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I’m a US citizen trying to start a business in the US from overseas (for now) and need a US address to file with USPTO for company name, as well as for LLC, US taxes, and my business license etc. Problem is all family members have died and only a couple of US friends left! Can I borrow a friend’s home address for now for application purposes? I will be the Registered Agent. I plan to move back to the US in a couple of years, so this is temporary, just to get my e-commerce biz off the ground.

Thanks. Hope someone can help.

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    Are you sure things which are available to people who are not resident in the US require a US address? The IRS knows, for example, that some taxpayers live outside the US. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 19 at 9:26
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    I suspect that a US-registered company requires a US address where documents can be served. – DJClayworth Jan 21 at 14:09
  • Look for places that cater to RVers. They often don't have a fixed residence but still need an address for things like voting and getting driver's licenses. – mkennedy Jan 21 at 21:14
  • @DJClayworth New York requires New York corporations to have a New York address for service of process. A corporation can retain an agent for this purpose, however. I suspect that most states have a similar requirement if not all. – phoog Jan 25 at 16:30
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I think you are going about this wrong.

The point of a Registered Agent for a company is that they are the person designated to receive legal communications for the company within the state of registration. A company must have one to be legal. They do not have to be the owner or manager, and often aren't. You have to provide both a Registered Agent and a Registered Address within the state when you register the company. The agent is required to be available at the address during business hours. If you name yourself as agent, and you are not actually present at that address, you could be in violation of company law.

For a company with a physical presence in the state of registration this is not a problem. You register yourself as the Registered Agent and the place where you work as the Registered Address. Almost everyone else hires someone else to act as Registered Agent. These services cost a few hundred dollars a year, and give you an actual physical address (and a mailing address) where you can be contacted, as well as compliance with the law. You could theoretically get a friend to do it, but by being the agent they acquire certain legal responsibilities, and they do actually have to be at the address during business hours.

Lots of companies exist to provide non-resident owners with Registered Agent services for when they live out of the state. They provide you with a street address within the state of registration, name one of them as the Registered Agent and pass on communications to you wherever you live. This ensures that you comply with the rules.

This gives a summary of the reasons for having yourself or someone else as Registered Agent. Here is another.

  • Fair enough, good criticisms. I'll delete. – DavidSupportsMonica Jan 26 at 22:56
  • Thanks for your considered response! I've been reading, educating myself on all this. I agree with what you wrote. I think trying to out-maneuver legal requirements that seem redundant or unnecessary for the sake of avoiding expensive (legal) fees, like I had been thinking about having a US address and that any ol' address would do, is in the end sloppy business. – alixe Jan 27 at 6:38

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