A Rhode Island registered agent, sometimes known as a resident agent in Rhode Island, is required by law for every formal business in the state of Rhode Island. A registered agent receives all official paperwork from the State of Rhode Island, they also receive any service of process a business may be served in a lawsuit.
In our Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Registered Agent?
A Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island, such as the Rhode Island Annual Report and certificate of good standing
- Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit
Every formal business in Rhode Island 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 guide.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Rhode Island?
Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in Rhode Island as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in Rhode Island.
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. Learn more about registered agent services by reading our guide.
Why Businesses Use a Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Business Entity 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island.
Electing a Registered Agent Online
You can form your LLC online on the Rhode Island Secretary of State website ($150 filing fee required). Your registered agent’s name and contact information will be requested when you file your LLC’s Articles of Organization online under Article II:
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail
To form your LLC by mail, download the Articles of Organization form ($150 filing fee required), fill out the required fields, and submit a physical copy to the Rhode Island Secretary of State. You’ll be asked to provide your registered agent on section 2:
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Rhode Island?
To change your Rhode Island registered agent, simply fill out a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form and submit it to the Rhode Island Department of State along with the $20 filing fee ($10 for nonprofits) paid by check, cash, or credit card.
Rhode Island has different forms for different business structure types:
This can be done online, by mail, or in person.
Mail or In Person:
Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615
Registered Agent FAQ
Do I need a registered agent in Rhode Island?
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.
What is a resident agent?
A resident agent is another name for a registered agent, a process of service agent, or a statutory agent.
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 Rhode Island
To become a registered agent in Rhode Island as an individual or business entity, you must:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have a street address in Rhode Island.
- 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 Rhode Island 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.