Companies receive tons of paperwork and legal correspondence every year. But some get lost or overlooked in a busy office.
Fortunately, a Delaware registered agent can act on your company’s behalf and receive, sign, and forward said documents to your office.
This guide goes through the role, responsibilities, and options of a Delaware registered agent for LLCs and corporations. We will also examine whether you can act as your own agent and when to use a third-party agent or service provider when registering a business.
Delaware registered agents receive and handle legal documents, government correspondence, and service of process notifications for a business entity.
All Delaware business entity types — LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits — require a registered agent.
Business owners can elect or change their registered agent online or by mail with the Delaware Division of Corporations.
Protect your privacy, avoid compliance issues, and choose a service trusted by over 300,000 businesses.
A registered agent is a business or individual enlisted by companies to receive and handle legal documents. A Delaware LLC or corporation may hire a Delaware registered agent to receive government correspondence, compliance paperwork, and service of process notices for the company.
Registered agents help business owners remain in good standing with the law and updated on various situations. Requests for appointing or changing a registered agent go through the Delaware Department of State Division of Corporations.
A Delaware registered agent has a different mandate than other designated agents for a company or individual. As such, their responsibilities include:
Maintaining a physical Delaware business address in the public record
Keeping regular business hours to receive official papers on behalf of your business
Receiving, signing, and forwarding legal documents and corporate filings
Managing the franchise tax fees and annual report
Maintaining a business license (for commercial agents)
It’s worth noting that Delaware registered agents must make their addresses a matter of public record. It’s necessary for individuals, agencies, and other business entities to gain access to mail correspondence contact information.
But public record addresses are available to everyone. This increases the risk of receiving even more spam or marketing mail. The abundance of incoming documents and notifications places an extra responsibility on registered agents, who will filter out these non-critical papers.
Lastly, some agents can file documents on behalf of their customers, prepare the paperwork, and send reminders. Such services aren’t always standard and can cost extra.
Business owners can choose a Delaware registered agent in a couple of ways. Learning about specific requirements and the qualities that make an excellent registered agent makes the process easier.
Delaware General Corporation Law states that all registered agents must be legal Delaware residents. If business owners want to choose a corporation or LLC registered agent, the business entity must maintain a registered office at a physical location.
The law dictates that P.O. boxes aren’t acceptable. Delaware registered agents need a place to receive, sign, and forward paperwork. A physical office allows agents to provide better means of forwarding legal documents, handling franchise tax, paying state fees, and more.
Generally, the requirements for becoming a registered agent are easy to meet:
Be at least 18 years old
Have a physical Delaware address
Be available during regular business hours
In addition, registered agents should keep names, business addresses, and contact numbers for communications with the Delaware businesses they represent.
Moreover, Delaware registered agents should remain in good standing with clients and customers. Complaints against agents with the Division of Corporations can prevent registered agents from conducting business. As such, registered agents shouldn’t perform deceptive and harmful business practices.
To be your own registered agent, you must be a legal resident of Delaware, have an office address, and stick to regular business hours. Any individual associated with your business can become the company’s registered agent. However, the company itself can’t act as a Delaware registered agent.
Registered agents must meet the Delaware requirements and other criteria, like having a physical office address on the public record. It’s also mandatory to be available during regular business hours to receive correspondence when necessary. It may not sound like much, but being your own registered agent has many pros and cons.
• Save money by acting as a Delaware registered agent instead of hiring third-party services
• Stay available to receive service of process during regular business hours
• Gain extra privacy from no prying eyes on confidential paperwork and business information
• Miss essential documents if the registered agent isn’t an organized person with an eye for detail
• Assign the role to someone in the business with a simple registration process
• Place your home or office address on the public record
• Notify the Delaware Secretary of State of any address changes
• Be served with legal notices in public, adding additional stress and a lack of privacy
It may seem convenient to have an in-house registered agent. Still, many Delaware business owners choose a third-party Delaware registered agent service for the benefits they provide. For example, Swyft Filings can fulfill a registered agent’s responsibilities and act as a point of contact during regular business hours.
A third-party registered agent lets you quickly receive important documents without stepping away from other business tasks. Company and home offices get the privacy required to maintain a proper workflow.
Getting legal notices on time helps business owners remain in good standing with the law. Furthermore, a Delaware registered agent service provider can offer additional perks and services for legal compliance.
