How Do I Register My Business in San Francisco?

By: Doug Bend

If you have a legal entity that was formed outside of California, there are five steps to register the business in San Francisco:

1. Certificate of Good Standing.

You should first obtain a certificate of good standing from the Secretary of State’s Office where you formed your legal entity.

2. Registered Agent.

Second, you will need a registered agent for service of process in California.
A registered agent is typically present during general business hours at a physical address to receive legal service of process if a lawsuit or other legal action arises against the company.

The registered agent’s name and address will be listed publicly on the California Secretary of State’s website.

You can list yourself as the registered agent if you will be at that address during business hours or you can use a third party service to serve as the registered agent for the company if you would prefer to keep your affiliation with the company or address private.   If you would like to hire a third party to be the registered agent, we offer registered agent services for $99/year here.  

3. Register With The California Secretary of State’s Office.

Third, you will need to file a Statement of Designation of a Foreign Corporation with the California Secretary of State’s Office.

4. San Francisco City Business License.

Fourth, if you are doing business in San Francisco for more than 7 days a year, you will be required to complete an application to obtain a San Francisco Business Registration Certificate within 15 days.

5. Fictitious Business Name Statement.

Lastly, if you will conduct business in San Francisco under a name other than your full legal name, the full legal name of a legal entity (such as a corporation), or any name that suggests additional owners, you must file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the San Francisco County Clerk’s Office. Frequently asked questions about San Francisco Fictitious Business Name Statements can be found here.  

If you have any questions or would like our help registering your company to do business in San Francisco, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.