How to File Articles of Incorporation in South Carolina

Elevate your business in South Carolina by filing your Articles of Incorporation strategically. Explore our guide below for seamless navigation and success in the dynamic business landscape.

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Completing and filing South Carolina Articles of Incorporation is necessary for forming a corporation in this state. We’ll walk you through the form and show you the proper way to submit it.

Filing Articles of Incorporation (AOI )is a necessary step in the process of forming a corporation in South Carolina. Once approved, this paperwork makes your corporation official and provides a foundation for business growth. Articles of Incorporation are filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS).

How to Complete the Articles of Incorporation Form

File your company’s Articles of Incorporation using one of several options:

  • Online
  • Via mail
  • In person

Online filing is the most common method of submission. The South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS) offers an online portal for new businesses to file their initial Articles of Incorporation.

Domestic (In-State) vs. Foreign (Out-of-State) For-Profit Articles of Incorporation

Foreign entities filing Articles of Incorporation in South Carolina must apply for a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business. This is the only way foreign corporations can do business in the state.

Foreign (out-of-state) corporations must provide a Certificate of Legal Existence or a Certificate of Good Standing that’s fewer than 30 days old, and may require additional forms of licensing to do business in South Carolina.

Breakdown of Required

South Carolina Articles of Incorporation must have the following information. Here’s a breakdown:

  • The first two request your company name, physical address, and registered agent.
  • The third asks about your corporation’s capacity to issue stocks, your class of shares, and the number of shares you’re authorized to issue.
  • The fourth requests a “start” date for your corporation. If you don’t change this date on the form, it’ll be listed as the date of the filing.
  • The fifth asks about optional provisions you’d like associated with your filing.
  • The sixth asks for the corporation’s initial incorporators and their addresses.
  • The seventh requests an attorney’s signature to verify the filing

Choosing a Name

Choosing a corporate name is an important part of filing Articles of Incorporation. Each name registered with the state must be unique.

The state has a search feature to help determine if your chosen name is available. If it is, you have the option to reserve it via the SOS site for up to 120 days.

Don’t forget to include the appropriate designator with your corporation name: The final version of any name you choose must contain the word “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited,” or one of these abbreviations: “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Co.,” or “Ltd.”

Choose a registered agent

You must have a registered agent listed on the Articles of Incorporation. Professional registered agents are ideal because they have a physical address within the state where they’re available during regular business hours, which are legal requirements. If you don’t have someone in mind, use ZenBusiness’s registered agent services so you’re not tied to the office.

Optional Form Questions

The state also provides the option to submit additional information about your corporation through a provisional query (Question 5). These additions often establish restrictions on topics such as designation of stockholder rights, corporation rights, or transfer of shares., to list initial corporate directors, or designate the purpose of your corporation.

Include supplemental form(s)

In South Carolina, Articles of Incorporation must include Form CL-1 Initial Annual Report of Corporations. This means that corporations should have an initial annual report for the entity before filing. You may need to allot extra time to prepare it.

Foreign entities may need to submit a Certificate of Good Standing with the filing.

How to Submit the Form

There’s a filing fee for Articles of Incorporation and an additional fee for Form CL-1. For the most current fees and methods of payment available, check with the South Carolina Secretary of State website.

When filing by mail, include both the original forms and a copy.

If filing online, the processing time is around 24 hours. If the filing is done by mail, the processing time is two to three business days after the paperwork is received. These times are dependent on workload, as heavier volume may mean longer processing times.

When your Articles of Incorporation are processed and approved, you’ll have to keep an eye on your corporation’s good standing within the state. Use our Worry-Free Compliance service to put your mind at ease and focus on what’s important. We’ll send you reminders about important compliance dates.


Navigating the process of filing South Carolina Articles of Incorporation doesn’t need to be stressful. You can utilize one of ZenBusiness’s business formation plans to help with this process. This takes the guesswork out of the incorporation process. It lays the groundwork to move to the next stage of operation.

South Carolina Articles of Incorporation FAQs

  • Check the South Carolina Secretary of State website to see the most current information on fees and methods of payment available.

  • Usually 24 hours for online submissions and two to three days after receipt for mailed-in submissions.

  • The South Carolina Secretary of State’s office.

  • The South Carolina statute that governs Articles of Incorporation is Title 33.

  • The South Carolina Articles of Incorporation do require the signature of an attorney licensed to practice in South Carolina.

Get Incorporated in South Carolina Today!