If you operate an LLC or corporation in Washington D.C., you need to designate a registered agent to accept document deliveries from the District. You have a few options regarding who should provide this vital service, our favorite of which is hiring a registered agent service.

These companies will serve as your registered agent in exchange for an annual fee, keeping your business in compliance with local law by receiving documents like service of process, tax documents, instructions for your District business license renewals, reminders when your Biennial Report is coming due, and more.

In Washington D.C., there are quite a few reputable companies offering registered agent service, which can make it difficult to determine which company is your best choice. That’s why we took a deep dive into all of your options to create this list of the best Washington D.C. registered agent services. Which one should you use?

Best Overall Service

Next up is Northwest Registered Agent, a company that offers personalized customer support. Northwest no longer provides free mail forwarding service with its registered agent offering, which used to be a cornerstone of its service. However, it still has plenty of advantages.

How does Northwest Registered Agent stack up to the competition?


  • Personalized customer support
  • Volume discounts available
  • Free registered agent service with business formation


  • Expensive business formation service
  • Not many other services offered

Northwest Registered Agent’s calling card is its personalized customer support. Instead of outsourcing its support network to a generic call center with questionably trained representatives, Northwest keeps its support team in-house. Everyone who answers the phone for Northwest is a professional who knows their stuff.

Northwest offers a year of registered agent service in Washington D.C. with any business formation service purchase. However, at $225, the price point for this package is higher than most competitors.

We appreciate Northwest’s volume discounts for registered agent service, as they’ll slash your rate from $125 to $100 annually if you require service in at least five jurisdictions. In addition, they receive strong customer reviews and offer free ongoing compliance reminders.

Overall, if you prioritize personalized customer support, Northwest’s advantages likely outweigh its disadvantages.

Like ZenBusiness, IncFile offers a free business formation service. With IncFile, this includes a year of registered agent service as well. As a standalone service, IncFile provides registered agent service at an annual rate of $119, which is a solidly competitive price point.


  • Free business formation service with registered agent service
  • Good customer feedback


  • Lots of upsells

With more than 30,000 reviews available online, IncFile maintains high average rating scores, making them an impressive pick for registered agent service in Washington D.C.

However, one drawback of using IncFile is how they can be rather relentless with upsell attempts. IncFile has plenty of add-on features available, and it will certainly remind you of that fact several times as you work your way through their order form. It can also take IncFile a while to respond to customer support messages, especially via email.

Overall, IncFile is a rock-solid option for registered agent service, albeit without some of the bells and whistles you’ll find with some competitors.

Rocket Lawyer is one of the industry’s biggest names, with millions of customers served and a robust advertising budget that gets its name out. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing is a bit high, but if you’re looking for an experienced option, look no further.


  • Tons of experience
  • Solid customer satisfaction reputation
  • Strong customer support


  • Somewhat high price points
  • Very few features

Rocket Lawyer has a few thousand reviews available, with mostly positive scores. While its registered agent pricing doesn’t jump off the page, subscribers to Rocket Lawyer’s $39.99/month legal services program receive 25% off registered agent service, free business formation service for new members, and more.

We are always impressed with Rocket Lawyer’s support network, as its representatives are responsive and helpful. Rocket Lawyer offers extended support availability from 9 am to 9 pm every weekday. If you’re willing to spend a bit more in exchange for a company with tons of experience, or if you’re interested in Rocket Lawyer’s legal services subscription, give them a look.

LegalZoom is similar to Rocket Lawyer in that it’s a company with millions of customers served and offers advanced legal services. However, LegalZoom has an unfortunately high price point for Washington D.C. registered agent service. You can get your first year for $249 if you add it to a business formation package, but even that isn’t a great deal.


  • Millions of customers served
  • Industry’s longest support hours
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed


  • High prices
  • Few features in formation packages

We are impressed by LegalZoom’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is nearly identical to the ZenBusiness refund policy. Also, they have the longest customer support hours in this industry, with 14 hours per day of weekday availability and nine hours on weekends too.

That said, LegalZoom’s high price tag for registered agent service is a problem. Seeing as this company also excludes valuable features from its business formation packages, the other options in this guide all have better value propositions than LegalZoom.

What Is a Washington D.C. Registered Agent?

Every business entity in the District of Columbia is required to have a registered agent. In fact, you will not be allowed to finish the formation process for your company until you designate your registered agent.

The most important aspect of this role is receiving document deliveries from the District government, then alerting your business of the delivery before forwarding the documents to you. The role of the registered agent is so important because it establishes a point of contact for your business with the District government so that they have a reliable place to get in touch with an official representative of your company at any time.

Washington D.C. actually has two different kinds of registered agents: commercial and noncommercial. There is no difference between these types of agents, except for the fact that a commercial registered agent has filed a listing statement with the District and also paid the $150 filing fee.

Unlike many states, Washington D.C. does not provide a comprehensive (or even partial) list of reputable registered agents that operate within the District, so you’ll have to find one on your own. Thankfully, that’s where this guide comes in.

What Does Washington D.C. Law Say About Registered Agents?

