In the course of your business, you may need a copy of your limited liability company (LLC) certificate. You can order a certified copy of this and other documents from your state, usually online on your secretary of state’s website. Each state has its own process for obtaining a certified copy of your LLC certificate. The copy will be considered an original document because it is certified.
You can also obtain a copy of your LLC certificate by mailing in a request form, faxing the form, or going to the secretary of state’s office in person. You can get copies of other LLC documents as well, including your Articles of Organization, annual reports, or any other document that you file with the secretary of state.
Reasons You Might Need a Certified Copy
There are a variety of reasons that you may need a certified copy of your LLC certificate or other documents.
If you’re registering as a foreign LLC in another state, they will require that you provide copies of your LLC documents from your home state. The process to register as a foreign LLC varies from state to state. You can learn more about foreign LLCs in this Step By Step article.
Lenders and banks may require your LLC documents when you’re opening an account or applying for a loan. They simply want to verify your business entity and may follow up with a search of your LLC on the state website to verify it’s still active.
If you’re seeking investment for your company, investors will want the LLC documents as part of their due diligence. If you’re seeking investment from professional investors, you will have to change your business entity to a corporation before they invest because LLCs cannot issue shares of stock.
Certified Copy vs. Certificate of Good Standing
You can also obtain a Certificate of Good Standing for your LLC from your state. This will show that you’re up to date with all filings and fees and that the LLC has not been dissolved for any reason. You may need this document for banks, lenders, and investors as well.
A certified copy is a copy of a document that is already on file with the state. It verifies that the document is a true copy of the original and not a fake or altered copy.
Getting a certified copy of your LLC certificate and other documents such as your articles of organization is simple. Every state has its own process and fees, so just check with your secretary of state.
You’ll need certified copies if you’re registering as a foreign LLC in another state, applying for a loan, or opening a business bank account. Those entities simply want to verify that you are an actual business entity. You may also, at some point, need a Certificate of Good Standing for your LLC to show you’re up to date with filings and fees.
Learn more about how to start an LLC in this Step By Step article.