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How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on June 26, 2022

Updated on November 17, 2022

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington

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How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington

In Washington, 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 Washington. 

What is a Certificate of Existence for Washington? 

In Washington, 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 Washington, or in any state. It is simply used to verify your strong status to third parties such as banks.

skyview buildings in washington downtown

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 Washington 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 Washington?

In Washington, the Secretary of State issues certificates of existence. You can access and download a copy through the online portal website

NOTE: you will need to create an online account if you don’t already have one. You can also contact the Corporations and Charities Division and request a copy via phone, mail, or in-person. The cost is $20 and you should receive your certificate 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 Washington, 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 Washington Certificate of Existence Cost?

Again, the fee to obtain a certificate of existence in Washington 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.