Welcome to the webpage dedicated exclusively to the registration of a corporation into the Illinois Secretary of State database. Here we’ve relayed all information needed by applicants whether forming a brand new entity as a domestic filer or applying to transact business in Illinois from out-of-state. This page is meant to serve as an overview of the general procedure needed to qualify as a legitimate business in the eyes of the state government. We encourage our readers to take the time to review the more in-depth instructions of our other tutorials devoted to each individual entity type. Below you’ll notice links to these tutorials as we go along.

How to File

Step 1- It’s recommended that all interested applicants take a minute to research the availability of their corporate name. In Illinois, all corporations must operate under a name which is distinguishable from that of any other LLC or corporation currently registered or reserved. The Business Entity Search function will help filers perform this preliminary search. Furthermore, business representatives wishing to reserve their company name may do so for a period of 90 days prior to their filing. Instructions for name reservations can be found here.

Step 2- Continue by submitting the requisite filing information either online or by PDF, depending on your business type and preference of application. Click on the link below that corresponds with your business type to learn more about the exact filing requirements.

Step 3- Next, to pay your filing fee you will simply need to attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State to your original articles/application. Online filers will be granted the luxury of paying online, although this comes at the cost of a required expedited fee of $100. The sole exception to these two examples is found in the payment procedure for a foreign business corporation. In this case your price will fluctuate depending on a number of factors (more information on this in the full tutorial).

Step 4- At this point foreign entities can attach a certified copy of the original Articles of Incorporation issued in their state of initial formation. This document will need to be issued within 90 days of filing with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Step 5- If you are filing online, your registration would have been concluded by the payment of your filing fee. Those filing through the mail will need to send all requisite forms and fees to the below address for processing at the office of the Secretary of State.

Secretary of State

Department of Business Services

501 S. Second St., Rm. 350 Springfield, IL 62756


EIN– The Employer Identification Number allows the Internal Revenue Service to identify businesses reporting withheld taxes. In the case that you have yet to apply for one, you may wish to review our tutorial for the Online registration or that of the PDF Form SS-4. Neither process will require that business owners pay any additional fee on top of that which accommodated their filing with the Secretary of State. Once this number has been acquired, you will be able to transact all financial endeavours while using the company name.

Corporate Bylaws– Newly incorporated businesses will most likely benefit from the integration of a set of corporate bylaws into their business structure. This number will allow for the initial board of directors and incorporators to put down in black in white all matters related to the management and government of the company’s internal affairs. Once the provisions of the document have been agreed upon, each applicable member should sign the initial document and be given a hard copy for their own filing. The link at the heading of this paragraph contains our free template, available in MS Word and Adobe PDF.

Renewal– Only the representatives of corporations who were previously permitted to register online will be able to take advantage of the electronic filing of their annual report. Otherwise, your renewal with the Secretary of State will need to be submitted through the mail along with the appropriate filing fee. The deadline for this filing will be marked by the anniversary of your effective date in Illinois. Those failing to file by this time will lose the status of good standing and will be required to pay a late filing penalty.

How to (Video)