Alabama Foreign Corporation

To complete foreign corporation registration in Alabama, you must first file a Name Reservation Request Form. Once your name reservation has been accepted and you’ve appointed an Alabama registered agent, you can submit a Foreign Corporation Application for Registration. The Secretary of State will issue you a Certificate of Authority after approving your application, which allows you to start conducting business in Alabama.

Taking care of the paperwork on your own? You’ll still be required to designate an Alabama registered agent. Hire us to serve as your local registered agent and then use our 3-step guide to foreign corporation registration in Alabama help you through filing your application.

How to Register a Foreign Corporation in Alabama

To legally to do business in another state, you must complete the foreign qualification process. In Alabama, foreign qualification for corporations involves three steps:

  1. Submit a Name Reservation Request Form
  2. Appoint an Alabama Registered Agent
  3. File an Alabama Foreign Corporation Application for Registration Form

Once you’ve completed all these, you’ll receive a Certificate of Authority from the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office and can start operating in Sweet Home Alabama.

1. Submit a Name Reservation Request Form

The first step is to reserve your business name in Alabama by filing a Name Reservation Request Form with the Secretary of State.

This form costs $25 to file (plus a small processing fee if you use a credit card).

To make sure your name is accepted the first time you file, follow Alabama naming requirements:

  1. Your name must be available. Names that are the same as or similar to a name that is already registered with the state will be rejected. You can search name availability using the Alabama Business Entity Search tool. Contact the Secretary of State’s Office if you’re unsure about whether or not your name is unique enough. Small differences in spelling or punctuation are often not enough to make your name distinguishable from another on the record.
  2. You must get permission to use certain words.If you want to include architect, engineer, insurance, bank, or trust in your business name, you’ll need to get a letter of approval from the governing agency of that industry. For instance, you need permission from the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers to “engineer.”
  3. Your name must include an entity identifier, like “Inc.” Your business name must contain the word “corporation” or “incorporated” or an abbreviation like “Corp” or “Inc.”

If your business name isn’t available in Alabama or doesn’t meet the state’s naming requirements, you’ll have to use a fictitious name. You can list this name on your name reservation form (you won’t need to file a separate fictitious name application).

You must provide the following information on your name reservation request form:

  • Entity type
  • Legal name of your corporation
  • Fictitious name (if applicable)
  • The name and address of your corporation (this information will go on the certificate you receive from the state after your application is approved)
  • The mailing address for your certificate
  • Signature of the requester
  • Credit card payment information (if applicable)

You can mail your form, along with check, money order, or credit card information, to:

Secretary of State
Business Services
PO Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103

Or, you can file online using Alabama Secretary of State Online Services.

2. Designate an Alabama Registered Agent

Every foreign corporation operating in Alabama needs to designate a registered agent with an office that is physically located in the state.

Your Alabama registered agent will accept legal documents like service of process on behalf of your business, helping to ensure that you never miss an important legal notice, even if you’re not in the state yourself.

This is an essential service because missing a legal notice or deadline could negatively impact your ability to operate in Alabama.

You can find someone you know in Alabama to serve as your registered agent or hire a registered agent service like us.

While individuals can be unreliable,we’ll never will. We’re dependable and convenient. We’ll always be available to receive your legal documents (and upload them immediately to your online account), and you’ll never have to wonder whether or not we’re doing our job.

Get INSTANT Alabama Registered Agent Service

3. File an Alabama Foreign Corporation for Registration Form

One convenient aspect of applying for foreign qualification in Alabama is that, unlike many other states, you won’t need to get a Certificate of Good Standing from your home jurisdiction. This’ll save you a little time and a little cash, too.

The last of step of getting your foreign corporation qualified is submitting an Alabama Foreign Corporation Application for Registration form with the Secretary of State.

Filling this form will cost you $150 (plus a small processing fee if you use a credit card).

You must provide the following information on your application:

  • Whether your business is a For-Profit or Non-Profit corporation
  • Legal name of your corporation in your home jurisdiction
  • Fictitious name your corporation will operate under in Alabama (if applicable)
  • An attached copy of your corporation’s name reservation certificate
  • The street address of your corporation’s principal office (no PO boxes)
  • Your corporation’s mailing address (if different from your street address)
  • The full name and address of the person or entity that prepared your form
  • Your corporation’s jurisdiction of formation
  • Date of your corporation’s formation
  • Name of your Alabama registered agent
  • You registered agent’s street address (no PO boxes)
  • Your registered agent’s mailing address (if different from the street address)
  • The date your corporation will begin transacting business in Alabama
  • Name and signature of the authorized person filing the application
  • Credit card payment information (if applicable)

This application also includes a page where you can indicate if your business is a small business or a minority- or woman-owned business. You are not required to provide this information.

By signing the form, you legally certify that your corporation is a valid business formed under the laws of your home state.

You can mail your application, along with check, money order, or credit card information, to:

Secretary of State
Business Services
PO Box 5616
Montgomery, AL 36103

Note: If you mail your application, you must include two copies of your complete form along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

You can also file online through Alabama Secretary of State Online Services.

Why Hire Us for Alabama Foreign Registration?

At Alabama Registered Agent LLC, Alabama business filings are our specialty, and our local experts know how to make sure your registration process is efficient and painless.

And, unlike some other filing services out there, we offer additional resources that can help make your expansion into Alabama even more successful, including web and phone services.

With our Alabama Business Presence package (FREE for 90 days), you can get a website and virtual phone line for your Alabama branch at minimal cost. Get registered, establish an online presence, and set up professional lines of communication for your business, all in one place!

The advantages of choosing us:

Alabama Foreign Corporation Registration FAQs

How much does foreign corporation qualification cost in Alabama?

Altogether, filing your Name Reservation Request Form ($25) and your Foreign Corporation Application for Registration form ($150) will cost $175, plus any credit card processing fees.

How long does it take to get a Certificate of Authority?

Filing online is quicker than filing by mail. Online application are processed as soon as they are received, so you’ll usually get your Certificate of Authority shortly after submitting your application. Mailed filings can take up to 2 weeks to be processed once received, and there will be a little extra waiting time while the Certificate is being mailed to you.

Do I need a Certificate of Good Standing from my home jurisdiction?

No. You won’t need to attach a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state to your foreign qualification application.

Will I need to file an annual report in Alabama?

Yes. Foreign corporations must file a Corporation Annual Report every year between January 1st and March 15th. Filing ensures that the information the state has on record about your corporation is up-to-date. The filing fee is $10.

How do I know if I need to register to do business in Alabama?

Alabama state statutes (Ala. Code §10A-1-7-.01) state that a foreign business must register to legally transact business in Alabama. While the statutes don’t define “transacting business,” there are some actions that are considered transacting business in many states:

  • Opening and operating an office, warehouse, or store
  • Hiring employees who work in that state
  • Taking a contract in that state

Some actions, such as opening a bank account or holding a meeting in another state, typically don’t qualify as transacting business. Consult a lawyer if you’re not sure that what you’re doing in Alabama constitutes transacting business.

Will I have to pay taxes in Alabama?

Yep. Any business operating in Alabama must pay the Alabama Business Privilege Tax. You’ll also be on the hook for any other taxes that apply to your business. For instance, if you run a chain of convenience stores that sells cigarettes, you’ll need to pay the State Tobacco Products Tax.

Register for taxes online with the Alabama Department of Revenue. Consult a CPA if you’re unsure about what taxes you need to pay.

Ready to start doing business in Alabama? Register your foreign corporation today. Get Started!