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Washington Registered Agent

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Your business must appoint a Washington 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 Spokane
  • 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
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Registered Agent in Washington—Duties, Requirements, and Appointment

You can’t register an organization with the Washington secretary of state without naming a registered agent. This goes for both new organizations and those expanding into the state, as Washington’s regulations mandate an agent for all filing entities.

When you appoint a registered agent in Washington, they become your main point of contact with the state, receiving legal and government notices on your behalf. In this guide, you’ll learn more about this duty, who can fulfill it, and how to appoint an agent. We’ll also introduce Harbor Compliance—a go-to registered agent of organizations in Washington and beyond.

Duties of Washington Registered Agents

A registered agent receives and forwards service of process in case your organization is involved in litigation. They might also receive government notices on your behalf, helping you meet your statutory obligations timely.

Your agent accepts such notices at the so-called registered office—a physical location in Washington that must be open during regular business hours. Your agent needs to ensure constant availability during this time, or they might miss crucial legal mail.

If your agent fails to receive or forward a lawsuit notice or a court summons, there’s a high chance you’ll miss the court hearing and won’t get a chance to tell your side of the story in a legal dispute. The most likely result will be default judgment—a ruling made in the plaintiff’s favor due to your absence.

To avoid such complications, you should find a reliable agent who diligently performs their duties.

Requirements for a Registered Agent in Washington

A registered agent can be an individual or organization besides yours that consents to take on the aforementioned responsibilities. Revised Code of Washington (RCW 23.95 Article 4) differentiates between two types of agents:

  1. Commercial registered agent—A person or organization that submits a Commercial Listing Statement to the Washington secretary of state, after which they’re added to the official list of commercial agents
  2. Noncommercial registered agent—An individual or organization that consents to serve as a registered agent without registering with the secretary of state

Commercial and noncommercial agents have the same responsibilities, so there’s not much practical difference between the two. A more important decision is whether you’ll choose an individual or another organization since the latter is typically far more reliable.

An individual might miss your notice for many reasons (travel, emergencies, etc.), while an organization can ensure someone’s always available at the registered office to receive process servers.

How To Appoint/Change a Washington Registered Agent

As per RCW 23.95.405, all domestic and registered foreign organizations must appoint a registered agent. Domestic organizations will do so in their formation filings, which depend on the business structure:

Foreign entities will appoint an agent in their foreign qualification documents, as doing so is necessary to obtain a certificate of authority and the right to operate in Washington.

In any case, the information you must provide depends on whether your agent is commercial or noncommercial, as explained in the following table:

Agent Type Required Information
  • Agent’s name
  • Agent’s name
  • Email
  • Phone (optional)
  • Street address
  • Mailing address (optional)

You only need a commercial agent’s name because the secretary of state already has their other details on record. Note that agents of both types must sign the Statement of Consent attached to the registration filings since the appointment isn’t valid without their signature.

If you wish to change your current registered agent, you must submit the Statement of Change/Designation of Registered Agent. There’s no filing fee, though you can pay the optional $50 to expedite the change. You can also change the agent in your Annual Report, if it’s not too early to file it (within 180 days from the expiration).

Washington Registered Agent Service by Harbor Compliance

If you need a trusted partner to meet Washington’s registered agent requirement, Harbor Compliance is here to help. We offer a tried-and-tested Registered Agent Service that checks all the necessary boxes, most notably:

  • Same-day electronic delivery of your notices
  • A local office in Spokane open during regular business hours
  • A phone call in case of a lawsuit to ensure you respond promptly
  • A secure Client Portal for accessing your notices and pre-filled state forms with our signatures wherever they’re necessary

Our rich service portfolio extends beyond the Registered Agent Service. Our additional offerings include the following:

Individual Registered Agents in Washington vs. Harbor Compliance

Each individual agent type comes with a caveat. If you appoint a third party (e.g., a friend or family member), they might miss your notice due to absence. Enlisting someone from your organization might resolve the availability issue to an extent, but it exposes you to the risk of receiving service of process in front of your team or clients.

Finally, you can appoint yourself as your registered agent, but this may be the least appealing option. Your personal information would become publicly available, and you’d be tied to the registered office five days a week during business hours. This option is also unavailable if you run a multistate organization, as you can’t be in multiple registered offices simultaneously.

Harbor Compliance, on the other hand, has local offices across the U.S., so you can appoint us in as many jurisdictions as needed. All your notices will be delivered to the centralized Client Portal so you can manage them regardless of your location.

Other benefits of appointing us include the following:

  • Complete privacy since our information will be given to the secretary of state
  • Strong data security through various industry-standard measures (data encryption, cloud monitoring, etc.)
  • Constant availability during business hours, which ensures your notices aren’t missed
  • Efficient and discreet delivery of legal correspondence through the Client Portal

How To Appoint Harbor Compliance as Your Registered Agent in Washington State

Partnering with Harbor Compliance is quick and easy whether you’re registering a new entity, expanding into Washington, or changing your existing agent. The following sections explain how to do it in each scenario.

Forming a New Organization

There are two ways to appoint Harbor Compliance if you’re registering a new legal entity. The first is to choose from our three comprehensive formation services tailored to different business structures:

  1. Incorporation
  2. Nonprofit formation
  3. LLC formation

When you sign up for the appropriate service, we’ll complete the entire registration process on your behalf and appoint Harbor Compliance as your registered agent.

The second option is to order our Registered Agent Service separately and follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for the service
  2. Find the address of our Spokane office and pre-filled registration forms in the Client Portal
  3. Fill out the forms and submit them to the Washington secretary of state

Expanding Into Washington

If your organization is formed in another state and you want to expand into Washington, our Foreign Qualification Service package can make the process quick and smooth.

Complete the signup wizard, and we’ll submit all the necessary filings to obtain your Washington certificate of authority. We’ll also appoint Harbor Compliance as your agent and provide the service at no extra cost for a year.

Changing Your Agent

Submitting the Statement of Change isn’t the only way to change your registered agent. We can take this task off your hands if you order the Registered Agent Service.

Before checking out, you’ll see the Change of Agent service option. Select it, complete the checkout, and we’ll update the secretary of state on the change.

Located in nearby Spokane, WA!

How to Appoint Us as Your Washington Registered Agent


Appoint us as your Washington 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 Washington. Sign up for Washington 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 Washington 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.

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Washington Registered Agent FAQs

Below, you’ll see some of the most commonly asked questions about Washington registered agents. For additional guidance, head to our robust Information Center.

A registered agent is a person or organization that accepts and forwards service of process and other official correspondence.

A registered agent can be a Washington resident or an organization besides yours (domestic or foreign organization registered with the secretary of state).

You can be your own registered agent, but you’d lose all flexibility because you’d have to be at the registered office at all times during working hours.

A list of commercial registered agents is available on the secretary of state’s website, where you can also search for legal entities to see their registered agents.

Respond to Official Correspondence Promptly With Harbor Compliance

Worrying about missed legal notices is the last thing you need when running an organization. Order our Registered Agent Service today, and we’ll eliminate such concerns to give you peace of mind.

We can also help you stay on top of your statutory obligations more effortlessly. To see if there are any uncovered issues worth addressing, get a free Harbor Compliance Score™. In case you notice any red flags, you can do the following:

For more information about registered agents in other states and territories we cover, refer to the following table:

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