Easy Ordering:
Get a 5-10% discount for 2+ years.
Our Service Fee $99.00
Discount -$0.00
Total $99.00

California Registered Agent (Agent for Service of Process)

- Rated 4.4/5 by 104 clients on Google

Your business must appoint a California registered agent to receive documents in legal matters, including notice of lawsuit. Our reliable registered agent service fulfills this requirement. You get:

  • Same-day documents from our local office in Sacramento
  • Immediate online access to state forms with our address and, where required, our signature
  • Annual fees from $89Multi-Year Discount to $99 per state with no additional charges
A preview of our Registered Agent software
Registered Agent Education
What Is a Registered Agent?Can I Serve as My Own Agent?Service of ProcessOur AddressesNational Registered Agent ServiceCommercial vs. Noncommercial Registered AgentsChanging Your AgentThe "Free Agent" LieBest Registered Agent ServiceWhat Is a Registered Agent for LLCCan I Be My Own Registered AgentChanging a Registered AgentRegistered Agent AddressRegistered Agent CostsHow to Find a Registered Agent For an LLCRegistered Agent for Service of ProcessThe Secretary of State Registered AgentRegistered Agent vs. OrganizerDoes a Registered Agent Have To Live in the State
State Information
Local Names
USA Registered AgentResident AgentStatutory AgentLLC Registered AgentNonprofit Registered Agent
Special Agency
Charitable Registered AgentBOC-3 Process AgentD.C. FCC Appointment

California Registered Agents—All You Need To Know

California registered agents—also referred to as agents for service of process—are obligatory for all filing entities in the state. An agent acts as your liaison with the secretary of state, accepting legal and government documents on your behalf.

There are several considerations to make before appointing a registered agent, and this guide will cover them alongside the appointment process itself. You’ll also learn about Harbor Compliance as one of the most reputable registered agent service providers in the state and beyond.

California Registered Agent—Responsibilities and Obligations

Your registered agent is tasked with receiving and forwarding service of process in case your organization is involved in a lawsuit. They also accept government notices, helping you stay on top of your obligations.

To fulfill their duties, your agent must have a physical address in California, which serves as your registered office. They can’t use a P.O. box or a mail forwarding service because a legal process must be delivered in person.

This means an agent must be available at the registered office during work hours. Otherwise, the process server can’t hand over the notice notifying you of a legal proceeding involving your organization, and you might miss a court hearing.

Failure to appear in court can result in default judgment—a ruling typically made in the plaintiff’s favor. This can further complicate legal matters and disrupt your operations, so make sure to find an agent who can accept and forward your notices timely.

California Registered Agent Requirements

You can choose between two options when appointing a registered agent:

  1. An individual
  2. A corporate registered agent

If you choose an individual, you can appoint a friend, family member, employee, or even yourself. If you go for a corporate agent, it must be a corporation that has previously submitted Form 1505 (Registered Corporate Agent for Service of Process Certificate) to the secretary of state.

As per Section 1505 of the California Code, the certificate needs to include three elements:

  1. The corporation’s street address
  2. Names of all employees authorized to receive service of process
  3. Consent to serve as a registered agent

Your legal entity cannot serve as its own registered agent, so it must be another corporation. Corporate agents are sometimes referred to as commercial agents in other states, and they specialize in providing registered agent services to legal entities of different types.

Besides being registered with the secretary of state, corporate agents have a significant advantage over individuals because they typically offer better availability. While an individual might be absent for numerous personal and professional reasons, corporate agents ensure someone can always receive your notice at the registered office.

The Process of Appointing/Changing a California Registered Agent

If you’re registering an organization in California for the first time, you’ll appoint a registered agent in your Articles of Incorporation (for profit or nonprofit corporations) or Articles of Organization (for LLCs). If you’re expanding your organization from another state, you’ll enlist the agent in your foreign qualification filings.

Either way, your filings will contain a section dedicated to service of process, where you’ll need to provide information on your agent. The specific information varies depending on whether you appoint an individual or corporate agent, as shown in the following table:

Agent Type Information Required
  • Full name and suffix
  • Street address
  • City and ZIP code
  • The corporation’s name

Appointing a corporate agent is easier because all their information is already known to the secretary of state, which is why you only need their name.

Whether you’re forming or foreign qualifying your organization, the corresponding filings will contain a section where you need to enter the agent’s name and address. The documents will also include the Consent to Appointment by Registered Agent form, which confirms the agent has agreed to provide the aforementioned services.

To change your existing agent, you need to submit the Statement of Information form, which depends on your business structure and can be found online. The statement can be submitted in paper form or online through the secretary of state’s Bizfile Online portal.

California Registered Agent Services by Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance is a reliable Registered Agent Service provider that offers everything you need to stay on top of legal correspondence, most notably:

  • Same-day electronic delivery of time-sensitive documents—We receive your notice at our local office in Sacramento, after which we process and send it immediately.
  • Additional precautions in case of a lawsuit—If someone takes legal action against you, we’ll contact the person associated with the account via phone to ensure the notice isn’t missed.
  • A secure Client Portal—You’ll get an email with a link to the Client Portal, from which you can download the notice and access pre-filled state forms.

