How to File California LLC Articles of Organization

Last updated on: June 30, 2021

What are the Articles of Organization California?

Have you thought it over and are ready to register your business officially? Great! It’s time to draft the California Articles of Organization LLC and file it with the Secretary of State!

The Articles of Organization is the most important document of a company, which contains all the basic information concerning its creation and activities. The date of its registration is the starting point from which the journey of an LLC in the business world begins.

How to get Articles of Organization California?

To prepare California Articles of Organization, first you need to find the right form. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Online: just do a keyword search for “Free Articles of Organization LLC California” and select the best option;
  2. On the State Secretary website: “the Articles of Organization LLC California template” page is under “Forms, Samples and Fees”.

How to create Articles of Organization LLC for California?

As a standardized document, the LLC Articles of Organization California has a list of questions that must be answered. 

  1. Name of your California LLC.

Besides the fact that the name of your company should be memorable, you should also take care of compliance with legal requirements, such as:

  • Uniqueness: if it turns out that there is already a company registered in the state whose name is the same as yours or at least close to it, the Secretary of State will reject the application registration;
  • Absence of forbidden words: your LLC name cannot confuse people with the nature and purpose of the company’s activities. You are not to mention certain words (e.g., Bank, Insurance, Attorney) or somehow hint at the company’s connection to the state;
  • Use a designation: the name should describe its type of business entity and must contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  1. Physical and mailing address.
  1.  Registered agent’s information.

In California, it is mandatory to have a registered agent. He acts as a mediator between the LLC and the state, guaranteeing a reliable contact point for legal correspondence when needed. 

For this reason, without a name and address of your agent, the Secretary of State in California will not accept your Articles of Organization.

An agent can be either an individual or a registered entity. 

The requirements that apply to the registered agent are:

  • To be a resident: live permanently in California (for individuals) or have a license to conduct business here (for legal entities);
  • To have a physical address in California: you can also indicate a mailbox, but that is not enough;
  • To be always available: 5 days a week during normal business hours, the candidate must be at the address to receive and sign the documents addressed to the company;

 An LLC is not allowed to serve as its own registered agent, but its members or managers may assume this role. 

  1. Type of management: member-managed or manager-managed.
  2. Purpose: this is already filled-in by law and you cannot change it. However, it is allowed to expand the company’s business purpose if it is part of its operating agreement.
  3. The organizer’s signature: the organizer is the person who is responsible for the preparation and keeping of the Articles of Organization. This can be the founder or someone from the outside, for example, a professional organization that provides services for the formation and comprehensive support of the business.

To write the Articles of Organization on your own is not difficult. However, it is important to understand that this is one of the fundamental documents of the company, and you need to approach its writing with responsibility.

How to change the Articles of Organization of a California LLC?

California state law allows you to update Articles of Organization if a company has such a need after its registration.

There are two ways to do this:

  • Make an amendment;
  • Rewrite the whole article.

Despite the fact that both options have the ultimate goal of changing the content, there is still some difference between them.

An amendment is a clarification, an addition to an already existing one. In the Articles of Organization it is shown along with the previous version of the text. 

In the case of changing the formulation of the article, its original version will not appear anywhere and is completely excluded from the document.

Anyway, the information that can be changed by revision or amendment does not differ from each other. It contains the following basic items:

This list is closed and no extra items can be added to it. If the information you need to change is not one of those mentioned above, you should look for a special form designed just for this case. For example, updating a registered agent’s information is done by sending an information letter.

Filing a reformulation or amendment form requires the payment of a $30 fee. In addition, if you file in person, you will have to pay an additional $15.

Do I have to file Articles of Organization in California?

Unlike an operating agreement, the document, called Articles of Organization, is required to be registered. To do this, you must send it to the Secretary of State for approval.

There is a filing fee for each LLC California Articles of Organization. It costs $70. If there are mistakes in the document or it is rejected because the name you have chosen is used by another company operating in the state, that money will not be refunded. 

Where to file Articles of Organization of a California?

The final step in creating an LLC is to file a prepared and properly filled out Formation Documents with the State. Depending on your preference, this can be done in three different ways:


It is the fastest, easiest and most affordable option that requires minimum effort. Just go to the Secretary of State website, download the California LLC Articles of Organization form, fill it out and send to Business Entities eForms Online


If you prefer using the post office, you can send the completed form as a letter. Please note that all information should be legible, i.e. either typed on a computer or handwritten using only black or blue ink.

Be sure to include a check or money order proving payment addressed to the Secretary of State to pay the fee. Cash enclosed in an envelope is not suitable for this purpose.

The materials should be sent to the Secretary of State’s office located at:

California Secretary of State
Business Entities
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

In Person

If you live in or will be passing through Sacramento, you may also hand-deliver your form and payment to the same address.

In this case, you will need to pay an additional $15 fee for forms submitted in person.

You may also request one of three express service options for in-person delivery:

  • 4-Hour: $500
  • 24-Hour: $350
  • Same Day: $750

The standard processing time depends on the workload and the way the documents were delivered.

Online applications are usually processed within the fastest period of time, a few days. 

In the case of materials sent by mail or hand-delivered in person, it will take about a week to obtain LLC Articles of Organization approved by the Secretary of State. 

You can monitor the status of the processing of your documents on the website, where information is daily updated.

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

In this IncFile vs ZenBusiness review, we're going to compare two of the most popular LLC formation services based on pricing, features, and drawing out differences and similarities to let you see which is most suitable for you and your business.

You can learn more about @Mike here.

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