Each jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations surrounding registered agents. For the most part, these laws are fairly similar, but it’s always worth taking a look to see what Washington D.C. requires.

In Washington D.C., we’ll need to take a look at The Business Organizations Title of the Code of the District of Columbia, which says:

  • Every entity that files with the District of Columbia must appoint a commercial or noncommercial registered agent
  • A commercial registered agent has registered with the District to be included on its official list of agents, usually as a business venture
  • If appointing a noncommercial registered agent, the entity may appoint an individual resident of the District, another business entity with the authority to operate in the District, or an officer of the entity itself
  • An agent must be continuously maintained

All of the companies we’re about to discuss meet these regulations and are great options for Washington D.C. registered agent service. When you’ve made your choice, you can indicate your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.

What About Small, Washington D.C.-only Registered Agent Services?

As you’ve probably noticed, the registered agent services we’ve listed here serve businesses across the country. But if you Google “Washington D.C. Registered Agent,” you’ll probably see results for local services, too. These can be local entrepreneurs with a knack for clerical tasks or entire companies dedicated to serving the District of Columbia.

On one hand, using a local service can have its advantages. Some will be cheaper than nationwide firms (but not always!). And each jurisdiction has its own nuances for business compliance requirements, Washington D.C. included.

A registered agent service that services Washington D.C. alone will have detailed knowledge about those requirements. Granted, most national services do a good job of understanding local requirements. But they probably won’t give you the same “homegrown Washington D.C.” feeling as a local agent service.

That said, national businesses like Northwest Registered Agent and ZenBusiness give you streamlined solutions. Let’s say you’re using a local Washington D.C.-only registered agent service, but it’s time to add locations in Maryland. You could search for an additional agent that services Maryland businesses.

But that’s going to require a lot of additional paperwork, including new receipts, new automatic payments, more emails…you get the idea. But if you’re using a national service, you can cut down the “new” paperwork and focus on what really matters: growing your business.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you, and there’s no “wrong” answer. The most important thing is that you appoint one so you can run a compliant Washington D.C. business.


The role of a Washington D.C. registered agent is critical to your company’s compliance and legal standing. This position requires dealing with seemingly simple tasks, yet if they’re handled incorrectly, they could cost you a considerable amount of money in fines and could even potentially see the District dissolve your business.

While you can always change your registered agent down the line, we think it’s essential to pick the right registered agent for your business starting at the formation phase. You should also keep an eye on your compliance standing to ensure nothing goes awry along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can serve as a registered agent in Washington D.C.?

In Washington D.C., there aren’t many complicated requirements for registered agent eligibility. Any individual or business entity located within the District can serve as your company’s registered agent. The only requirements are that they have a permanent address in Washington D.C. and that your company itself can not serve as its own registered agent (although you or one of your co-owners may assume this role individually).

Washington D.C. is a tad unique because it maintains a system of commercial and noncommercial registered agents. But let’s clear things up a bit: commercial and noncommercial registered agents accomplish the exact same tasks, and they both fulfill the District’s statutory requirements. Commercial registered agents just complete the additional task of registering with the District to be included in the registered agent database, usually so they can offer their services as a business venture. Noncommercial registered agents are appointed on a private basis instead. You can appoint whichever type works best for your needs.

Must my registered agent be located in Washington D.C.?

Yes. If your registered agent is an individual, that person must live in Washington D.C. If your agent is a business entity, that company must either be a domestic Washington D.C. business or one with the authority to conduct business in the District.

How can I change my registered agent in Washington D.C.?

Washington D.C. keeps the process of changing your registered agent pretty simple; all you have to do is download the Registered Agent Combined Form, fill out the third page, and submit it to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. There is a $50 filing fee. For more information on how to change your registered agent in Washington D.C., look here.

How does the Washington D.C. registered agent resignation process work?

If your registered agent chooses to resign and no longer serves as your agent, they will notify both you and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs by filing a Statement of Registered Agent’s Resignation form on page 2 of the Registered Agent Combined Form. This form doesn’t become effective until 30 days after it’s filed, giving you time to find a replacement.

How much does it cost to change my Washington D.C. registered agent?

As long as you file all your paperwork in a timely fashion and don’t allow your registered agent coverage to lapse, you won’t incur any additional penalties or fees, keeping your filing fee at just $50.

What are my options if I don’t want to hire a Washington D.C. registered agent service?

One common option is to serve as your company’s own registered agent or enlist the assistance of a trusted friend or family member. The other route is to hire an attorney or accountant to handle this role. Maybe you prefer the added professionalism these people can provide, maybe you have an existing relationship with an attorney or accountant you trust, etc.

If you’re interested in hiring an attorney but don’t know where to start, we recommend taking a look on Avvo. We also dug through the top-rated lawyers on Avvo to create our own list of the top five business attorneys you could contact regarding registered agent service:

Where can I find more information on forming an LLC in Washington D.C.?

The best place to learn more about forming a Washington D.C. LLC is our comprehensive step-by-step guide. You might also be interested in checking out our list of the best Washington D.C. LLC formation services.

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