Wisconsin Foreign Qualification

Foreign qualification with the Secretary of State in Wisconsin refers to the process by which a business entity formed in another state or country seeks permission to conduct business in Wisconsin. This legal requirement ensures compliance with state regulations and allows the business to operate and avail itself of the benefits and protections offered by the state.

There are 2 different ways to foreign qualify in Wisconsin depending on your legal entity type and tax classification. Follow the guide below to help you register with the Secretary of State in Wisconsin or use Mosey to do it.

Use Mosey to register with the Secretary of State in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Foreign Registration for C Corporation

If you are "doing business" in Wisconsin, you are required to register with Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions by filing a Foreign Business Corporation Certificate of Authority Application (From 21). In lieu of defining what constitutes as "doing business," the Department of Financial Institutions does provide a list of activities that are exceptions to the registration requirement.

  1. Obtain Certificate of Status

    Wisconsin requires a Certificate of Status (also known as a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Existence) from your home state issued within 60 days.

  2. Establish a Registered Agent

    Every foreign corporation authorized to transact business in Wisconsin is required to continuously maintain a registered office and registered agent in the state i.e., a domestic or foreign company incorporated in Wisconsin.

  3. Complete Certificate of Authority Application

    Complete Foreign Business Corporation Certificate of Authority Application (Form 21).

  4. File Certificate of Authority Application

    File your completed Foreign Business Corporation Certificate of Authority Application (Form 21), supporting documents and fee to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions by mail.

Wisconsin Foreign Qualification for LLC

If you are "doing business" in Wisconsin, you are required to register with Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions by filing a Foreign Limited Liability Company Certificate of Registration (From 521). In lieu of defining what constitutes as "doing business," the Department of Financial Institutions does provide a list of activities that are exceptions to the registration requirement.

  1. Obtain Certificate of Status

    Wisconsin requires a Certificate of Status (also known as a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Existence) from your home state issued within 60 days.

  2. Establish a Registered Agent

    Every foreign business authorized to transact business in Wisconsin is required to continuously maintain a registered office and registered agent in the state e.g., a domestic or foreign company incorporated in Wisconsin.

  3. Complete and File Your Certificate of Registration Online

    File your Certificate of Registration (Form 521), online with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

What else do I need to know?

Once you are registered with the Secretary of State, you may have additional requirements to maintain your "good standing" in the state. Failing to do so can result in fines, back taxes, and forfeiting certain priveleges within the state.

Maintaining a Registered Agent

Most states require that you have a registered agent that can receive important mail from the Secretary of State should they need to contact you. There are many commercial options available or you can use Mosey to be your registered agent and keep your information private in Wisconsin.

Annual Reports and Taxes

In addition to maintaining a registered agent, most states require you to file a report annually. Registration can also trigger state taxes such as a franchise tax or income tax. You can use Mosey to identify these additional requirements to maintain good standing in Wisconsin.

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