How to Get a Subsistence Certificate in Pennsylvania - How to Start my LLC

How to Get a Subsistence Certificate in Pennsylvania

Written by:

Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

Reviewed by: Sarah Ruddle

For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world.

How to Get a Subsistence Certificate in Pennsylvania

How to Get a Subsistence Certificate in Pennsylvania

You may be asked to provide a subsistence certificate for your Pennsylvania limited liability company (LLC) at some point. In addition, banks and creditors often ask for this document before issuing business credit to ensure you comply.  

A Pennsylvania subsistence certificate is relatively easy to obtain but requires some know-how. Lucky for you, this handy guide walks you through the process. 

What Is a Pennsylvania Subsistence Certificate?

In Pennsylvania, a subsistence certificate, known as a certificate of good standing in many states, shows that a business is authorized to do business in the state and is an important document to establish the validity of your business.

Keep in mind that you’re not required to get a subsistence certificate in Pennsylvania, but banks and creditors might request one, so it’s wise to have it on hand.   

In What Situations Would I Need a Subsistence Certificate?

Again, a bank or creditor might request a subsistence certificate when you apply for a business loan or business credit. This is simply part of their due diligence and risk assessment, confirming that your business has no outstanding regulatory issues.  

In addition, if you expand your business to other states, you’ll have to register as a foreign LLC. In such cases, the new state may request a subsistence certificate from your home state.

Requirements to Obtain a Subsistence Certificate in Pennsylvania

You must have a registered business entity in the state, which means an LLC, corporation, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. Sole proprietorships do not register with the state, so they cannot obtain a subsistence certificate.

You’ll also need to comply with all legal requirements for your LLC, corporation, or partnership in Pennsylvania. That means you’ll need to be up to date on all Pennsylvania business licenses, permits, and reporting requirements. 

Which Department Issues Subsistence Certificates in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the Department of State issues subsistence certificates. You can obtain one online.

How to Get a Subsistence Certificate in Pennsylvania

Before you start, you’ll need to create an account in the Department of State’s Business Filing Services system.


Once you complete that, head to the Department of State’s Business Certifications page. From your dashboard, click the red-and-blue icon for the Department of State’s Business Filing Services (BFS).


On the left-hand menu, click “Search” and search for your business by name.


Once you click on your business, a menu will appear on the right-hand side. At the top, there’ll be an icon labeled “Request Certificate” that you can click.


A new interface will appear. Your business’s details will already be pre-filled on the first page so that you can click “next step” at the bottom.


Next, select “subsistence certificate” from the drop-down menu, and click “next step.”


Click through the processing fee information.


Finally, click “Submit” and pay your processing fee.


On the home screen, click “My Work Queue” on the right-hand menu to view your order and download your subsistence certificate.


The fee is $40, and, assuming your LLC has been filed correctly, you should be able to access your certificate online immediately.

You cannot request your certificate by mail. You can only obtain it online.


Getting a subsistence certificate may seem like a hassle, but you won’t think that when you need financing. So be sure to get it done when you have a chance— you, and your LLC, will be happy you did.