An Arkansas Certificate of Authority is a document that grants a company permission to do business in the state. This is a legal requirement before the company begins to transact business in Arkansas, even if the entity is incorporated in another state. The Arkansas Certificate of Authority establishes the company as a foreign entity, so it's not necessary to establish a new corporation within the state. Failure to obtain this permit can result in penalties and fines.

What Is a Foreign Corporation?

A foreign corporation is one that is incorporated in another state and doing business in Arkansas. This is different from a company that is incorporated outside the United States. A company that is incorporated in Arkansas cannot be considered foreign.

Why Does a Business Need an Arkansas Certificate of Authority?

A business needs an Arkansas Certificate of Authority if it plans to carry out any of these activities within the state:

  • Establishing a physical location, such as an office or factory
  • Hiring employees who live in Arkansas
  • Taking on a contract or a job that will be carried out inside the state
  • Opening a business bank account
  • Meeting a vendor's requirements
  • Obtaining a license in an industry that requires the certificate

How Does a Business Get an Arkansas Certificate of Authority?

To get an Arkansas Certificate of Authority, you must turn in a completed Application for Certificate of Authority along with all required documentation from the home state. You'll need to appoint a registered agent to meet the requirements. Be sure to follow all the instructions to the letter because your application can be denied for even very small errors.

The filing fee that must accompany paper applications is $300 for these types of businesses:

  • Foreign benefit corporations
  • Foreign limited liability limited partnerships
  • Foreign limited partnerships
  • Foreign corporations
  • Foreign business trusts

Foreign corporations, nonprofit corporations, and foreign limited liability companies can save $30 by filing online.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If a foreign corporation applies for an Arkansas Certificate of Authority, do the signatures on the application have to be original?

Yes, the signatures must be original if the application is mailed in.

The document should be signed by an authorized officer of the company.

  • Are there any oddities to the process of registration in Arkansas?

You don't have to file anything in a specific county unless it's required by the county where your registered agent lives.

  • What are the reporting requirements once registered in Arkansas?

Annual reports are due May 1 of every year for for-profit corporations and August 1 for nonprofits.

  • How do I know that my qualification is approved?

If you file online, you'll receive a confirmation number and certificate electronically. If you file by paper, you'll receive a response via mail.

  • What information from my home state will I need to submit?
    • If your business is a limited liability company, you must submit a certificate of existence or a certified copy of your articles of organization.
    • If your company is a corporation, submit a certificate of existence dated within 30 days of filing with Arkansas or a certified copy of your articles of incorporation dated within 60 days of filing.
    • If your organization is a nonprofit, send in a Certificate of Good Standing dated within the last 30 days.
  • How do I send the required documents if I file my application online?

You must send the documents via fax or email within seven days of submitting your online application.

  • Can I handle this process myself?

Yes, the application for an Arkansas Certificate of Authority can be completed on your own.

  • Do I need to do a business entity search before I apply for registration in Arkansas?

Though it's best practice to do so to make sure your business name is available, it is not legally required.

  • How long does it take for the state to approve my application?

If you apply online, you'll get a response within one business day. If you file by mail, processing takes one to two business days before the response is mailed. If you file in person, the application will be approved while you wait.

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