How To Get a Registered Agent in Rhode Island

Aerial panorama of Providence skyline and Rhode Island capitol building at dusk

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Alexis Konovodoff
Written by Alexis Konovodoff
Written byAlexis Konovodoff
Updated April 29, 2024
Edited by Carlos Serrano
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Rhode Island state law says that all registered businesses need a registered agent.[1] The registered agent’s job is to handle legal notices and other official paperwork from the Rhode Island state on the company’s behalf.

This guide covers everything you should know about the responsibilities and requirements of registered agents.

Key Takeaways

  • A Rhode Island registered agent is the main point of contact between a Rhode Island LLC or corporation and the state or other parties.

  • All Rhode Island LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits must have a registered agent with a physical address in the state. 

  • Per Rhode Island state law, individuals and LLCs or corporations can act as registered agents. Individuals must be at least 18 years old, and businesses must be authorized to do business in the state.

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What Is a Registered Agent?

A registered agent is a legally designated point of contact for a business or nonprofit. A Rhode Island registered agent receives service of process or lawsuit notices and other legal documents for the company they represent.

A resident agent can also handle communications between the state of Rhode Island agencies and their clients. These include tax filings, annual reports, and certificates of good standing.

Most states use the term “registered agent.” In Rhode Island, the term “resident agent” refers to the same person. The difference in usage emphasizes that the registered agent must be a state resident.

All businesses and nonprofits from Rhode Island need a resident agent. The agent must have a physical street address in the state to use as a registered office.

Small business owners must find a professional registered agent for their Rhode Island LLC if they want their business to run more smoothly.

Registered Agent Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a Rhode Island registered agent include keeping track of business procedures or documents and following some general rules. A registered agent will need to:

  • Make corporate filings

  • Send annual report reminders

  • Have a Rhode Island street address to act as a registered office

  • Receive and accept service of process

  • Receive and accept official notifications and legal documents

  • Receive annual franchise tax notifications and annual reports

  • Be available at their given business address during regular business hours to accept documentation

Mailing services and PO Boxes can’t be registered offices — agents without a registered office risk administrative dissolution by the Rhode Island Secretary of State.

Newport Harbor Lighthouse and the Newport Bridge at sunset in Rhode Island

Choosing Your Rhode Island Registered Agent

You should hire a Rhode Island registered agent to avoid legal charges as a business owner. The agent must follow some rules and requirements to be suitable for the role.

Rhode Island Registered Agent Requirements

Most states require all business entities to have a registered office for the registered agent. Some states have additional requirements. A registered agent:

  • Must be more than 18 years old

  • Must be a Rhode Island resident

  • Needs to have their details in your limited liability company formation documents

  • Must have a registered office at a physical street address, not a PO Box or virtual office[2]

  • Has to be available during regular work hours to receive documents from sheriffs, officials, and other entities

Failure to fulfill these requirements can result in state fees and a compromised good standing status with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.

Can I Be My Own Rhode Island Registered Agent?

The state of Rhode Island allows business owners to be their own registered agents. You can even hire a friend or family member for the role.

Regardless of who is in charge, the registered agent should meet the basic state requirements like having an office address open during regular business hours, handling legal documents, and other provisions stated above.

Being your own registered agent has several benefits:

  • It saves you money

  • It means you get all the documents directly

  • You have fewer business associates to think about

However, it’s essential to consider the downsides of being your own registered agent, including:

  • It may get overwhelming and distract from leading the company

  • Your contact details and address will be visible on the public record

  • You need to be available during regular business hours (usually 8 am to 5 pm)

  • You may miss crucial documents when you’re not in the office or are on vacation

Benefits of a Third-Party Registered Agent

A third-party registered agent service allows you to bypass the disadvantages of being your own registered agent. Not only are you complying with an essential state requirement, but you’ll also enjoy some key benefits.

Privacy Protection

When you work with a third-party agency like Swyft Filings, you receive process servers, officials, and sheriffs away from your employees and clients.

You maintain anonymity when your resident agent’s address is shown on your state’s public website instead of yours.

A third-party company like Swyft Filings is your point of contact with the legal authorities without you having to share your details on public records.

Schedule Flexibility

With a professional service provider, you can have flexible days off and working hours while the agent stays open during regular business hours. This is vital for businesses that are remote-first or need to keep odd working hours.

A third-party agent also allows you to attend important meetings or schedule appointments without worrying about crucial mail.

Lower Risk of Administrative Dissolution and Default Judgment

Most registered agents’ duties are easy to complete. But if an agent fails to do them, it can have severe consequences. They could even put the entire company at risk.

When a professional company takes care of your documents, their robust system makes the work efficient and productive with little to no chances of failure.

Easier Address Changes

A registered agent that moves to another state has to pay a state fee for changing addresses.

With a commercial service provider, you can share your new contact information with your agent and continue running your business worry-free.

Cross-State Expansion Opportunities

You can operate your business from Rhode Island and any other state with third-party registered agents. You can expand your company, open new offices, and hire employees from other states without worrying about finding new registered agents.

Swyft Filings works nationwide, making it easy for business owners to grow their businesses in other states without going through much hassle registered agent-wise.

Online Storage

Professional registered agent services scan documents as soon as they are ready, then upload digital copies online.

Companies like Swyft Filings scan your legal and other essential documents and upload them on a dashboard where you can easily access them 24/7.

Having all your files stored online makes it much simpler to run a business. The next time you want to open a business bank account, apply for a loan, or get a credit card, you’ll have easy access to all your essential documents.

More Time To Expand Your Business

Business owners need more time dedicated to growing their businesses as they imagined. Paperwork, filing documents, and attending meetings always get in the way.

When you hire a professional company to run your registered agent duties, you free up time you’d otherwise spend sitting in the office and managing files.

You can go on a business trip and meet new clients. You also don’t have to maintain regular business hours at the office.

A registered agent from a third-party company serves as your point of contact between legal entities and will take care of all necessary documentation on your behalf.

Sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse on Newport Rhode Island

How To Set up a Rhode Island Registered Agent

Now that you know the benefits of hiring a third-party Rhode Island registered agent, you may wonder how the process works.

New business owners of Rhode Island LLCs should start by electing their registered agent.

Electing a Rhode Island Registered Agent

Electing a Rhode Island registered agent is relatively simple. You do so while starting your LLC online or by mail.


You can form the LLC online on the Rhode Island Secretary of State website. There is a $150 filing fee for LLCs. The fee for corporations is $230.

  1. Fill out the LLC Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, the primary formation documents, when setting up your business with the Secretary of State.

  2. Insert the contact details of your registered agent for your new business in Article II of the document.

  3. File the document online.

By Mail

You can also send your LLC forms by mail:

  1. Download the Articles of Organization on your device. There is a $150 fee for LLCs and a $230 fee for corporations.

  2. Fill out the form.

  3. Section 2 of the document will ask you to provide detail about your registered agent. Enter the details.

  4. Send the physical copy by mail to the Rhode Island Secretary of State at the following address:

Division of Business Services

148 W. River Street, Providence,

Rhode Island 02904-2615[3]

Changing a Rhode Island Registered Agent

Business owners may want to change their Rhode Island registered agents for numerous reasons. Depending on your business type, you can fill out different forms available at the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website:

  • Business corporation - Form 640

  • Limited liability company (LLC) - Form 642

  • Professional service corporation - Form 640

  • Low-profit limited liability company - Form 642

  • Limited partnership - Form 643

  • Limited liability partnership - Partnership letter

As a Rhode Island LLC company business owner, you should file form 642.

All forms can be filled out online and come with state fees of $20 (except for nonprofits that only pay $10).

You can also download the forms on your computer, print them out, fill out, and file them by mail at the following address:

Division of Business Services

148 W. River Street

Providence, RI 02904-2615[4]

The process of changing a registered agent is usually fast and straightforward. When you have the help of a third-party, professional Rhode Island registered agent company, changing agents is a breeze.

Why Choose Swyft Filings as Your Rhode Island Registered Agent
  • 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.

Secure My Registered Agent


Who can be a Rhode Island registered agent?

According to the Rhode Island Corporation Act, a registered agent must be a Rhode Island resident, have a registered office, and accept legal documents during regular business hours.

You can hire an individual or a commercial company to perform the services for your Rhode Island LLC.

How much does a registered agent in Rhode Island cost?

The price for a registered agent in Rhode Island can vary depending on the type of service, with costs typically ranging from $50 to $350 per year. Swyft Filings professional registered agent services start $149/quarterly.

How can I change my registered agent in Rhode Island?

When you hire a third-party company to be a registered agent for your business, they will handle the process for you. You can also file the Statement of Change of Registered Office to the Rhode Island Secretary of State. Note that the process of changing your registered agent comes with filing fees.

How can I find a registered agent in Rhode Island?

The safest bet for finding registered agents and professional registered agent services in Rhode Island is to go through the databases provided by the state of Rhode Island on their public records. You can also find agent information and contact by reading online reviews, testimonies, or through word of mouth.

What is a Rhode Island registered office?

A Rhode Island registered office refers to the street address where the registered agent manages, receives, and sends official documents on behalf of their customers. PO Box services or shipping and postal addresses of a company aren’t allowed.

The registered agent can register their office at a commercial or residential address.

What’s the difference between a registered agent and a resident agent or statutory agent?

All three terms (registered agent, resident agent, and statutory agent) refer to the same service. Even though most states use “registered agent,” many places use the other two designations.

What is a registered agent service?

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.


  1. Rhode Island Secretary of State. “Maintain a Registered Agent.” Accessed January 9, 2023.

  2. Rhode Island Secretary of State. “Maintain a Registered Agent.” Accessed January 9, 2023.

  3. State of Rhode Island Department of State. “Instructions for Filing Articles of Organization for a Domestic Limited Liability Company.” Accessed January 9, 2023.

  4. Rhode Island Secretary of State. “Business Services.” Accessed January 9, 2023.

Originally published on May 11, 2023, and last edited on April 29, 2024.
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