Certificate of Good Standing

What Is a Certificate of Good Standing?

A certificate of good standing (COGS) is a state-issued document that shows a company has completed the necessary licensing and regulatory requirements to operate. In other words, this record serves as evidence that a business owner has established and maintained their company legally.

What Is a Certificate of Good Standing Used For?

While a certificate of good standing is not required to legally do business in any state, it may be critical to tasks that drive business growth. For instance, you may need to present a certificate of good standing when doing any of the following:

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What Are Some Other Names for a Certificate of Good Standing?

A certificate of good standing is also referred to as a certificate of existence or certificate of legal existence in the following states:

The following states refer to a certificate of good standing as a certificate of status:

These states have unique, state-specific names for a certificate of good standing:

When requesting a certificate of good standing or similar document, be aware of the following:

It’s always best to check with your local Secretary of State’s office (or another government office that handles business entities) to determine which certificate you need.

How Long Is a Certificate of Good Standing in Effect?

Certificate of good standing expiration dates vary by state—it may be 60 days, 90 days, or never. However, anyone requesting this document from a business may only consider more recent certificates or ones up until a regulatory requirement expires.

For instance, if a salon needs to renew its business license each year the expiration date for its certificate of good standing may be the date of the business license renewal. If a restaurant has health inspections every six months, the expiration date for their certificate of good standing could match that schedule.

While good standing documentation relies on completing legal requirements, it's not legally required for every employer. Businesses can operate without a certificate of good standing as long as they meet the other legal requirements for operation. In most cases, they're only necessary upon request.

Does Every Business Need a Certificate of Good Standing?

A COGS proves a business is registered properly with the state. If you’re asking yourself, “Do I need a certificate of good standing?” the answer lies in what type of business entity you have. Sole proprietorships and other businesses that don’t need to register with the state do not need to apply for a certificate.

Here's a breakdown of entity types and whether state registration is required:

Business Entity
State Registration Required
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)

Varies by state

(Note that LLLPs are prohibited in 22 states.)

Limited Partnership (LP)
Varies by state

Varies by state

You must register your trade name (“doing business as” or DBA) in certain states if you use a name different from either partner’s legal name. Learn more.

Sole Proprietorship

How to Apply for a Certificate of Good Standing

Each state has its own agency for issuing certificates of good standing, which is often the same agency that registers businesses. Also, most states charge a fee for this service, ranging from $5 to $175. Fees may depend on your location, the type of business you operate, and whether you need the certificate expedited. While most state websites allow you to request business certificates online, many also offer options for doing so by mail, phone, in-person pickup, and fax.

Most states register businesses and distribute certificates through the Secretary of State’s Office (sometimes called the Secretary of the Commonwealth or the Department of State) or one of its subdivisions. If you’re wondering how to get a certificate of good standing in areas where that's not the case, review this list of states with specific departments:


To obtain a certificate of good standing in Alaska, visit the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing (CBPL). First, you’ll verify the business is in compliance via the Search Corporations Database. Then, you’ll fill out the appropriate form, pay the filing fee, and immediately get a printable certificate.


Arizona business owners can create an account on the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) website and fill out a form to request a certificate of good standing for a fee. You can also print out the form, fill it out by hand, and send it by mail. Forms can take up to 15 business days to process. Expedited processing is available for an additional cost.


To request a certificate of legal existence in Connecticut, simply visit CT.gov, create an account, and complete the online application. Your certificate can be mailed to you for a fee or expedited for additional cost. Connecticut legal certificates are valid for only 90 days, after which you must submit a new request.


A certificate of good standing is offered through Hawaii.gov in partnership with the state’s Business Registration Division and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA). Simply purchase your certificate and print it out once it’s available.


The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) allows business owners to order a certificate of status through its Business Express website. Use the site to search for your business and pay a fee (plus any processing costs) to have a copy of your certificate mailed to you. Please note that you cannot receive a certificate if you don't have a resident agent, haven't filed personal property returns, or have unpaid penalties.


To get your Michigan certificate of good standing, you must visit the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Corporations Division Online Filing System. Certificate costs vary by method. You may also pay for a certificate of fact stating a particular fact on record or a certificate of fact listing all documents filed.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, you can request a standing certificate from the Treasury Department’s Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services (DORES). Three standing certificates are available: short-form, long-form with officers and directors, and long-form with charter documents.

All three certificates are accessible online. Business owners pay a basic fee for their forms if they have a corporation or limited partnership. LLCs and LLPs pay a bit more for short-form and long-form certificates. Expedited processing is available at an additional cost.


You can obtain a Utah certificate of good standing (or certificate of existence) through the Department of Commerce’s Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. Using the online portal, complete a business name search and request the certificate once you find the correct name. After paying the fee, your request will be processed and mailed within 3 to 10 business days.


Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) provides certificates of good standing for corporations and certificates of fact of existence/registration for LLCs through the Clerk’s Information System. Simply complete a business search in the portal, add the certificate to your shopping cart, pay the required fee, and instantly download it to your computer.

Washington, D.C.

The Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) Corporations Division issues certificates of good standing for all registered businesses in Washington, D.C. To get one, create a profile with the district’s CorpOnline system, search for your business entity, and request your certificate online.


To get a certificate of status in Wisconsin, go through the state’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The request may take up to 10 business days to process, and there's a cost for both short- and long-form certificates (expedited processing is available for an additional fee).

Before requesting a certificate of good standing, ensure that your business is indeed in good standing, which means you are filing annual reports, maintaining a registered agent, paying taxes on time, and following all other regulatory compliance guidelines. It’s always best to check with your state’s regulatory agencies for the latest updates, as requirements for this and or other business documents may change over time.

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