Business Law

California Secretary of State Resumes Certain Services on a Limited Basis

The California Secretary of State has announced that it will resume certain services effective June 1, 2020.

Limited Expedited/Preclearance Services.  Limited Expedited/Preclearance Services for business filings, including Statements of Information but excluding apostilles, domestic partnerships or other non-related business filings, may be delivered using the Business Entities Drop Box in the first floor lobby of the Sacramento office for the delivery of documents.  The drop off envelope must be clearly marked as expedite or preclearance and whether it is a Business Entity Filing or Statement of Information.  The fee for 24-hour expedited processing is $350 plus the filing fee and the 24-hour preclearance fee is $500.  There is no counter fee for Statements of Information.  Expedite/Preclearance pickup will be available in the Sacramento lobby between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. the next business day following submission.

Substituted Service of Process. Substituted Service of Process  may also be delivered using the Business Entities Drop Box in the Sacramento lobby.  Upon delivery of Substituted Service of Process you must call 916-695-1212 to notify the staff of the delivery.

Regular Counter Drop Offs and Pick Ups. Regular counter drop offs will continue to be deemed received at 5:00 p.m. on the date dropped off and processed on a first in, first out basis. Use the envelopes provided and clearly mark what section the submissions should be delivered to.  The counter service fee is $15 for business entities filings and $10 for business entities records, in addition  to other applicable fees.  Regular counter filings pick up only applies to business filings and does not apply to apostilles, domestic partnerships, or other non-related business filings.  Notary, UCC, Special Filings, and Statements of Information will not be

charged a counter fee since they will be mailed back. Regular counter filings pickup, including Certificates of Good Standing, will be available in the Sacramento lobby between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Certificates of Status.  The Secretary of State intends to do its best to process drop off Certificates of Status within 24-hours.  To take advantage of the 24-hour processing of Certificates of  Status, include Certificate of Status requests in a separate envelop from other records requests.  The counter fee, in addition to the certification fee, must be provided with the drop-off request.  Certificates of Good Standing will be available in the Sacramento lobby between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Certificates of Status Online tool is currently scheduled for a soft launch in mid to late June.

Other Submissions.  The Secretary of State is not able to provide pick-up services for regular drop offs of Notary and Special Filings, Apostilles, regular Statements of Information, Uniform Commercial Code, Trademarks or any other Special Filings submissions.  However, these submissions will continue to be returned via USPS or an overnight mail service (FedEx, UPS, DHL) provided a prepaid self-addressed airway bill is included with the drop-off.

Payments. Filings fees for dropped off submissions (regular or expedited) are required to be paid with check or money order; cash or credit cards will not be accepted.

72-Hour Rule.  The 72-hour rule will also resume for rejected counter Business Entity and Statement of Information submissions.

Mail and Online.  Documents may be submitted via mail to the Sacramento office and the Secretary of State’s following online tools at bizfile.sos.ca.gov may also be continued to be used. 

  • Corporation Formations (NEW for domestic stock)
  • Corporation Statements of Information
  • LLC Formations, Statements of Information, and Terminations
  • Trademarks Registrations and Modifications
  • UCC Connect
  • California Business Search
  • Eureka Chatbot

The Secretary of State is also working on an eForms Online tool, currently planned to launch in July 2020, that will allow forms to be uploaded, paid for, and submitted online.

Name Inquiries.  Effective June 1, 2020, the Sacramento office will no longer offer the free Name Inquiry mail service. However, the Business Search tool on the Secretary of State’s website may be used to conduct a preliminary search of entity names already of record with the California Secretary of State. A name can be reserved for a period of 60 days by using the Name Reservation Request Form. These changes do not affect the Prepay Priority Telephone Service that is available.

Los Angeles Regional Office.  Although the Sacramento counters will remain closed to the public, the Los Angeles Regional office of the Secretary of State remains open to the public between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. with limited staff and services processing apostilles and public domestic partnership filings. The Los Angeles office handles traffic with a “Now Serving” sign by helping two customers at a time while other customers wait on the second floor until their number is called.

This e-Bulletin was prepared by Katherine J. Blair of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Ms. Blair is Vice Chair, Publications and a member of the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the California Lawyers Association.

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