You are legally required to appoint a registered agent when forming a North Carolina LLC.
Your North Carolina registered agent will act as the primary point of contact with the state and accept service of process.
You can be your own registered agent, but most small business owners use a third-party service. This is because professional services are affordable and go a long way in:
- Reducing risk
- Increasing privacy and flexibility
- Ensuring your documents are stored safely online
We’ll help you make the best choice for your business.
Recommended: Northwest Registered Agent offers free registered agent services with LLC or corporation formation ($29 plus state fees).
Choosing a Registered Agent in North Carolina
Appointing a registered agent is a legal requirement in North Carolina for LLCs and corporations. This can be a registered agent service, partner, or individual, so long as they:
- Have a physical street address in North Carolina.
- Are at least 18 years old.
- Are always available during normal business hours at their registered office address.
North Carolina Registered Agent Services
- Convenience: Hiring a third-party service will allow you to have more flexibility on a day-to-day basis; this is because you will not have to worry about being physically present at your registered address.
- Privacy: Since all North Carolina registered agents’ names and addresses become publicly available, hiring a third-party service can be an affordable way of protecting your privacy as a business owner.
- Compliance and Online Storage: Most third-party services scan all legal documents and upload them online in PDF form, meaning that you’ll be able to access them at any time.
Let’s Find the Right Registered Agent for Your Business
We’ve tested and reviewed the most popular registered agent services.
Can You Be Your Own Registered Agent?
Yes you can. Being your own agent can be a great choice if you are operating on an extremely tight budget.
This is because it can be done free of charge.
Having said that, we recommend avoiding this approach if possible due to the fact that you can get a more time-efficient alternative for as little as $10 per month.
If you use an LLC formation service when forming your LLC, you may be able to get a free year of registered agent services, depending on the provider that you go with. These services can charge as little as $29 per formation (excluding state fees) and handle everything when it comes to your formation.
If you are forming an LLC but prefer to file the paperwork yourself and act as your own registered agent, take a look at our How to Start an LLC in North Carolina guide.
Best North Carolina Registered Agent Service
If you're in North Carolina and either looking to form a new LLC or switch your existing registered agent, it's crucial to consider factors like cost, range of services, reputation, and customer support.
Many people seek registered agents offering features like mail forwarding, document scanning, and compliance monitoring.
Northwest Special Offer
If you haven't formed your LLC yet, consider Northwest's LLC formation package for $29 plus state fees, which includes a free first year of registered agent service.
- Premium customer service
- Streamlined ordering
- Robust privacy features
To help you make an informed choice, we've compiled a table comparing the top 5 North Carolina registered agent services below.
Top 5 North Carolina Registered Agent Services
BEST REGISTERED AGENT SERVICE
TRUSTED AND WELL-KNOWN COMPANY
Whether you're starting a new business or considering a change, it's crucial to weigh factors like pricing, services, reputation, and customer support when choosing a registered agent in North Carolina. Compare quotes and read online reviews to find the best fit for your needs.
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
Many businesses choose to use a registered agent service when they form an LLC. This is because it can offer a number of benefits, including:
- Legal compliance: A registered agent service will ensure that you don’t miss an important legal document or notification (e.g., service of process, etc.) as a result of not being in your office (or as a result of a human error).
- Improved privacy: If you act as your own agent, your name and address will become public record on the North Carolina Business Search. Using a registered agent service will help keep your information private.
- Discretion: When it comes to legal disputes, you will want to avoid receiving lawsuit-related documents in front of your clients and/or some employees.
- Better storage: Your service will generally scan all documents received and upload them online in PDF form. This means that you will always be able to access them online, and won’t have to worry about losing an important document.
A registered agent service can also be beneficial if you plan to expand into other states as a foreign LLC. This is because, otherwise, you would need to find an individual or business entity that is a resident — or is allowed to transact business — in each state that you want to register in.
How to Elect a Registered Agent in North Carolina
For your LLC in North Carolina, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Articles of Organization (there is no designated registered agent form when it comes to initial appointments).
This is the formation document that you will need to file with the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State in order to form your LLC ($125 filing fee).
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 to Change Your Registered Agent in North Carolina
In order to change your registered agent in North Carolina, you will need to submit Form BE-06: Statement of Change of Registered Office and/or Registered Agent through the Secretary of State for $5. Keep in mind that you will need your new agent’s written consent.
This can be done by completing the PDF form and submitting it 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
For more information read our how to change registered agents in North Carolina guide.
North Carolina Registered Agent FAQs
Can I be my own registered agent in North Carolina?
Yes you can, as long as you are at least 18 years old, have a physical address in North Carolina, and will always be available during normal business hours at your specified address.
Having said that, this route is generally not recommended for several reasons, including the fact that it’s relatively time-inefficient.
See our North Carolina Registered Agent article for more information.
Is a registered agent required in North Carolina?
Not for all business entities. For example, sole proprietorships do not need to appoint an agent, whereas LLCs and corporations do.
If you need an agent, we recommend getting an NC registered agent service. These are quite affordable and can go a long way in improving your flexibility on a day-to-day basis.
How do I get a registered agent in NC?
You can find a premium third-party service through our review of the best registered agent service in North Carolina.
If you want to become your own agent, you will simply need to fill out your personal details when completing your Articles of Organization (for LLCs).
How much does a registered agent cost in NC?
This will depend on who your business’s agent is.
If it is a third-party service, you should expect to pay anywhere between $90 and 300 per year. Having said that, you should be able to get the first year free of charge if you use an LLC formation service.
See our How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost review for more information.
Who can be a registered agent for an LLC in North Carolina?
Anyone can be a registered agent, including a third-party service, a partner, another individual, or yourself.
Having said that, they must satisfy the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a physical address in North Carolina
- Be available for contact during normal business hours