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How to Get a Certificate of Existence in North Carolina

Written by:

Natalie is a business writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.

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 Get a Certificate of Existence in North Carolina

In North Carolina, potential creditors or investors might request a certificate of existence for your LLC, and you’ll need to provide one or risk losing crucial financing. Thankfully, this guide provides all the information you need to get this certificate in North Carolina. 

What is a Certificate of Existence for North Carolina? 

In North Carolina, a certificate of existence, known as a certificate of good standing in most other states, verifies that you’re a legally registered business entity that is up to date on all filings and fees and permitted to do business in North Carolina.

You do not have to obtain this certificate to do business in North Carolina, or in any state. It is simply used to verify your strong status to third parties such as banks.

view cityscape downtown north carolina

Why Do I Need a Certificate of Existence?

Your LLC only needs a certificate of existence if another party requests one. For instance, a bank might request one if you’re opening a bank account or applying for a loan. A credit firm might request one if you apply for a business credit card, or if you set up credit card processing for customer payments.

If you’re registering as a foreign LLC in another state, you will probably be asked for a certificate of existence. 

A foreign entity is simply a business entity doing business in a state other than the one in which it’s registered. For example, if your business is registered in North Carolina but you also do business in Georgia, you’ll need to register a foreign entity in Georgia.

Where to Get a Certificate of Existence in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, the Secretary of State issues certificates of existence. You can request a copy via phone by calling 919-814-5400 or online through your business services account. Note that you will need to create an online account if you don’t already have one. 

The cost is $10 plus $1 per page for online requests, after which you’ll be able to download your certificate immediately. Phone requests cost $15 plus $1 per page and you should receive your certificate within a week. 

Requirements for a Certificate of Existence

You must be registered as a business entity in that state. Operating as a sole proprietorship or a partnership does not require registration in North Carolina, so those entities are not able to obtain a certificate of good standing.

Corporations and LLCs, like your business, must be registered with the state, so they are able to obtain the certificate. 

How Much Does a North Carolina Certificate of Existence? 

Again, the fee to obtain a certificate of good standing in North Carolina is $10 for online requests or $15 for phone requests. But it’s well worth it because this is an official document that proves your business’ financial accountability and could open the door to greater investment and expansion. 


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How to Get a Certificate of Existence in North Carolina