Pennsylvania Registered Agent
You are required to appoint a Pennsylvania registered agent — recorded as just a registered office by the state — in order to form an LLC or corporation in Pennsylvania.
Even though you can designate your own business address as your registered office, a large number of small business owners choose to work with a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) instead.
This is because a third-party service offers improved privacy and flexibility on a day-to-day basis while remaining relatively affordable.
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 Office or CROP in Pennsylvania
Your registered office address will need to be an actual street address or rural route box number in Pennsylvania (post office box addresses alone are not acceptable.). This is the address where state correspondence and service of process will be delivered.
If you do not have a physical address in Pennsylvania or wish to hire a service to receive service of process, you can choose to elect a commercial registered office provider (CROP) instead.
A CROP is a registered agent service or other business entity that is registered with the state of Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that you will need to have entered into a contract with them before you include their details in your Certificate of Organization in order to avoid civil law penalties.
Pennsylvania Registered Agent Services
- Convenience: If you decide to elect a third-party CROP and authorize them to receive service of process on behalf of your business, you will not need to be physically present in your registered office address during normal business hours.
- Privacy: Since your registered office’s address will become publicly available, hiring a third-party service can be a way of protecting your privacy.
- Compliance and Online Storage: Most commercial third-party services scan all legal documents and upload them online in PDF form, which can make accessing them later on significantly easier.
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, although this isn’t generally recommended.
Using your own address as your registered office should only be done if you are operating on a very tight budget.
This is because you can find relatively inexpensive alternatives (i.e., around $10 per month) while at the same time retaining a higher level of privacy and flexibility.
If you are planning to form a new LLC soon, it will make sense to use an LLC formation service with a free year of registered agent services. These can charge as little as $29 per formation (excluding state fees).
If you are forming an LLC but prefer to file the paperwork yourself (and use your own address as your registered office), we recommend taking a look at our How to Start an LLC in Pennsylvania guide.
Best Pennsylvania Registered Agent Service
Northwest is our 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)
Benefits of Using a Registered Agent Service
Many businesses choose to use a professional 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 designate your own address as your registered office, it will become publicly available on the Pennsylvania Business Entity Search. This can be a problem if you are operating from your home.
- 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 legal 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 national 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 Pennsylvania
For your LLC in Pennsylvania, you will be required to elect a registered office or CROP when you complete Form 15-8821: Certificate of Organization for your LLC.
This is the official document that you will need to file with the Pennsylvania Department of State in order to form your LLC.
Note: A $125 filing fee will need to be paid.
Electing a Registered Agent Online
To begin the online formation process, create an account through the Pennsylvania Department of State website. Once subscribed, you’ll gain access to all the resources you need to appoint a commercial registered office provider (registered agent) and form your LLC online.
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail
To form your LLC by mail, simply download the Certificate of Organization, fill out the required fields and submit a physical copy with the Department of State (along with a $125 filing fee). You’ll be prompted to provide 1) the address of your registered office, or 2) your commercial registered office provider’s name and county of venue in Section 2.
How to Change Your Registered Agent in Pennsylvania
In order to change a Pennsylvania registered office or CROP, you will need to fill out Form 15-1507: Change of Registered Office and file it with the Department of State alongside a $5 filing fee.
This can be done online or by mail.
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722
Check out our full guide on how to change registered agents in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Registered Agent FAQs
Can I be my own registered agent in Pennsylvania?
Yes, you can, although this is generally not recommended.
This is because being your own registered office is relatively inefficient from a time-management point of view, and it will also not save you a significant amount of money (e.g., around $10 per month, etc.).
We recommend having a look at our Pennsylvania Registered Agent article for more information.
Are Pennsylvania registered agents required?
Technically, the Department of State doesn’t record individual registered agents and instead only has businesses list registered offices.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships don’t need to elect registered offices, whereas LLCs and corporations do. This is because LLCs and corporations are incorporated entities (i.e., separate from their owners).
How do I find a registered agent in PA?
If you are interested in hiring a third-party service, you can have a look at our best registered agent service in Pennsylvania review.
Having said that, if you are planning to use your own address as your business’s registered office, you will simply need to provide your details in your Certificate of Organization.
How much does a registered agent cost in PA?
If you use a third-party service, this will likely cost anywhere between $90 and $300 per year.
On the other hand, you can choose to use your own address as your business’s registered office free of charge, although this can take up more of your time.
See our How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost article for more information.
Who can be a registered agent?
Pennsylvania doesn’t have “registered agents.” Instead, it has registered offices, which need to be within the state of Pennsylvania (must be physical location).
If you do not have a physical address in the state, you can use a registered agent service instead, which is referred to as a Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP) in your Certificate of Organization.