If so, you’ll need to file a foreign qualification for your business. While the name sometimes leads people to mistakenly believe this filing qualifies your corporation or LLC to transact business in another country, it actually just means that you can conduct business in a different state.
There are quite a few companies offering foreign qualification services these days, as many of the same companies that offer affordable incorporation services also offer this similar service. Much like with business entity formations, it can be surprising how much pricing models can vary from company to company. The companies with the cheapest formation services aren’t always the same ones offering reasonably priced foreign qualifications, making it even trickier to find the right company.
With this in mind, we dug through the details of every reputable online foreign qualification service with a fine-toothed comb. As a result of our research, we present to you the five best foreign qualification services available today.
An Overview of Foreign Qualification Services
The foreign qualification process is quite similar to the business formation process in many states, although the fact that each state creates its own rules and regulations can complicate things a bit. With the companies discussed in this guide, foreign qualification becomes very easy.
All you’ll need to do is provide your chosen company with some important information about your business, usually including things like your principal business address, your business location within your new state, the nature of your business, the names and addresses of your owners, etc.
The variations in pricing from company to company are quite extreme with foreign qualifications, especially considering that most of them offer the same core service with very few additional features. In fact, we found otherwise-reputable companies charging in excess of $300 for foreign qualifications, while one competitor offers this exact same service for less than $100.
Let’s take a look at the best foreign qualification services available online today, and discuss which one might be the best fit for your business!
Best Foreign Qualification Services Reviewed
- MyCompanyWorks: $99
- IncFile: $149
- InCorp: $167
- Northwest Registered Agent: $200
- Honorable Mention for California – SunDoc Filings: $99
Charging just $99, they’re the only company we’re aware of that offers to prepare and file your foreign qualification for less than $100 — some competitors charge more than three times this much!
One of the biggest advantages MyCompanyWorks has over the competition (other than pricing) is its strong customer feedback. We found more than 3,700 reviews of their services scattered across the web, and nearly all of them were positive.
Furthermore, MyCompanyWorks has one of the most responsive customer support teams in the industry. Some competitors will make you wait days before responding to your support inquiries, but not MyCompanyWorks! They pledge to return most phone calls and emails within 20 minutes if you contact them during business hours.
Coming in at a highly reasonable $149 price point is IncFile, a company with more than 800,000 customers served that maintains positive customer feedback. IncFile has 34,000+ reviews available online, and it’s difficult to find more than just a few negative opinions of their services.
One drawback of IncFile is their hit-or-miss customer support. While IncFile’s phone support is usually pretty good, their email support is a disaster. We’ve sent them several messages through their online contact form that have gone unanswered.
If you also need to form an LLC or corporation, IncFile is a good choice due to their free business formation offer.
InCorp has a similar pricing model to IncFile, except for the fact that InCorp adds $18 on top for shipping. If you’re looking for registered agent service for your corporation or LLC along with foreign qualification, InCorp is a good option, as they have solid pricing for registered agent service. With their volume discounts, you can get a registered agent for as little as $87 per year.
While InCorp’s customer feedback is more often positive than negative, they also receive more critical reviews than the other companies we’ve talked about in this guide.
Northwest Registered Agent ($225)
Northwest Registered Agent has the highest pricing model in this guide, with a $225 rate for foreign qualifications. However, this package includes a year of registered agent service, helping to justify that higher price point.
Most competitors use a “call center” type of support system, and some outsource their support to other countries. That’s certainly not the case with Northwest Registered Agent, as their highly trained representatives can answer even your toughest questions. We’re also big fans of how they protect your privacy, writing their own code and running their own servers to ensure no third party gains access to your information.
While Northwest doesn’t have as many reviews as some competitors, they do have around 400 reviews that are mostly high quality.
Honorable Mention for California: SunDoc Filings ($99)
SunDoc Filings matches MyCompanyWorks’ pricing model for foreign qualifications, but there’s a crucial catch. This company does not offer document preparation services. (For what it’s worth, SunDoc Filings’ website does note that they “can help” with preparing your documents, but there’s no information about how much help or how much it would cost.)
Instead, SunDoc Filings only submits your documents to the state. Why would you use a service like this when you still have to do much of the legwork yourself? One word: efficiency.
If you’re foreign qualifying in California — the world’s fifth-largest economy and a state with nearly twice as many businesses as any other state — SunDoc Filings has an advantage over every other company in this guide due to its location in Sacramento. This enables SunDoc Filings staff to make three daily visits to the California Secretary of State’s office and provide customers with same-day processing in this state.
With 3,000+ reviews available online, and very few negative reviews in sight, it’s clear that customer feedback is a plus for SunDoc Filings. Finally, the 100% satisfaction guarantee they offer is a welcome safety net in case anything goes awry with your foreign qualification.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are These Websites Legit?
We understand that some of you may have doubts about these services. However, all of the companies discussed in this guide are entirely legitimate, and they’re the same websites we use ourselves when we purchase business services. We obviously can’t promise that you’ll be a satisfied customer but we can reassure you that these are all trustworthy operations.
Why Should I Use These Services Instead of a Lawyer?
Every company we profiled in this guide can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over hiring an attorney. At the same time, you’re still receiving services from experienced professionals. That said, if you operate a business in an industry with lots of regulations, you may want to consult an attorney.
What Else Can Online Business Services Companies Provide?
Depending on the company you choose, the list of additional services available may vary. However, most of these companies also offer things like business formations, registered agent service, corporate bylaws, operating agreements, annual reports, federal tax ID numbers (EIN), and much more.
Do the Prices Listed Above Include My State’s Foreign Qualification Filing Fee?
No. You will have to add your state’s fees on top of the prices you see above. This is because each state has its own fees for various business services, and there’s no “one fee fits all” type of pricing across the country.
Can’t I Just File My Own Foreign Qualification Application?
You certainly can. Many entrepreneurs do choose to file their own foreign qualification applications. However, we will point out that it’s much easier to hire a business services provider and focus on actually running your business instead of spending your time filling out and filing paperwork. Furthermore, the peace of mind you’ll receive from having a professional file your foreign qualification application is invaluable.