Have you been asked to provide verification that your company is currently authorized to do business in Florida? Many states refer to this type of document as a certificate of good standing or certificate of legal existence, but in Florida it is called a certificate of status.
A certificate of status can be obtained for a business entity that was formed in Florida, or for one that was formed in another state and is registered in Florida as a foreign entity.
What is a certificate of good standing?
A certificate of good standing, which Florida calls a certificate of status, is a written document issued by the Florida Secretary of State as proof that a business entity is currently registered, and is authorized to conduct business, in the state of Florida.
Do I need a certificate of good standing?
Unlike a business or occupational license, every business does not need to constantly have a certificate of status. There are several situations in which you might need to obtain a certificate of status. These include opening a business bank account, making arrangements for accepting credit and debit cards for payments from customers, applying for credit for your business, and registering your business to conduct business in another state as a foreign entity.
Where to get a Florida certificate of status
You can order a certificate of status from the Florida Secretary of State. This can be done online, by mail, or in person. Mail requests take about a week plus mailing time. Online or in-person requests are usually handled the same day.
With an online request, as soon as the payment is processed, your certificate of status will be emailed to you as a PDF.
You also can request a certificate of status by mail by sending a letter to the Secretary of State. There is no form for this request. Your letter will need to state that you are requesting a certificate of status, and give the name of your business entity and its document number. (If you do not have your document number, you can search it online.) Requests by mail should be sent to: Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Certification Section, PO Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314.
If you want to make the request in person, you will need to go to the Division of Corporations office at the Clifton Building, 2661 Executive Center Circle, Tallahassee.
Requirements for a certificate of status
The basic requirement for obtaining a certificate of status is that your business must be registered with the Florida Secretary of State. Since Florida only requires registration of corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability limited partnerships (LLLPs), only these entities will be able to obtain a certificate of status. Therefore, you will not be able to get a certificate of status if you operate as a sole proprietorship (nor will you need one).
You will need to provide the name of your business entity and its registration number (also called a document number). The document number will have either 6 or 12 digits.
The Secretary of State will issue a certificate of status after checking its records and assuring that your business entity:
- Is currently registered
- Has filed any required documents, such as an annual statement, for the current year
- Has made an approved arrangement to pay the required fee
The fee for a certificate of status for an LLC is $5. The fee to get a certificate of status for a corporation or other entity is $8.75. This can be paid (by mail or in person) by check or money order payable to the Florida Department of State, as well as by credit or debit card if the request is made online. Checks must be in U.S. currency and from a U.S. bank.
A certificate of good standing, or certificate of status in Florida, will usually indicate that it is valid for a certain period of time, or until a certain date. Once that period of time passes, it will be necessary to obtain a new certificate of good standing if one is still needed.