What is a Certificate of Good Standing?

Learn about a business Certificate of Good Standing, why it is needed, and how to apply for one. Includes frequently asked questions about S Corporations.

Updated on March 31st, 2020

The SMB Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

A Certificate of Good Standing, also known as a Certificate of Existence, is a business document issued by the Secretary of State. This document indicates that a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation exists and is duly formed under state law. The document also indicates that a corporation or LLC is compliant with all state laws, that all annual taxes have been paid, and that the company is authorized to do business.

A Certificate of Good Standing should contain your company's legal name and the date of qualification or incorporation. Once issued by the Secretary of State, it will certify that your company is authorized to do business in the state and that no Application for Withdrawal or Articles of Dissolution have been filed.

Why you would need a Certificate of Good Standing?

Your company will need a Certificate of Good Standing if:

  • You want to open a business bank account as some financial institutions require this document.
  • You want to apply for a business loan.
  • Your business is expanding and you want to conduct business in a different state.
  • You are renewing your business licence.
  • You are selling your business. A Certificate of Good Standing is one of the documents you will need to present to the buyer.
  • You are looking for business investment as most investors or potential partners require a Certificate of Good Standing before they will invest in a company.
  • The company must be a LLC or corporation registered in the United States of America.
  • The company and the owner is compliant with all state laws.
  • The company has paid all annual fees and submitted the required business reports with the home state.
  • The company is not suspended by the state.

Where can you get a Certificate of Good Standing?

A Certificate of Good Standing can be obtained from the offices of the Secretary of State. In some states, it can be obtained from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. For the majority of states, the application process can be done online.

Once your documents have been submitted and your application is approved, the certificate will be emailed to you or you will be sent a link to print the document online. The process usually takes 7-14 business days. Hard copies can be requested for an additional fee. An example of a Certificate of Good Standing request form can be found here.

What will it cost?

Depending on where you business is located, the cost to process a Certificate of Good Standing ranges between $10.00 and $45.00 for online applications. Payments can be made by credit card or bank transfer. Hard copies can be posted to your business address for an additional fee of around $50.00.

What will you need?

  • Your business name, address, contact details, and date of incorporation.
  • Company Entity Number or ID number issued by the state at the time the company was registered.
  • Federal Employee Identification Number.
  • Social Security number.

FAQs:

What is the difference between a Standing Certificate and a Certificate of Good Standing?

They are the same thing. A Certificate of Good Standing is also known as Certificate of Existence, a Standing Certificate, a Certificate of Authorization, and a Certificate of Status, depending on the state you are in.

When would you need a Certificate of Good Standing?

When you want to:

  • Do business in another state.
  • Open a business bank account.
  • Apply for a loan.
  • Sell your business.
  • Renew your business licence.

How much does it cost to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?

In most states, online applications cost under $50. Hard copies can be requested for an additional fee.

How long does it take to get a Certificate of Good Standing?

Once your application has been approved, it takes between 7 and 14 days to process your certificate.

Can an external company apply on your behalf?

Yes, there are many companies that will process your application for you for a fee of around $150.00 to $200.00. You simply need to provide them with your business and personal details.

How long is a Certificate of Good Standing valid for?

A Certificate of Good Standing is usually valid for 30-60 days, depending on the state your business is registered in.

Can I get extra copies of my certificate?

Yes, additional printed copies can be requested at the time of application.