Some service providers offer physical offices, enable remote teams to stick to flexible schedules, and have scalable solutions for growing businesses.
Companies serving or operating in different states may receive legal paperwork from all over the country. A third-party Delaware registered agent helps them remain compliant even when not incorporated in the state.
One essential step in resolving future service of process notifications is learning how to pick or change a registered agent. Business owners can choose between a Delaware registered agent or a Delaware LLC service provider to receive and sign critical legal documents.
It’s essential to pick a Delaware registered agent before filing a request to register your business. After choosing the individual or company, you must file the request with the Division of Corporations of the Delaware Department of State.
In addition, you can select a Delaware registered agent when applying for a certificate of formation that allows your company to do business in Delaware. This document should include the registered agent’s name and contact information.
You’ll need to pay $140 in state fees when filing the formation documents to appoint a Delaware registered agent and form an LLC. However, registered agents charge their own fees for one or more years of service.
Electing a registered agent is relatively simple, but working with a reputable Delaware registered agent service can simplify things. Many companies that offer this service provide business owners with up-to-date and pre-filled forms for appointing a Delaware registered agent.
All requests go to the following address:
Division of Corporations
John G. Townsend Building
401 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
There is a base fee of $50 for LLCs and corporations to file and switch to a new Delaware registered agent. This fee is $5 for nonprofits. On top of the base fee, you may have to pay $9 for each new page. All checks should be payable to the Delaware Secretary of State regardless of company type.
Each type of business entity has different filing forms. The information required usually includes:
New registered agent details
A Delaware registered agent service provider may have pre-filled forms for every legal entity to simplify the process for business owners.
Division of Corporations
John G. Townsend Building
401 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Avoid Penalties: Every business is legally required to have a registered agent in any state where it operates.
Prioritize Your Privacy: We go on record with the government so you don’t have to, meaning any legal actions come to us, not your home or office.
Stay Flexible: We are always available at a physical address during business hours, so you’ll never miss an official notice.
Individual Delaware residents and foreign or domestic businesses can be registered agents. Maintaining a physical address in the state and keeping regular business hours is the main requirement. In addition, having a Delaware business license is mandatory for commercial agents.
A Delaware registered agent service can cost between $50 and $300. Although this range seems broad, each service provider may offer unique packages or fulfill extra responsibilities. Hiring or changing a Delaware registered agent can also incur additional filing costs from state fees. Business owners often pay a minimum $50 base filing fee to the Delaware Secretary of State.
Business owners can request to change their registered agent to the Delaware Department of State Division of Corporations. The standard state agency fee is $50, except for nonprofit organizations, which benefit from a $5 fee. When selecting a new Delaware registered agent, business owners can mail, fax, hand deliver, or upload the form online.
Search engine queries can list nearby registered agent service providers. The Delaware Division of Corporations webpage also indexes a long list of available Delaware registered agents. However, the Delaware Department of State advises further due diligence before choosing your first or a new agent.
A Delaware registered office refers to the physical street address designated by the registered agent or registered agent service to act as its place of business. The registered office is the official location where registered agents receive legal documents on behalf of their individual and corporate clients. It’s also the physical address where agents get annual report reminders from state agencies. Home and business addresses may qualify as Delaware registered offices.
Registered agents, resident agents, and statutory agents are interchangeable terms. They all refer to a person or entity that acts as a point of contact for a business to receive legal documents and important notifications. These agents can sign documents and forward them to companies to help manage paperwork and offer peace of mind.
A registered agent service is a third party that fulfills the registered agent requirements on behalf of the business. Swyft Filings offers a reliable registered agent service that maintains your privacy, provides immediate access to vital documents, and gives you more time to focus on your business.
State of Delaware Division of Corporations. “Business Services, Forms and Fees, and Information.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
The Delaware Code Online. “Title 8: Corporations – Chapter 1. General Corporation Law, Subchapter III. Registered Office and Registered Agent.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
Delaware One Stop. “Register and License Your Business to Operate in Delaware.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
Delaware Division of Corporations. “Certificate of Formation of a Limited Liability Company.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
Delaware Division of Corporations. “Document Filing and Certificate Request.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
Delaware Division of Corporations. “Certificate of Amendment Changing Only the Registered Office/Agent of Limited Liability Company.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
Delaware Division of Corporations. “eCorp Business Services.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
Delaware Division of Corporations. “List of Delaware Registered Agents.” Accessed November 30, 2022.
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