Back to Certificate of Good Standing Guides

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Tennessee

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on June 25, 2022

Updated on November 17, 2022

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Tennessee

Disclaimer: Step by Step Business’ content is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. All of our articles are thoroughly reviewed and fact-checked by our editorial team. Read our editorial guidelines for more details.

Some of our articles include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Tennessee

In Tennessee, 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 Tennessee. 

What is a Certificate of Existence for Tennessee? 

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

street view of tennessee at dawn background concept
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the Secretary of State issues certificates of existence. Just go to their website to fill out the required form. Note that you’ll need your Secretary of State Control Number to look up your business. The cost for the certificate of existence is $20 and requests are typically processed within two business days. 

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 Tennessee, so those entities are not able to obtain a certificate of existence. 

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

How Much Does a Tennessee Certificate of Existence Cost?

Again, the fee to obtain a certificate of existence in Tennessee is $20. 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.