Michigan Foreign LLC Registration

If you own an LLC in another state and want to expand into Michigan, you’ll need to register as a Michigan Foreign LLC. This requires authorization from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). It isn’t difficult for most companies to receive this authorization, but it’s an important process you won’t want to neglect. Transacting business in the state without prior approval can result in costly civil penalties and legal complications.

Follow our detailed guide below to complete this filing yourself. Or, if you want everything done quickly and easily, hire us! For just $149 + state fees, our team of experts in Okemos, MI will provide registered agent service and take care of everything you need to get your LLC legally registered in Michigan.

Guide: Registering a Foreign LLC in Michigan

There are three basic steps to registering as a foreign LLC in Michigan:

  1. Designate a Michigan Registered Agent
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing
  3. Submit an Authorization Application

1. Designate a Michigan Registered Agent

You’ll need to secure a Michigan Registered Agent before you can apply for foreign registry. (Michigan refers to registered agents as “resident” agents, but they’re the same thing.) Your registered agent must be physically present in Michigan, and be available during normal business hours to accept service of process on behalf of your LLC.

You can ask a friend or family member to can act as your registered agent—you can even be your own. However, whoever you designate must be physically present at their “registered address” in Michigan from 9am to 5pm, and be willing to list that address publicly. It’s a tough ask for most. For this reason, many companies choose to go with a registered agent service, like ours.

2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing is a document that shows that your business is all caught up with payments and filings in your state. (Some states call it a Certificate of Existence.) You can get this document from the office where you originally filed formation papers for your LLC (typically a secretary of state office). Fees are typically $10-$25, but some states charge more.

Don’t want to go through the hassle of obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing? We’ll get it for you when you hire us to register your Michigan Foreign LLC!

3. Submit an Authorization Application

Once you obtain your Certificate of Good Standing, you’re ready to submit Michigan’s Application for Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in Michigan. Here’s what you’ll need to include:

  • Name of your LLC
  • Assumed name (if applicable)
  • Jurisdiction and date of formation (in your home state)
  • Duration of LLC in MI (if applicable—most people leave this blank)
  • Address of your LLC (in your home state)
  • Name and street address of registered agent (and mailing address, if different)
  • Name and address of someone at your company who can receive service of process*
  • Type of business you intend to conduct in Michigan
  • Authorized signature, with name and business phone number

*In case your registered agent resigns, or their authority has been revoked, the state of Michigan will step in to perform registered agent duties.

Your application must be accompanied by your Certificate of Good Standing, as well as the $50 state fee.

What if my LLC name is already taken in Michigan?

It’s a good idea to check the state’s Business Entity Search before submitting your Application for Authority. If the name of your LLC is already being used by a business entity registered with the Michigan Corporations Division, you’ll have to use an assumed name (this is what Michigan calls a DBA).

You can get an assumed name by submitting a Certificate of Assumed Name to the Corporations Division, along with the state’s $25 filing fee. (See below for filing options.)

How do I submit this application?

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

Our Foreign LLC Registration Service

As easier option than doing everything yourself is to have us do it all for you! We’ll obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state and file your Application for Authority in Michigan.

How It Works:

  1. Order our Michigan Registered Agent Service
  2. We obtain your certificate of good standing and submit your registration application
  3. The state certifies your Michigan foreign LLC to conduct business in the state
  4. We deliver your customized foreign LLC documents to your secure online account
  5. We provide you with Michigan Registered Agent Service for one year
  6. At the end of the year, we send you a renewal for Michigan Registered Agent Service

What You Get:

  • INSTANT 365 days of Michigan Registered Agent Service
  • INSTANT online account and document delivery system
  • Michigan Foreign LLC 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 $50 / $100 (expedited)
Our Service Fee $100
One Year Registered Agent Service $49
Certificate of Good Standing (varies)
TOTAL $199 / $249 (expedited)

We never add surprise hidden fees to your bill. So you’ll only ever have to pay for what you originally ordered.

Michigan Foreign LLC FAQs

Why should I register my foreign LLC in Michigan?

Getting authorization to operate as a Michigan foreign LLC before you begin transacting business in the state is vital if you do not want to face any of the negative consequences described by the Michigan state legislature (MCL 450.5007). In particular, registering your foreign LLC can help you:

  • Safeguard your legal rights. Your legal options are limited if you conduct business in the state without Michigan foreign LLC authorization. For example, a non-authorized foreign LLC can be sued but cannot sue others within the state.
  • Shield your finances. If you do not register your Michigan foreign LLC, your company can be fined up to $10,000, and each member of your LLC involved in business transactions in Michigan can be individually fined up to $10,000. Members are personally liable for their individual fines.

What is considered “transacting business” in Michigan?

Like many states, Michigan state law does not define “transacting business” for Michigan foreign LLCs. However, we can provide you with guidance based on what is generally considered doing business in most states and what Michigan defines as NOT transacting business.

“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?

Under Michigan state law (MCL 450.5008), the following 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.

If you have any questions, please call us at (248) 247-2033 or send us a message. We are ready to help!