Michigan Foreign Corporation

Michigan foreign corporations are corporations formed in another state or jurisdiction that want to transact business in Michigan. Registering a foreign corporation requires submitting paperwork to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). After being approved, you’ll get a Certificate of Authority to operate in Michigan.

Follow our D.I.Y. Guide below to register your LLC in Michigan on your own. Or, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of doing it yourself, you can hire us! We’ll take care of everything required to register your corporation in Michigan for just $149 plus state fees.

How to Register a Foreign Corporation in Michigan

Filing your Certificate of Authority can feel like an overwhelming task—that’s why many businesses choose to hire us. But we understand if you’d rather do things yourself.

Below are the four steps for registering your foreign corporation in Michigan.

1. Make Sure Your Business Name is Available

Do a name search on LARA to make sure that the name you want to do business under in Michigan is available. If not, you’ll need to choose a new name to operate under here.

How do I choose a new name for my corporation?

Michigan allows you to register an assumed name, what other states call a DBA name. You can do this by submitting a Certificate of Assumed Name to LARA. Getting an assumed name costs $25 for corporations.

2. Get a Registered Agent in Michigan

You’ll need a registered agent in Michigan. This person or entity must have a physical address in Michigan where someone will be during business hours to receive legal mail such as services of process. Because of the importance of this type of mail, you’ll want to make sure the person or entity you appoint is reliably available at the address provided.

Need a reliable option? We can be your registered agent for just $49/year!

3. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing

Obtain Certificate of Good Standing from your company’s home state. (Some states refer to this document as a Certificate of Existence, but it’s the same thing.) This must be dated within 30 days of incorporating in Michigan.

When we register your foreign corporation, we’ll get this document for you!

4. File the Application for Certificate of Authority

File the Application for Certificate of Authority to Transact Business or Conduct Affairs in Michigan with LARA. This document must include:

  • Name of corporation
  • Assumed name (if applicable)
  • Jurisdiction and date of formation (in your home state)
  • Duration of business in Michigan (if applicable—most people leave this blank)
  • Address of corporation (in your home state)
  • Name and address of registered agent, and mailing address (if different)
  • Type of business you will be conducting in Michigan
  • Total number of authorized shares
  • Authorized signature
  • Name and business phone number of the person who prepared this document

NOTE: If you’re registering on behalf of a trust, you’ll also have to note what powers the trust has that any individual or partnership does not.

This process costs a flat rate of $60 on its own and can take a couple weeks. Expedited processing is available from one business day ($50 extra) to one hour ($1,000 extra), but expedited service is optional.

How do I submit my Application for Certificate of Authority?

You can submit this form online, by mail, or in person.

Online: LARA Corporations Online Filing System

My Mail:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909

In Person:
2407 N Grand River Ave
Lansing, MI 48906

Michigan Foreign Corporation Services

Whether you’re looking for a service to register your foreign corporation in Michigan or just need a local registered agent, we have you covered.

Our Registered Agent Service

Your out-of-state corporation will legally require a Michigan registered agent. Hiring us is an affordable and easy way to get all of your Michigan needs met at once! We’ll accept your state and legal notifications and upload them to your online account the same day.

Inside that online account, you’ll find a library of handy state forms, including the Certificate of Authority application. As an added bonus, we’ve included some tips on how to submit your paperwork with the state.

Foreign Registration Service

The easiest option is to hire us to form your foreign corporation for you! For $149 plus state filing fees, we’ll prepare and file your forms with LARA. This includes tracking down all the forms needed from your business’s home state, like a Certificate of Good Standing.

After we’ve filed your registration papers with the state and the state approves your application, we’ll receive your official Certificate of Authority to Transact Business. This certificate will immediately be uploaded to your online account, as well as emailed to you directly, and the original documents will be mailed to you for your records.

What You Get:

  • INSTANT 365 days of Michigan Registered Agent Service
  • INSTANT online account and document delivery system
  • Michigan Foreign Corporation application paperwork completed and submitted to the state
  • Address privacy with the use of our registered agent office address
  • Real-time annual report reminders
  • LIFETIME client support
  • Transparent, affordable pricing
  • Access to additional business services

Where Your Money Goes:

Service Fee
Michigan State Filing Fee $60 / $110 (expedited)
Our Service Fee $100
One Year Registered Agent Service $49
Certificate of Good Standing (varies)
TOTAL $209 / $259 (expedited)

Unlike most companies, we’ll never add surprise hidden fees to your bill.

Michigan Foreign Corporation FAQ

Do I have to register as a Foreign Corporation in Michigan?

If your company transacts business in Michigan, you might have to. Getting authorization to operate as a Michigan Foreign Corporation before you begin doing business here is required in most cases, otherwise you may face penalties (MCL 450.5007). Registering your foreign LLC can help you:

  • Safeguard your legal rights. If you conduct business in Michigan without authorization, your business could still be sued—but you won’t be able to sue others within the state.
  • Shield your finances. If you operate in Michigan without state authorization, your company can be fined up to $10,000.

What is considered “transacting business” in Michigan?

Like many states, Michigan state law does not define what “transacting business” means exactly. However, “transacting business” is commonly understood to mean that your LLC has some type of economic presence in Michigan:

  1. Physical. You have a warehouse, office, or store that your LLC uses to conduct or support its operations in the state.
  2. Employee. You have workers or sales representatives in the state.
  3. Economic. You accept online orders from Michigan customers. According to a notice released by the Michigan Department of Treasury, online retailers with sales exceeding $100,000 or 200 transactions within Michigan borders are considered to have an “economic presence” in the state.

What is not considered “transacting business” in Michigan?

Curious what the state statute says? Under Michigan state law (MCL 450.5008), the following activities do NOT, on their own, constitute transacting business in Michigan:

  • Owning real estate or property without doing more.
  • Holding member meetings.
  • Having bank accounts.
  • Having offices or agencies dedicated to managing your LLC’s own securities.
  • Creating or acquiring debts or security interests in real or personal property.
  • Securing or collecting debts.
  • Selling through independent contractors.
  • Conducting interstate commerce.
  • Taking part in an isolated transaction completed within 30 days.
  • Soliciting or obtaining orders that require acceptance outside of the state before the orders can become contracts.
  • Maintaining, settling, or defending lawsuits.

Still have questions? Feel free to call us at (248) 247-2033. We’re happy to help!