Wisconsin Foreign Qualification

Wisconsin offers a lot of opportunities for businesses. But if your business was formed in another state, you’ll have to be sure to foreign qualify in order to legally operate within Wisconsin. This can take some time, but understanding the specifics of the process is important.

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Foreign Qualification at 888-366-9552

What is Foreign Qualification?

Foreign qualification is the process of registering a business so it can legally operate in a state other than the one it was formed in. Since a business is formed to follow the rules and regulations of its home state, foreign qualification brings it in line with the rules of the state it’s planning on opening in – Wisconsin, for example.

Why Does A Company Need Foreign Qualification?

Why You Need To Do It – Businesses must foreign qualify if they’re formed outside of Wisconsin and plan on doing any kind of work within the state. This includes everything from opening a store to just having a single representative working on behalf of your business.

When Should You Do It? – The sooner your business registers, the better. If you finalize the decision to move into Wisconsin, it’s important to get the ball rolling as soon as you can to avoid delays and issues. Generally, you will need to receive Wisconsin foreign qualification if your company falls under any of the following criteria:

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

What Happens If Your Entity Does Not Foreign Qualify?

If you fail to foreign qualify, your business will be unable to bring forth any lawsuits in the state. The business will also face financial penalties including all fees due for each year it operates along with fines of up to $5,000. Tax related fines and penalties may also apply.

Steps To Obtain Foreign Qualification

There are a few basic steps that you’ll have to take in order to receive Wisconsin foreign qualification for your business. These steps include the following.

1. Obtain Certificates – Wisconsin requires an LLC to file a Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for a Certificate of Registration. For corporations, a Foreign Business Corporation Certificate of Authority Application must be filed. Both forms can be downloaded at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution’s website. Corporations should also get a Certificate of Status, Existence, or Good Standing from the home state.

2. Collect And Submit Information – The form will request a variety of information.


  • LLC name
  • Alternative LLC name, if needed
  • Name of the home state
  • Date of formation of LLC
  • Name and address of the registered agent
  • Principal office address
  • The management structure
  • Authorized signature


  • Corporation name
  • Alternative corporation name, if needed
  • Name of the home state
  • Date of formation of the corporation
  • Period of duration or perpetual existence
  • Name and address of the registered agent
  • Principal office address
  • Names and addresses of the officers and directors
  • Number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue
  • Number of shares issued, itemized by class and series
  • Computation of the proportion of capital that the corporation expects to have represented in the coming year in Wisconsin

3. Appoint Registered Agent – The registered agent is responsible for handling the majority of the paperwork and work involved in foreign qualification as well as basic compliance issues. The majority of businesses turn to a third party organization like DoMyLLC to serve as their registered agent in order to simplify their daily activities.

4. File The Application – Once you complete the application, submit it via paper or online through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee is a flat $100 for both Corporations and LLCs.

5. Ongoing Maintenance – Businesses in Wisconsin must file an annual report with the Division of Corporate and Consumer Services each year. For a corporation, this is due by March 31 and will include a $65 filing fee. LLCs also must file by March 31, but will pay an $80 filing fee.

What Is the Difference Between Foreign Qualification And Incorporating?

Incorporating creates a completely new business. Foreign qualification doesn’t change a business’ structural makeup or create a new company. Instead, it gives corporations and LLCs the legal authority to operate in a state other than the home state.

How DoMyLLC Can Assist With Streamlining The Process

We understand that businesses today have a lot of different responsibilities to worry about. That’s why we handle the entire process involved in foreign qualification for you. Our team provides:

  •     A dedicated account manager
  •     Name availability checks
  •     Full filing and registration
  •     Unlimited support

If you’re thinking of branching out into Wisconsin, let us take the hard work off of your shoulders. Contact us today to let us take care of the Wisconsin foreign qualification for you.

Wisconsin Foreign Qualification FAQs

Wisconsin requires that you file the Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for a Certificate of Registration if registering an LLC. For corporations, a Foriegn Business Corporation Certificate of Authority Application must be filed.

There is a filing fee of $100 for both Corporations and LLCs.

Any business located outside of Wisconsin that wishes to begin doing business in the state can – and must – foreign qualify.

Businesses don’t need an attorney to foreign qualify. However, you may still wish to speak to legal counsel in order to ensure that you maintain full compliance throughout the process.

The application will request a variety of different things including basic business info such as:

  • Business name
  • Date of organization
  • Physical and mailing addresses
  • Names of members or managers
  • Registered agent information

You’ll have to file for foreign qualification under a fictitious name and conduct business that way. This has no impact on the name you operate under in other states.

Wisconsin Business Resources

Wisconsin Office of Secretary of State
Phone Number:
(608) 261-7577

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 93348
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348