How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington - How to Start my LLC

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington

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 Certificate of Existence in Washington

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington

You may be asked to provide a certificate of existence for your Washington limited liability company (LLC). Banks and creditors often ask for this document before issuing business credit to ensure you comply.  

A Washington certificate of existence is relatively easy to obtain, but it does take some know-how. Lucky for you, this handy guide walks you through the process. 

What Is a Washington Certificate of Existence?

In Washington, a certificate of existence, known as a certificate of good standing in most states, verifies that your LLC fully complies with state regulations. The state will issue the certificate if you’ve met all deadlines and filed all relevant reports. 

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

In What Situations Would I Need a Certificate of Existence?

Again, a bank or creditor might request a certificate of existence 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 certificate of existence from your home state.

Requirements to Obtain a Certificate of Existence in Washington

You must have a registered business entity in the state, either an LLC or a corporation. Sole proprietorships and partnerships do not register with the state, so they cannot obtain a certificate of existence. 

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

Which Department Issues Certificates of Existence in Washington?

In Washington, the Secretary of State issues certificates of existence. You can obtain one online.

How to Get a Certificate of Existence in Washington

Visit the Secretary of State’s website and sign into your account.


Then just opt to order a certificate of existence.

The fee is $20, and assuming your LLC is in full compliance, you should be able to access your certificate within two business days for expedited service and within seven business days for all mail-in orders.

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


Getting a certificate of existence 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.