Incorporate Business in USA
Incorporate business in U.S.
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How Long It Takes to Incorporate a Business

There are a number of factors that determine how long it takes to incorporate a business. The factor that will have the most impact is the state in which you are incorporating your business. The second big factor will be whether you are using a lawyer or professional service to do the filing for you, or if you are doing it yourself for the first time.

Almost half of all Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, because it has one of the most progressive and supportive bodies of corporate law in the country. That makes it a good candidate for generalizing a timetable on how long it takes to incorporate a business.

In Delaware, an expedited filing for incorporation can be approved by the state within five to seven days. For filings that are not expedited, it can take four to six weeks for the filing to be approved. Because Delaware has one of the most advanced filing procedures in the country, in most states the approval periods for expedited and non- expedited filings will probably be even longer.

Beyond how long different states will take to process an incorporation filing, there are the two ways in which a filing can be expedited.

At the state level, an expedited filing means that, for a fee, your filing will be put ahead of other non-expedited filings, to fast-track the documentation and recording process that controls how long it takes to incorporate a business. How much time this will save, for the additional cost, will depend on the efficiency of your state's filing department, and their dedication to truly providing an expedited service.

The second meaning of expedited, in this context, is when a lawyer or incorporation service fast-tracks their entire shepherding of your filing. This would mean that the lawyer or service utilizes their knowledge of the state system to move the filing through the system as quickly as possible. And, at the same time, they are creating all of the other documents and agreements that are needed to satisfy the other requirements outside of the official state filing.

These are the general steps that will need to be completed, either by you or your agent and the state filing office. For a basic corporation, many of these steps can be satisfied using off-the-shelf documents and agreements that require little or no tailoring:
  • Choose a corporation name and perform a name search.
  • Choose the corporation directors.
  • Write corporate bylaws and select officers.
  • Write a shareholders agreement.
  • File incorporation papers.
  • Hold initial board of directors meeting.
  • Issue company stock.
  • Apply for tax identification number and other relevant permits and licenses.

  • Obviously, how long it takes to incorporate your business depends on many factors. But it is a common practice, and you will find that there are many books and sites that will walk you through the process step-by-step. There are also agencies and lawyers who can very quickly assemble all of the elements for a standard, no frills corporation in very short order, no matter what state you live in.

    Want more information about registering a company? Visit our Guide. Check out incorporation fees by each state.

    Tip: Did you know that Delaware and Nevada are top two incorporation states?

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