Virtual Address for an LLC

Learn more about what a virtual address means for LLC owners.

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If you are a home-based business or international company, having a virtual business address can help you present a professional appearance with your customers and clients. Virtual business addresses also help small business owners protect their privacy and gives the appearance of being a local business, even if you’re located in another state or country.

What is a Virtual Business Address?

You already know that a business address is the physical address your company uses to run its operations. It’s the address you use to file your business paperwork, including your articles of formation, articles of incorporation, and to get an Employee Identification Number. It can be the physical address of your company. But if you work from home, or if you want to operate in a location where you don’t already have a physical presence, then getting a virtual business address can be a good approach.

A virtual business address is a real address tied to a physical location.  Virtual business addresses are often connected to a mail center or business office building – wherever the virtual business address service provider is located. Companies that provide virtual business address services are usually located in areas with a lot of other businesses, like downtown areas of cities or business parks, rather than in a rural or residential location. So, your virtual business address will most-likely be located in a well-known part of a city.

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What Does a Virtual Business Address Service Provide?

Virtual business address services not only provide you with a physical business address, but they provide other important business services. With a virtual business address, you can receive business mail and packages that you can pick up from the location, if you live locally. If you don’t, most virtual business addresses will scan your mail and provide it to you electronically. Be careful when choosing a virtual business address service – you want to make sure they have a policy for keeping private information safe when scanning and emailing copies of your mail to you.

Can a Virtual Business Address be Anywhere in the World?

The short answer is yes! Depending on the virtual business address service you use, they may have addresses available around the world. That could potentially allow you to have a local address anywhere you want to have a business presence. You may also be able to relocate your business address at any time, or have multiple virtual business addresses at the same time, allowing you to expand your business services without having to build new physical locations.

Who Should Get a Virtual Business Address?

Anyone with a home-based business, online business, or other remote business can benefit from having a virtual business address. In fact, small business owners across industries and entity types use virtual business addresses for a variety of reasons. 

How do I Get a Virtual Business Address?

A number of companies provide virtual business address services, and the process for getting a virtual address for your business is similar no matter who you choose:

1. Choose an Address

Most virtual business (or virtual office) address providers require you to sign up for a plan, and there are a variety of price points. Once you’ve signed up for a plan that fits your budget, you’ll choose an address. Choose an address close to your own city or zip code if you want to easily pick up your business mail and let your customers know you’re local. If you want to have official business addresses in multiple locations, or even in another country, many virtual business address services can help you with that, too.

2. File Form 1583

For U.S. based virtual business addresses, the U.S. Postal Service requires you to file a notarized Form 1583 along with two forms of ID. The Post Office requires you to file this form to receive your business mail.

3. Redirect Your Mail

If you’ve been using a different address for your business, you’ll want to have your business mail redirected to your new virtual address. That way you won’t miss important legal, government, or business-related mail.

4. Update Your Official Business Documents

In most states, your virtual business address can serve as the legal address for your business. If you choose to use your virtual address for your business, you’ll need to file, or update, your business entity documents in the state where your virtual address is located. 

How Much Does a Virtual Business Address Cost?

The cost to get a virtual business address varies depending on the service you choose. Some providers offer a simple one-price service to set you up with a virtual address. Others operate on a subscription model that covers the cost of setting up your virtual address and managing your business mail. Still other services give you package options at higher price points that offer multiple physical addresses, or multiple mail-handling services. The most important factor is how well they keep your private information secure. Go with a service that has a strong reputation versus one that may come at a lower cost.

What are the Benefits of a Virtual Business Address?

A lot of small business owners choose to get a virtual business address for their company. Here are a few of the benefits of using a virtual business address:

1. Gives a Professional Edge

Since a virtual business address is usually located in a business or commercial location, it can give a home-based business owner a more professional appearance. This is especially true if you use it for your company’s letterhead, emails, business cards and other print marketing materials.

2. Gives Extended Privacy

If your business is online or you work from your residence, you’ll find a number of occasions where your home address may be visible to the public — even if you don’t want it to be.

For example, laws regulating how businesses use email require you to include your business address somewhere within your email. That means if you’re sending out a regular newsletter to your customers, they may see your home address in the email. That’s not something you want to do. Instead, by using a virtual business address, you can keep your personal information private. 

Additionally, if you use your home address on your business filing paperwork, it becomes public record. By using a virtual business address, any legal filings or reporting documents will use that address instead. A virtual business address can help you keep important personal information private.

Some communities have restrictions on what kind of business you can run out of your home. For example, some homeowner associations restrict home-based businesses altogether. And zoning laws in your city may restrict you from running a business outside of a properly zoned location. 

Additionally, for those who are renters, your landlord may have restrictions in your lease that keep you from being able to run a business from your home. 

If you use a virtual business address, your home address is not considered the official address for your business. Instead, your virtual business address is your legal business address.

4. Access Your Mail Anywhere

Most virtual business address services can notify you when your mail arrives and upload a digital version immediately. That means you can check your business mail anywhere you are from the convenience of your email. Be sure to go with a trusted service provider who keeps your information encrypted and secure.

When Should I Get a Virtual Business Address?

You can get a virtual address for your business at any point in the life of your business. It can make sense to get a virtual address before you file your formation documents so you can keep your personal information private on public documents.

If you’re starting small, you may not be too concerned with going through the steps to get a virtual business address. If you’re on a tight budget, it may not be worth the cost.

But if you’re growing, want to expand to new or multiple locations, or if you want to keep your information private, getting a virtual business address can be a good way to go. Do your research and choose a trusted service that keeps your business mail secure while giving you simple virtual access through encrypted emails or a private web browser.

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FAQs

  1. Can a Foreigner have a U.S. Based Business Address?

    Yes, non-citizens who want to do business in the U.S. can use a virtual business address to open a business. The steps to getting a virtual business address in the U.S. for a non-resident are similar to the process laid out above. However, you’ll have to take a few extra steps.  You may need to obtaining a Visa to do business in the U.S. A Visa may be necessary for getting an EIN and Social Security Number, too. You may also have to pay additional taxes.

    Other steps to getting a virtual address in the U.S. include notarizing and filing Form 1583, which may be difficult to do if you’re outside of the U.S. In order to get Form 1583 notarized, you have to sign the form in front of a Notary Public. You may be able to find a Notary Public at an embassy. You may look into online notary services, too.

  2. Can I Use a P.O. Box for My Business Address?

    The short answer is no. Many states prohibit using a P.O. Box as your official business address. That means you can’t use a P.O. Box to file your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation – in fact, that’s a common reason business applications are rejected. If you don’t want to have your home address on your business formation documents, or if you want to have a more professional business presence, consider using a virtual business address instead. Most states allow you to use a virtual business address for business formation.

  3. Is a Virtual Business Address the Same as a Registered Agent?

    No. A registered agent is a person aged 18 or older who is able to receive official state and legal correspondence on behalf of your business. A registered agent service  can help you manage your legal documents and avoid missing important filing deadlines.

    A registered agent is required to be present at a physical address during regular business hours to receive your official state correspondence. They cannot use a P.O. Box or a virtual address, since they need to be physically present.

    You want to keep your virtual business address separate from your Registered Agent service anyways, since a Registered Agent would not handle your normal business mail. Their job is to help your business stay compliant with your state filings and other paperwork, not manage your business’s bills or customer communications.

  4. Can an LLC use a Virtual Business Address?

    Yes – for those who want to start an LLC, virtual business addresses can be a good choice. In fact, sole proprietors, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and all other business entity types can use a virtual business address.

     

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