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How Long Does it Take to Form an LLC in California? + Fast & Easy Method

When launching a business, time is always of the essence. So even though California is one of the fastest-growing economies in the US, can the state keep up with the expedited needs of new entrepreneurs like you? 

Let our resident trade experts answer all your queries as we explore the methods you can consider to form your LLC as soon as possible.

Processing Times in California

Not all states have the same LLC processing time. Some may take longer to register all the documents you submitted, and some may be faster in getting your company incorporated. In California, you have the option to expedite your LLC filings. 

However, our experts would also like to note that external factors can affect the processing duration of your registration. Here’s a rough estimate that we listed according to our first-hand experience.

Mail Submissions

Normal Processing: 5 to 9 workdays
Preclearance (depending on class service): 1 to 10 workdays
Expedited (depending on class service): 4 to 24 hours

Walk-in Filings

Normal Processing: 5 to 9 workdays
Preclearance (depending on class service): 1 to 10 workdays
Expedited (depending on class service): 4 to 24 hours

Online Filings

Normal Processing: 2 to 3 workdays
Preclearance (depending on class service): 1 to 10 workdays
Expedited (depending on class service): 4 to 24 hours

Approval Period in California

As a large state, you probably already know how many aspiring entrepreneurs are incorporating their businesses in California. Because of that, approval times of the documents you submitted to the secretary of state’s office may take weeks, depending on the filing option you chose. 

Although the actual processing of your LLC is completed in a few days, it can be longer during the holiday season, from December to January. 

By Mail

Now, how long does it take to form an LLC in California if you do it through the mail? The short answer is it could easily be within a week. However, our business experts would add that this estimation excludes the mailing time. It’s best to set your expectation in a realistic timeline of two to three weeks.

Online

Filing articles of organization and other registration requirements online is the most efficient method you could do if you want your LLC to be formed immediately. The fastest you can register your company is around 2 to 3 days. If a delay occurs, expect it to complete processing only up to 5 days.

man using a laptop

Is There an Expedited LLC Filing Option in California?

Yes, California offers to process your LLC filing faster than the typical approval time[1]. If you want someone to check your documents before filing, our business experts recommend the state secretary’s preclearance services. 

Through this service, you can ensure the accuracy of your filing to avoid unnecessary delays. The class packages one to four have different fees, and it solely depends on the response time you desire. The shorter the process, the higher the additional fee.

And then, there’s also the expedited LLC filing processes. You can opt for this service to make your incorporation faster.  The estimated fees on this service also depend on how fast you want it done, from as fast as 4 hours or within the same day of your filing. 

The Fastest Way to Form an LLC in California

If you’re on a tight budget, the fastest way to register your LLC in California is by filing online. It’s a paperless transaction, so it means that you won’t run into much hassle during the registration. However, if you really need to process it as soon as you can, the quickest method is through expedited services. 

California Secretary of State llc formation page

Hiring LLC Formation Services + Registered Agents

As a new entrepreneur, hiring formation services and registered agents can make your LLC incorporation journey easier than you think. These companies are accessible online and could process your applications quickly. 

Some LLC formation services will do all the registration legwork on your behalf and ensure accuracy in your filings so no undesirable delays could happen. 

If you don’t have a physical office in the state, we urge you to hire a registered agent to receive government notices and documents on your company’s behalf.

Forming an LLC in California

Before you pass any registration documents, you should check if your chosen business trade name isn’t similar to other companies operating in California. After that, you should appoint a registered agent and include it in submitting your articles of organization. Keep in mind that there’s a filing fee for this process. 

And then, draft your operating agreement while waiting for the approval of your LLC. After 90 days of incorporation, you’ll be required to submit a Statement of Information and an EIN for your company.

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Conclusion

Rather than asking, “how long does it take to form an LLC in California,” the next best thing to do is to put it into action and try it yourself. Don’t fret if the procedures are too overwhelming for you to handle. Our business experts suggest seeking help from professional formation services to make your venture easier and faster.

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Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
Charles is a family man, an entrepreneur, and a writer. He is skilled in finding the balance between efficiency, affordability, and high-quality offerings when it comes to business services. He’s on a continuing mission to discover and rediscover the most popular LLC services, while sharing his most accurate assessment and review to help business owners like himself.