Obtaining a Certificate of Compliance in Rhode Island

Ensure your business's credibility in Rhode Island with a Certificate of Good Standing – unravel the key insights and simplify the application steps by diving into our informative guide.

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From establishing another branch of an existing enterprise to offering proof of legally operating to potential investors, businesses may benefit from proving their standing with the state.

Here are the steps to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing in Rhode Island.

What is a Rhode Island Certificate of Good Standing?

A Certificate of Good Standing, also referenced as a Certificate of Legal Existence or a Certificate of Status, is a legal document provided to businesses registered in Rhode Island. This certificate establishes the existence of the business and notes its authorization to operate in the state and confirms that the company is in compliance with Rhode Island law.

The Rhode Island Department of State is the issuing entity for this document. The name of the current Secretary of State is listed on the official document, along with the state seal.

For those concerned about the application process, ZenBusiness can help with its worry free compliance service. After all, sometimes applying for a Certificate of Good Standing uncovers compliance issues a company didn’t know about and should immediately address.

What does a Certificate of Good Standing confirm?

A Rhode Island CGS indicates that a company is authorized to conduct business in the state, franchise taxes have been paid, and its paperwork is up to date with the Department of State.

The CGS notes the name and title of the Rhode Island Secretary of State and certifies the business name and its designation. It indicates that the business is qualified to conduct business, all annual reports are properly filed, and the business is active and in good standing.

Why might a business need a Rhode Island Certificate of Good Standing?

A Rhode Island Certificate of Good Standing isn’t a legal requirement to operate, but there are various possible reasons why an entity might need one. These include:

  • Opening a business bank account
  • Obtaining capital
  • Registering with another state to do business
  • Obtaining a business insurance policy
  • Selling part or all of the business
  • Applying for/renewing permits or licenses for certain business types

What Rhode Island entities can obtain a CGS?

Only those entities registered in the state of Rhode Island can obtain a Certificate of Good Standing. LLCs and corporations can benefit from a CGS if they’re planning to expand to another state, as most states require one to create a foreign (out-of-state) corporation.

Other entities that must be registered and can therefore obtain a CGS include:

  • Nonprofits
  • Workers’ cooperatives
  • Benefit corporations

Entities that don’t need to be registered with the state, such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships, can’t get a CGS.

How to get a Rhode Island Certificate of Good Standing

The process of getting a Rhode Island requires a few key steps.

Check to make sure your business is in compliance

Before applying for a Certificate of Good Standing, check to ensure your business is in compliance. This includes an assessment of tax reports and any annual reports filed with the state. Checking for compliance is an important step because it mitigates potential delays in applying for and receiving a CGS.

ZenBusiness can handle this on your behalf, offering compliance services to help facilitate a successful application. This takes the onus off the entity to determine what the business needs to do.

However, compliance with the Rhode Island Department of State doesn’t equate to compliance with other areas, such as the Rhode Island Department of Revenue.

This is one of the reasons why some states will require a CGS from the Department of State as well as a certificate from the Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation to ensure financial requirements have been met as well.

Go to Rhode Island’s business website to request a Certificate of Good Standing

There are several options to obtain a Rhode Island CGS. The first and most commonly used one is the Department of State’s business website. You can search for the entity under the corporate name, and then file online accordingly.

The online form is easy to navigate, as it requires simple information about the business to confirm standing with the state before moving forward.

Additional options include in-person, phone, and mail-in filings. Those applying via phone or mail can fill out the form and mail it in with the fee.

The address to submit the form is:

Business Services Division
148 W. River St.
Providence, RI 02904-2615

The processing time is five to seven days when applications are submitted via mail. Applicants should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope when applying for a certificate this way.

Upon ordering via phone or in person, applicants can pick up a copy at the Business Services Division office. Online orders will receive the certificate via email. Mail orders will receive the certificate via postal mail.

Make sure your Certificate of Good Standing will be valid for its intended use

A Certificate of Good Standing from Rhode Island doesn’t have an expiration date. However, any entity that requires you to have one will usually want it to reflect your current status. This usually means it’s no more than 60 days old, although some parties are more strict (30 days) and some are more relaxed (up to 90 days).

Send to requesting party

The final step in the process is to submit the certificate to the requesting party. When submitting the certificate, determine whether any additional information is necessary to ensure a smooth process moving forward.

When sending the certificate to the requesting party, be sure to keep a copy for your business records. Also, check the date on the certificate before submission.

You’ll also want to determine the preferred mode of submission for the document. If the requesting party can receive the document via email, filing online usually lets you forward the email received from the state.


Compliance may not be simple to keep up with, especially when considering all the other aspects that make a business go round. At ZenBusiness, we understand that your business needs don’t stop after the business has been registered. ZenBusiness can help keep you in good standing with our worry free compliance service. With this service, we not only help keep your business in compliance, but we can also secure a Rhode Island CGS for you if you need one; you just pay the state fees. And, if you don’t have worry free compliance but still need a CGS, our Certificate of Good Standing service can help.

Rhode Island Certificate of Good Standing FAQs

  • As of 2021, the fee for a CGS varies depending on the method of application. Online applications are $22 for corporations and other entities and $7 for nonprofits. In-person, mail, and phone filings are $20 for corporations and other entities and $5 for nonprofits.

  • Processing time for a CGS is two days, plus mailing time if that’s the chosen method of application. Online applications can receive an immediate certificate. The certificate is sent to the email on file for the business after completing the application and submitting payment.

  • The only way to expedite a CGS request is to use the online platform to file, which generates an immediate certificate via email. This costs $2 more than filing by mail, by phone, or in-person.

  • A Certificate of Good Standing isn’t required to comply with legal requirements. Instead, it shows that you’re complying with certain legal obligations in the state.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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