a judge due to a pending lawsuit.
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 North Carolina
To become a registered agent in North Carolina as an individual or business entity, you must:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have a street address in North Carolina.
- 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 North Carolina 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.