Illinois Foreign Qualification

Illinois has long had a strong economy, and for many businesses operating nearby it makes sense to eventually begin operating in the state. But in order to legally do so you must take steps to foreign qualify. Doing so protects you and keeps your business compliant when you start doing business in Illinois.

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Why Does A Company Need Foreign Qualification?

Why You Need To Do It – Any LLC or corporation will have to foreign qualify in order to legally do any kind of business in Illinois. This includes everything from opening a warehouse or storefront to just having an associate handling sales within the state.

When Should You Do It? – The sooner your business registers to foreign qualify, the sooner it can start doing business in Illinois. Additionally, procrastinating can lead to potential deals that may disrupt your initial business plan. Generally, you will need Illinois foreign qualification if your company falls under any of the following criteria:

  • Has a physical presence in Illinois
  • Buying a property there
  • Have remote employees
  • Accepts orders in Illinois
  • Owns a bank account in Illinois

What Happens If Your Entity Does Not Foreign Qualify?

If you fail to foreign qualify your business, you will be unable to bring forth any kind of civil lawsuits within the state. You’ll also potentially face fees, fines, and penalties as well as back taxes and tax related penalties.

Steps To Obtain Foreign Qualification

There are a few basic steps that must be taken by a business in order to successfully register for Illinois foreign qualification. These include the following.

1. Obtain Certificates – Start by obtaining the Application for Admission to Transact Business in Illinois for LLCs. Corporations will need the Application for Authority. These forms are available at the Secretary of State website for businesses to download and complete. Additionally, LLCs need to acquire a Certificate of Good Standing or Existence from the home state while corporations must get a certified copy of the Articles of Incorporation with all the amendments and mergers.

2. Collect And Submit Information – You’ll have to provide a lot of basic information when you register.


  • LLC name registered in the home state
  • The assumed name, if original name is unavailable
  • Name of the home state
  • The original date of organization
  • The duration of the LLC, which should be perpetual unless the operating agreement states a dissolution date
  • The principal office street address
  • Registered agent information
  • The date the LLC will start conducting business in Illinois
  • Purpose of the LLC and the nature of its business in Illinois
  • The management structure
  • The members and managers’ names and street addresses
  • An authorized signature


  • Name of Corporation
  • An assumed corporate name if the original name is unavailable
  • Name of the home state
  • The original date of incorporation
  • The period of duration of the company
  • The principal office address in the home state
  • The principal office address in Illinois
  • Registered agent information
  • List of all names and addresses of officers and directors
  • The purpose of the corporation and the nature of its business in Illinois
  • The class, series, and par value of the authorized and issued shares
  • Paid in capital amount
  • Estimated total value of all the property (home state), estimated total value of all the property (Illinois), State estimated total business of the corporation to be transacted by it everywhere, State estimated annual business of the corporation to be transacted by it at or from places of business in Illinois. 
  • Verify of the corporation is transacting business in the state currently and the date it began

3. Appoint Registered Agent – You’ll have to appoint a registered agent who will be responsible for handling most aspects of foreign qualification. They accept documents from the state and pass them on to the LLC or corporation. Most businesses will turn to a third party provider such as DoMyLLC to serve as their registered agent since it takes the burden from their shoulders.

4. File The Application – Upon completion of the forms, you will file them with the Secretary of State along with a filing fee of $150 for LLCs and $175 for corporations.

5. Ongoing Maintenance – Illinois requires that any business file an annual report with the state each year. It must be filed by the end of the month before your business registered – if you registered for foreign qualification in March, your annual report must be filed by the end of February each year. The filing fee is $75.

What Is the Difference Between Foreign Qualification And Incorporating?

Incorporation is a process that creates an entirely new business. Foreign qualification doesn’t create a business. Instead, it allows your existing LLC or corporation to do business in another state – Illinois, in this case.

How DoMyLLC Can Assist With Streamlining The Process

Business leaders have a lot of different things that they have to manage. Luckily, we’re here to take the stress and the hassle out of Illinois foreign qualification. We offer:

  •     Dedicated account managers
  •     Ongoing, unlimited customer support
  •     Name availability checks
  •     Full registration and filing services

If you’re ready to begin operating in Illinois, you’ll have to foreign qualify. But instead of dealing with the process on your own, contact us. We’ll take the hard work off your shoulders and let you focus on other aspects of your business, free from worry.

Illinois Foreign Qualification FAQs

You’ll have to submit an application for admission in duplicate. Additionally, you will need a statement that the OS will act as an agent for service of process in certain situations.

Illinois charges a filing fee of $150 for LLCs and $175 for corporations to register for foreign qualification.

Any business that operates in another state that wishes to do business in Illinois may foreign qualify to do so if they follow the required steps.

An attorney is not required to handle the process of foreign qualification. However, you may still wish to talk to your lawyer to ensure that you take the appropriate steps to remain compliant and legally protected.

You’ll have to provide all basic business information including things like:

  • Name of business
  • Business address
  • Date of business formation
  • Names and addresses of managers and members
  • Registered agent information

You’ll have to file for foreign qualification under a fictitious name. This will have no impact on the name you operate under in your existing state.

Illinois Business Resources:

Illinois Office of Secretary of State
Phone Number:
(217) 782-6961

Illinois Secretary of State
501 S. Second St., Ste 328 (or: Ste 351)
Springfield, IL 62756

If you’re interested in more info on foreign qualification, call 888-366-9552.

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