How to register a Canadian business in Washington State

It’s easier than you might think to register a Canadian company with the Washington Secretary of State(SOS). It works exactly the same way as you would register any other out of state company with WA. So for a Canadian, you have to do no more work than an Idaho, Oregon, or any other US state based company has to do to register in Washington State.

Canadian Business Registration process for Washington:

To register a Canada company in Washington, file a foreign profit corporation certificate of authority with the Washington SOS, or a foreign LLC certificate of authority with the WA SOS. Washington allows you to file documents, online, in-person, by fax, or by mail. You need to have the signed consent of your Washington registered agent. We provide your registered agent consent in your online account instantly when you sign up for our Washington registered agent service. The Washington SOS does not require original signatures on your filings.

Washington also requires that you include a “certificate of existence” from the Canadian province where your business was formed, but they do not require a certified copy of your filed articles. If you incorporated in Canada at the federal level, you will request a certificate of compliance from Corporations Canada.

The great thing is that you are simply filing either:

Foreign Washington LLC Certificate of Authority

or a

Foreign Washington Corporation Certificate of Authority

How to get a Canadian certificate of existence:

A Canadian certificate of good standing or a certificate of existence are basically the same thing to Washington State. You need to get something that says the date you were incorporated on, and that your Canadian company is in good standing. If you incorporated your business at the federal level in Canada, it is like you are incorporated in all of the provinces. You can do business in any province or territory and you can have your head office anywhere. And when you want to register a federal Canadian company in the US, you just need the certificate of compliance from the federal agency, Corporations Canada.

You will have to contact Corporations Canada to request documents. If you submit a written request, you must include the type of certificate you want, the corporations name, the corporations number, the name and phone number of the applicant, where the documents should be sent, and the fee. Make checks payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

If your Canadian company is not registered at the federal level, you will need to get the letter of good standing from the Canadian province where you formed your business entity.

How to get a Certificate of Compliance from Corp Canada:

There are a few ways to request a certificate of compliance from Corporations Canada. The fastest way is to go to the Corporations Canada website and request it online.

If you request a certificate of compliance through Corporations Canada’s online filing centre, they process your request in 24 hours and email a PDF to you.

It will take 5 business days to process your request and then the certificate will be mailed to you. If you file by mail you may include credit card info or a check.

It will take 5 business days to process the written request and they will email the documents to you. Include your credit card info in the email.

In person:
Submit the written request in person and the certificate will be mailed within 5 days. You can choose check, credit card, or cash.

It will take 5 business days to process the request and they will fax the documents to you. Include your credit card info.

How much does the Corporations Canada Certificate of Compliance cost?

There is a $10 fee to request the certificate.

Corporations Canada contact information:

Corporations Canada
Jean Edmonds Building
South tower, 9th Floor
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C8
In Canada: 866-333-5556
Outside Canada: 613-941-9042
Fax: 613-941-5789

How to get Alberta Corporate Registry documents?

The Alberta Corporate Registry is different than the other Canadian registrars. You have to hire a certified registry agent to do searches or order documents for you. Registry agents pay for access to the corporate registry database so you have to go through them to request documents from the Alberta Registry. The Alberta Corporate Registry has a list of registry agents on their website.

How much is the Alberta Certificates of Good Standing?

Alberta restricts access to the Corporate Registry database to certified registry agents. This means you will have to pay a service fee to the registry agent and they will get your documents from the Alberta Corporate Registry. Alberta has the worst system out of the provinces.

Alberta Corporate Registry contact info:

Alberta Registries
Corporate Registries
Box 1007 Station Main
Edmonton AB T5J 3W3
Telephone: 780-422-7013
Fax: 780-422-1091

How to get documents from BC Corporate Registry?

You can request a certificate of good standing from the BC corporate search and Copywork Section. Call the BC Copywork Section at (250) 387-5101.


Complete the certificate of good standing order form and mail it to the BC Registry Services with check or money order payable to the Minister of Finance.

How much do BC certificates of good standing cost?

certificate of good standing: $25
search fee: $10

BC Registry contact info:

Alberta Registries
Ministry of Finance
BC Registry Services
P.O. Box 9431, Stn PROV GOVT
Victoria BC V8W 9V3
General Information: 250-387-7848
Fax: 250-356-8923

What are the fees to register a Canada corporation in WA:

Corporations and LLCs costs the same. $180.

Expedited processing of paper forms is available for an additional $50 fee.

Online filings are also expedited, but you only pay an additional $20 fee if you file online.

Each year you’ll owe $71 to the state for an annual report fee, which is nothing more than you basically paying them 71 bucks, and $65 to us to provide your Washington registered agent services.

Washington SOS certificate of authority processing times:

Normal processing takes about four weeks. If it is a really busy time of year, it could take two months.

If you pay for expedited processing, your filing will be completed in 2-5 business days.

Contact the Washington Secretary of State:

Normal processing for a certificate of authority takes about four weeks. If it is a really busy time of year, it could take two months.

Corporations Division
801 Capitol Way South
PO Box 40234
Olympia WA
Phone: (360) 725-0377
Fax: (360) 664-8781

If you fax your filing to the SOS, be sure to include the fax filing coversheet with your credit card information.

Do you need a Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN)?

If your Canadian business is going to have employees, open a bank account, or charge sales tax in Washington, you will need to get an FEIN from the Internal Revenue Service. This number is sometimes called an EIN or tax id number. Apply for your FEIN after you register your Canadian business with the Washington Secretary of State. You can get a FEIN from the IRS a few ways. You can do it on the IRS website, by fax, by calling the IRS, by mail, or you can have your Washington registered agent get your FEIN for you.

You can get a FEIN even if you do not have a social security number. Our normal service fee is $50 to get the FEIN. If you don’t have a social security number, the fee is $100.

You will get a Washington UBI number which is a state level identification number when you register with the WA SOS.

Do I need a registered agent for my Canadian business?

Business entities need to have a Washington registered agent with a physical address in the state of Washington who can accept documents such as service of process or official notices for your business. You will need to list your Washington registered agent when you register your Canadian business with the Washington SOS.

When you sign up for our comprehensive Washington registered agent service, you can access our signed consent form right away to finish your filing with the Secretary of State in your online account. We also provide filing instructions and annual report reminders to make managing your business in Washington easy.

A simpler way to work in Washington State as a Canadian:

Many Canadians, simply form a Washington LLC or form a domestic Washington State Corporation. The filing fees are the same, and it creates a little bit of separation and keeping your Canadian company from crossing borders. You should consult with your tax professional either way. Crossing country lines can create added professional service fees from your tax professional, and they might night even know how to deal with it.