How to Obtain Certified Copies of Articles of Incorporation Paperwork

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

How to Obtain Certified Copies of Articles of Incorporation Paperwork

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

The Articles of Incorporation is a form business owners complete to legally establish their business. A company must complete and file its Articles with any state in which it wishes to do business.

Woman in blazer leaning against desk and looking at documents

Anyone may obtain a certified copy of a business' filed Articles of Incorporation. A certified copy includes the Articles of Incorporation as well as a state cover letter that indicates the Articles have been approved. Certified copies are generally available for a nominal fee and can be purchased online, in person, over the phone, or through the mail.

Articles of Incorporation

Articles of incorporation are part of the public record. The Articles must include certain information about the company, such as the company's name, the date it was incorporated, the names of the owners, the company's purpose, and how many stocks will be issued, if any.

The document must also include the name and address of the company's registered agent. This is a person designated to send and receive legal documents on behalf of the company, such as service of process notices and government correspondence.

How to Obtain a Certified Copy of Articles of Incorporation

Every state has a different procedure for obtaining a certified copy of a business's Articles of Incorporation. A person who wants to obtain a certified copy must follow the specific instructions of that state and its agency over businesses. The agency that has jurisdiction over businesses in most states is the Secretary of State, but it may vary.

Purchase a Certified Copy Online

The precise steps will differ by state, but many state agencies offer an online option for requesting certified articles of incorporation.

 

  1. Find the website of the Secretary of State or other state agency for the particular state in which the business is incorporated. Extensions like ".gov" or ".us" often indicate the official website. A simple Google search will likely bring up the correct site.
  2. Once you locate the correct website, find a search bar and type in the name of the desired corporation. Click on the corporation name. Many states allow a person to view and download an uncertified copy of the Articles of Incorporation for free.
  3. The site likely has an option for requesting certified copies of the Articles of Incorporation. The fees for purchasing a certified copy vary by state. You will need your credit card information to purchase a certified copy. Once the order has been placed, the state will mail the documents to your desired address. Some states, however, provide immediate digital copies if you register on the site.

Purchase a Certified Copy by Phone, by Mail, or in Person

If purchasing by phone or in person, visit or call the office of the Secretary of State or other state agency. If purchasing in person, oftentimes the office will provide you with the certified copy during your visit. If ordering by phone, the certified copy will be mailed to your address.

If purchasing by mail, you can send a written request for a certified copy along with the correct fee. The written request must include the full legal name of the corporation and the date it was incorporated.

Most offices charge an additional fee for expedited service.

Obtaining a copy of a company's Articles of Incorporation is a relatively simple process. In most states, a certified copy can be requested by visiting the office of the Secretary of State in person or by phone, mail, or the state's online system.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.