Hello and welcome to the Start a Business tutorial on the registration procedure for foreign corporations in Iowa. The information below will provide you with a detailed walkthrough of the filing requirements demanded by the Secretary of State. To form a foreign corporation, you must first decide which corporate structure your out-of-state or international corporation most resembles from those available in Iowa. The following foreign corporate types are available for incorporation (fees listed):

Before attempting to file we advise that all incorporators cross-reference the business database to ensure that their desired operating name is indeed available. You can also, if you desire, perform a name reservation which reserves your desired name for 120 days ($10).

How to File a Non-Profit Corporation

Step 1- Individuals attempting to extend their out-of-state or international non-profit corporation must first download the Application for Certificate of Authority.

Step 2- Once downloaded, continue by providing the following information:

  • Name of corporation
  • Operating name in Iowa (if different)
  • Original jurisdiction
  • Date of incorporation
  • Duration of corporation
  • Principle office address
  • Registered agent name/address
  • Members status
  • Name and address of each officer
  • Certificate of good standing (attach)
  • Signature, name and business title of individual filing

ia-fnp-corporation-form-1 ia-fnp-corporation-form-2

Step 3- Once the PDF application has been completed, you may proceed by submitting it by mail or through the online portal. Review our filing instructions for a detailed guide on both procedures.

How to File a Profit or Professional Corporation

Step 1- If you intend to extend an out-of-state or international profit or professional corporation into Iowa you will, unfortunately, be expected to draft your own filing document with the help of the form-drafting guideline (490.1503).

Step 2- The information required of filers when drafting their own document is as follows:

  • Name of corporation/operating agreement
  • Initial jurisdiction
  • Date of incorporation
  • Duration
  • Principle office address
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Name and address of each officer

ia-fp:fs-corporation-form-1Step 3- Once you’ve successfully completed drafting the application, you may continue by submitting it to the Secretary of State by mail or online. Take a moment to review our filing instructions for more information.

How to File (Online | Mail)

Step 1- In order to file successfully you must have a complete filing package. This package consists of the filing document (select a link below for help in drafting the filing document specific to your corporation type) and the certificate of good standing issued from your initial jurisdiction.

Step 2- Individuals filing through the mail should skip to Step 4. Online filers will need to now navigate to the online form filing portal and indicate the filing being made and the method of payment. Next, you will need to submit the following data to start the filing process:

  • Filing party
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address


Individuals paying by credit card will have to enter the following data:

  • Company
  • Full name
  • Address
  • Card type
  • Expiration date
  • Card number


Individuals paying via a pre-existing account with the Secretary of State must input their account number, PIN, and invoice reference to complete the payment.


Step 3- You must now upload the aforementioned filing document and, after completing the CAPTCHA, select SEND to complete the filing process.


Step 4- To file by mail you must either attach a check for $25 (non-profit) or $100 (professional/profit) made out to the Secretary of State, or attach a completed credit card authorization form to your filing and submit it to the following address:

Secretary of State

Business Services Division Lucas Building, 1st Floor

Des Moines, Iowa 50319


Renewal– To keep your foreign corporation in good standing in the state of Iowa you must file a biennial renewal either online ($30) or through the mail ($45) with the Secretary of State. Mail filers will have to draft their own biennial renewal by following the guidelines laid out in the 488.210 PDF form. Once completed, you will need to send the form along with a check made out to the Secretary of State or the credit card authorization form to the following address:

Secretary of State

Business Services Division Lucas Building, 1st Floor

Des Moines, Iowa 50319