Washington D.C. Certificate of Authority


What is a Washington D.C. certificate of authority?

Companies are required to register with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs before doing business in the District of Columbia. Businesses that are incorporated in another state will typically apply for a DC certificate of authority. Doing so registers the business as a foreign entity and eliminates the need to incorporate a new entity.

Operating without a certificate of authority may result in penalties or fines. In addition to the state’s requirements, licensing agencies, banks, and vendors will often request a certificate of authority.

When do I need a certificate of authority?

The most common reasons for applying for a certificate of authority include:

  • Opening an office or physical location within the foreign state
  • Hiring an employee who resides within the state
  • Before beginning a contract or a job in a new state
  • A vendor or bank’s requirements
  • Licensing authority requirements

How do I get a Washington D.C. certificate of authority?

To obtain your Washington D.C. Certificate of Authority, you will submit an Application for Certificate of Authority, along with required certificates or certified copies from your home state. You will need to appoint a registered agent in order for your filing to be approved. Be sure to follow the state’s instructions carefully, as they can reject a document for the smallest error.

For Foreign Corporations:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Foreign Registration Statement FN-1

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Penalties:

Corporations that do business in the District prior to foreign qualification may be subject to penalties of $400 for each biennial period prior to foreign qualification.

Certified Copy Requirement:

Certified copies not required.

Certificate of Good Standing Requirement:

Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Limited Liability Companies:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Foreign Registration Statement FN-1

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Certified Copy Requirement:

Certified copies not required.

Certificate of Good Standing Requirement:

Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Nonprofit Corporations:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Foreign Registration Statement FN-1

Agency Fee:

$80

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Penalties:

Nonprofits that do business in the District prior to foreign qualification may be subject to penalties of $130 for each biennial period prior to foreign qualification.

Certified Copy Requirement:

Certified copies not required.

Certificate of Good Standing Requirement:

Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Professional Corporations:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Foreign Registration Statement FN-1

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Certified Copy Requirement:

Certified copies not required.

Certificate of Good Standing Requirement:

Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Limited Partnerships:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Foreign Registration Statement FN-1

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Certified Copy Requirement:

Certified copies not required.

Certificate of Good Standing Requirement:

Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Limited Partnerships:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Transfer of Foreign Registration FN-5

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Limited Liability Partnerships:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Foreign Registration Statement FN-1

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Certified Copy Requirement:

Certified copies not required.

Certificate of Good Standing Requirement:

Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

Fact Checked:1/28/19

For Foreign Limited Liability Partnerships:

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

Transfer of Foreign Registration FN-5

Agency Fee:

$220

Law:

DC Code § 29-105.02

Fact Checked:1/28/19

What do I need from my home state?

In order to obtain a Washington D.C. Certificate of Authority, you must also submit:

  • Limited Liability Company: Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.
  • Corporation: Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.
  • Nonprofit Corporation: Certificate of existence dated within 90 days.

What is a registered agent?

A registered agent receives service of process and government notices on behalf of your business. When you prepare your Washington D.C. Certificate of Authority application, you must list a registered agent with a physical address within the state (P.O. Boxes are not allowed).

Many businesses do not have an individual or physical address in a new state. Listing our local registered agent address on your certificate of authority application meets the state’s requirements. Additionally, you get same day document scanning from our local office in all 50 states and DC. Our registered agent service is a flat rate of $99 per year, and you can easily add our service to any certificate of authority order.


What is the contact information for the state?

District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Phone: 202-442-4400 or 202-123-4567 (TTY)
Fax: 202-442-9445
https://dcra.dc.gov/page/corporation-services-0
Email: dcra@dc.gov

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