Foreign Corporation California Qualification

What is a California Foreign Corporation?

A California Foreign Corporation is an INC originally formed in another state that registers to do business in California. The process of registering a foreign Corporation in California is called foreign qualification. Foreign qualification is used to register a foreign company so that it may transact business in the state of California. There are a few requirements when filing an application for registration in California.

Foreign Corporations can register the Foreign Corporations name in California for the period of one year, a renewal will be required to continue the registration for another year.

How to Register A Foreign Corporation in California

Foreign Corporation Requirements

  1. Name
  2. Jurisdiction
  3. Address
  4. Statutory Agent



The name of the proposed California Foreign Corporation will be listed exactly as it is shown on the provided Certificate of Good Standing from the Corporations home state of incorporation.


The state, foreign country or other place of original formation will be listed. This place must match the Certificate of Good Standing.


An Executive Principal Office address is to be listed, this may not be a PO Box. A California Principal Office address will be listed, if any.

Statutory Agent

California registered agents are known by many names, including: agents for service of process, corporate agents, and statutory agents. These are all names for the same service.

An agent must be either an adult resident or a corporation. An LLC can not act as a registered agent in California.

An agent must have a physical street address within the state where service of process and other important business mail can be signed for and accepted. This is known as a registered office, and it must remain open year round during normal business hours. All documents accepted on behalf of clients must be forwarded to clients within a timely manner.


How to File a California Foreign Corporation Qualification Document

Steps in registering a foreign corporation in California:

  1. To foreign qualify a corporation in California, file a Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation with the Secretary of State. You’ll pay $25 in state fees straight out of the gate (a $0 registration fee, $20 for the Initial Statement of Information, and a $5 disclosure fee). The Statement and Designation must be accompanied by a Certificate of Good Standing issued within the previous six months by the agency where the foreign corporation was formed, which may tack on an additional fee depending on your home state. 
  2. Foreign corporation California qualification requires the corporation to select a corporate name that conforms to state law and is currently available in California. A registered agent must also be appointed to accept service of process.
  3. After the foreign corporation qualification is complete, the corporation must file an initial Statement of Information within 90 days and pay the associated $20 filing fee and $5 disclosure fee mentioned above. Each year, corporations file an SI and pay a $800 Franchise Tax.


Annual Report and Taxes

A foreign corporation must file a yearly Statement of Information and pay the $20 filing fee, as well as a $5 disclosure fee. The SI is filed during the anniversary month of the foreign qualification. A Franchise Tax is paid every year of $800.

The corporate tax in California is 8.84%.


Foreign Corporation Registration Quick Facts

  • Foreign Qualification Document: Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation
  • Filing Fee: $25 (includes the Initial Statement of Information fees)
  • Additional Documents: Certificate of Good Standing (from home state)
  • File With: California Secretary of State
  • Online Filing: No
  • State Filing Time: 20 business days
  • Prioritized Filing: 12 business days (hand-delivered + a $15 fee)
  • Expedited: 1 business day (hand-delivered + a $350 expedite fee)
  • Annual Franchise Tax: $800


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