How to Start an LLC in Rhode Island

Last Updated on February 4, 2022

Costs to Form a Rhode Island LLC

To form a Limited Liability Company in Rhode Island, file the Articles of Organization with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.  The LLC filing fee is $150.

Approval for the LLC is typically just a few business days when filing by mail or online, while walk-in applications are approved in a few hours.

If you have questions, contact the Rhode Island Secretary of State at 401-222-3040

Steps to Form a Rhode Island LLC

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots show how to file online.

  • Begin by visiting the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website and select “File New Business Entity.”  If you prefer to fill out and mail the application, download the Articles of Organization (Form 400).
  • On the next page, under “Domestic Limited Liability Company,” select “Articles of Organization.”
How to Form a Rhode Island LLC

Step 1: Register the LLC Name

Enter the name you want for the Limited Liability Company.  The name of the LLC has to differ from other entity names registered with the Secretary of State.  Before filing, check on Rhode Island LLC name search to ensure the one you want is available.

The name of the LLC must also include a designator at the end of the business name.  A designator describes the type of business entity. Available designators include:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
Rhode Island LLC Name Registration

Step 2: Resident Agent

To have an LLC in Rhode Island, a Resident Agent (called a Registered Agent in most states) must be identified.  The Resident Agent can either be a Rhode Island resident or a Registered Agent service.  The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state (Post Office Boxes are not allowed), be available during normal business hours, and act as a point of contact for service of process to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc. on behalf of the LLC.

Rhode Island Resident Agent

Step 3: LLC Tax Status

In this article, you will declare the tax status of the LLC.  Here there are options for partnership, corporation, or disregarded and is a confusing point.  One of the great benefits of having an LLC is the tax flexibility, and you can elect to have it taxed like a partnership, corporation, or disregarded entity (sole proprietorship).  You are still filing as an LLC but electing how the entity is taxed.

RI LLC Tax Election

Step 4: Principal Office Address

In this section, enter the street address, city, state, and zip code of the initial principal office.  This address can be the LLC’s physical address, or it can be the address where the business records are stored.  This address can be anywhere in the world; however, you may not use a Post Office Box.

Rhode Island LLC Principal Office

Step 5: LLC Purpose & Duration

Purpose – You can elect to have the business purpose of the LLC be open-ended with the generic text of “The limited liability company has the purpose of engaging in any lawful business.”  The business purpose just refers to the business activities of the LLC.  If a more specified purpose is desired, it can be entered in Article VI.

Duration – In this section, you can indicate how long the LLC will remain in existence.  Most LLCs will choose a Perpetual duration; however, some businesses (usually investment-related) will have a specific closure date.

Rhode Island LLC Business Purpose and Duration

Step 6: Additional Provisions

This is an optional section and not used by most LLCs.  Here you would include additional rules for the operation of the LLC.

Additional Provisions

Step 7: LLC Management

This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

  • Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the management of the LLC.
  • Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

Select how your LLC is managed and enter the names and addresses of any LLC managers.  Member’s names do not go in this section.

Rhode Island LLC Manager or Member-Managed

Step 8: Effective Date

If you want the LLC to start immediately, leave the field blank.  If you want to LLC to start later, enter a date less than 30 days in the future to start. 

Rhode Island LLC Effective Date

Step 9: Filer’s Contact Information

Wrapping up the filing, enter the filer’s contact information and their electronic signature.

Step 10: Review

Review that all the information is correct.  If there are no corrections, click “Accept.”

Step 11: Pay and File

An authorized person will sign the Articles of Organization and send in payment.

If you are filing online, expect the LLC to be approved in about 2 days.

If mailing, expect processing to take between 5-10 business days.  Send the form to:
RI Secretary of State, ​​​Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615

Secretary of State Contact Information:
Phone: 401-222-3040, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.