The Registered Agent Service is only a part of our extensive portfolio. We can help with numerous tasks throughout your organization’s lifecycle, such as the following:

We also offer comprehensive business licensing support, which includes general business licenses alongside industry-specific ones for engineering, construction, security, and other sectors.

We can also take over the entire process of beneficial ownership information reporting, including sending the initial report and any updates or corrections on your behalf. With our periodic notifications, you will stay on top of the reporting requirements set by the Corporate Transparency Act.

If you’re forming a nonprofit, we can take over the charitable registration and incorporation process to help you start raising funds as quickly as possible. We can also secure your 501(c) tax exemption and provide various additional tax-related services, most notably:

For streamlined correspondence with the secretary of state, we offer Drop-Off Filing as well as retrieval of certified copies and important documents (certificate of good standing or authority, articles of reinstatement, etc.).

Individual California Registered Agents vs. Harbor Compliance

You have several options if you wish to appoint an individual agent, but none of them is particularly appealing due to major drawbacks:

  • Appointing a third party exposes you to the aforementioned risk of missed notices.
  • Enlisting someone from your organization means you might receive service of process in front of coworkers or clients.
  • Appointing yourself limits your flexibility because you’d need to be at the registered office at all times during business hours. On top of that, your privacy would be disrupted because your name and address would enter the public record.

Partnering with Harbor Compliance lets you avoid these issues and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Privacy and discretion—Our details are given to the secretary of state instead of yours, and all notices are delivered discreetly through the Client Portal.
  • Flexibility—We have local offices in all U.S. states, so you can appoint us in multiple jurisdictions as your organization grows and manage your notices online wherever you are.
  • Availability—Our Sacramento office is always open during work hours, so our team can receive notices at any point.
  • Security—Harbor Compliance implements numerous industry-standard security measures to keep your data safe, and all our employees sign confidentiality agreements before joining the team.

How To Appoint Harbor Compliance as Your Registered Agent in California

The process of partnering with us depends on whether you are:

  1. Registering a new legal entity
  2. Expanding into California
  3. Changing your existing registered agent

Forming a New Legal Entity

If you plan on getting started in California but don’t wish to go through the entire registration process alone, we’re here to help with the following three services:

  1. Incorporation
  2. Nonprofit formation
  3. LLC formation

Choose the service according to your business structure, and we will gather the necessary documentation and submit it to the secretary of state. As a part of the process, we’ll appoint Harbor Compliance as your registered agent.

You can also take a more involved approach to registration and order the Registered Agent Service separately. In this case, you can appoint us by taking these steps:

  1. Sign up for the service
  2. Find our details in the Client Portal
  3. Fill out and submit your registration filings

Expanding Your Organization

Our Foreign Qualification Service package helps you meet all the requirements for obtaining a California certificate of authority. You can avoid regulatory setbacks and expand your organization effortlessly—all you need to do is complete this wizard.

Once you do, we’ll submit all the relevant documents on your behalf and appoint ourselves as your agent. You’ll get the Registered Agent Service at no additional cost for a year if you choose the package.

Changing Your Agent

You can sign up for the Registered Agent Service even if you already have an agent, and we can complete the change on your behalf upon request.

Before checking out, you’ll see the Change of Agent add-on option. Select it, and we’ll submit the change forms and appoint Harbor Compliance as your new agent.

Located in nearby Sacramento, CA!

How to Appoint Us as Your California Registered Agent


Appoint us as your California registered agent when you incorporate your business or form your LLC. Sign up for registered agent service and file using the state forms and instructions in your Client Portal. The forms are pre-filled and signed as required by the state.

Foreign Qualification

Appoint us as your agent when you apply for a certificate of authority to transact business in California. Sign up for California registered agent service and file using the forms and instructions in your Client Portal. The forms are pre-filled and signed as required by the state.

Change Agent

Changing your registered agent to us is easy. Sign up for California registered agent service and file using the forms and instructions in your Client Portal. The forms are pre-filled and signed as required by the state.

Book of Business

Harbor Compliance is a provider of nationwide registered agent service. We can help you consolidate your agent representation and achieve cost savings. Our specialists manage the process to change registered agents so that virtually no work is required on your part. We will complete the state filings to appoint us as your registered agent. Additionally, we can extend your subscription term so that you avoid double payment for any portion of your current contract. There’s no reason to wait. Simply contact us for consolidation and we’ll take care of the rest. If you have registered agent appointments spanning multiple states or entities, contact us today.

A preview of our custom software

California Registered Agent FAQs

Below, you’ll see some of the most common questions regarding California registered agents. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, browse our Information Center.

All filing entities are legally required to appoint a registered agent in California before they can operate in the state.

A registered agent can be an individual or corporation that has registered with the secretary of state to provide the associated services.

You can appoint yourself as a registered agent, but your name and address would be publicly available, and you’d need to stay at the registered office during business hours.

You can perform an online business search on the Bizfile Online website to look for businesses and their registered agents.

Let Harbor Compliance Be Your California Registered Agent Service Provider

If you want your notices processed by experts and delivered timely, order our Registered Agent Service today. You can outsource a vital responsibility and free up more time and energy for high-value tasks.

To meet all your statutory obligations and avoid issues like lapsed licenses and missed filing deadlines, you can take three additional steps:

If you want to learn more about a registered agent service in other U.S. states and territories, refer to the following table:

Order California Registered Agent Service

Easy Ordering: