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How to File Articles of Organization in California

Written by:

Coralee is a business writer with experience in administrative services, education, and software testing.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to File Articles of Organization in California

In California, as in most states, the primary step in creating a limited liability company (LLC) is to file articles of organization with the state. This is an absolutely crucial document that helps define your business, so it’s important to do it correctly.

An LLC is a business entity that offers liability protection for owners, as well as pass-through taxation, much like a sole proprietorship. 

What are Articles of Organization?

The articles of organization is a legal document you need to file with California to form your LLC. It will specify details about your company and establish your LLC as an officially registered business entity in California. 

The document is similar to the articles of incorporation you would file to form a corporation instead of an LLC. 

downtown view of california at sunset background concept

How to File the California Articles of Organization

In California, the process to file articles of organization is quite simple. The crucial first step is gathering the required information about your new LLC, before proceeding with the filing itself. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to create your new business entity: 

  1. Gather the required information about your business. 
  • Name of your business
  • Both street and mailing addresses of your office 
  • Your registered agent’s information; this section can be either:
    • the individual agent’s name and address
    • the corporate agent’s name
  • Your LLC’s management structure
  1. Visit California’s Secretary of State website 

Find California’s articles of organization form here. It’s easiest to fill out the form online and file immediately, but you can also download it, fill it out and mail it in. 

Articles of Organization in California online form
  1. Filling out Articles of Organization Document

Articles of organization filed online have precedence over forms submitted through the mail, so filing online is your most efficient option. First, you’ll need to create a new account through California’s bizfile portal. If prompted, log into the portal again, and click on the forms tab. Select the option for an LLC’s articles of organization. 

You can now move through the online form and fill in your information. Here’s what you can expect when filing online:

First, read and agree to California’s Secretary of State’s privacy warning and terms of use. Next, you’ll have the option of supplying personal contact information to stay informed about the filing process. 

You’ll then be asked if your business’s name has already been reserved. If your LLC’s name hasn’t been secured, provide the name on the form. Next, specify your business’s physical and mailing address. You’ll then identify your registered agent and provide the associated information. 

The following step asks you to define your business’s management structure and the effective date for your articles of organization. At this time, you’ll have the option to upload any supplementary documents before being prompted to carefully review and then electronically sign your form. 

California Articles of Organization electronic signature

When filling out your articles of organization form, be sure to double-check that all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Maybe you’ve just moved, or use your middle initial in official documents, such as with your bank account. If you get it wrong now, changing it later can be a real pain. So accuracy is crucial. 

  • File Articles of Organization –

Filing an LLC’s articles of organization in California costs $70. But before proceeding to payment, you’ll have the option to purchase additional services. You can request a certified copy of your articles of organization for $5. You’ll also have the opportunity to expedite the processing of your form for an extra $350 or $750.  

Then, click the button to file online.  

After paying, your LLC’s article of organization will automatically be filed with California’s secretary of state. You can log in to your bizfile account to monitor the status of your submitted form, but expect it to take around five business days.  

California Secretary of State Contact Info

California’s Secretary of State Website

California Secretary of State
Business Programs Division
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Hours: Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM


General inquiries can be submitted through California’s form here.

The Bottom Line

In California, it’s relatively easy to create an LLC, but you do need to jump through a few hoops. You now have all the information you need to officially create your new business and begin your entrepreneurial journey in The Golden State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need an attorney to file Articles of organization in California?

You do not need an attorney to file articles of organization in California. You can easily file online yourself, or use a business formation service. ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service will enable you to form your LLC in just a few minutes.

How do I amend my LLC Articles of organization?

For the fastest processing results, you can file a certificate of amendment through your online account for $30.

How do I get a copy of my Articles of organization in California?

You can request copies of your filed articles of organization through your online account. Certified copies will cost $5, but uncertified copies are free!


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How to File Articles of Organization in California