How to Effectuate Service of Process on a Corporation through the Secretary of State 

In addition to the other methods prescribed by law, the Secretary of State of a given State acts as the statutory agent for service of process for corporations under certain circumstances. 

 

When permissible, service of process on a corporation may be accomplished by serving through the Secretary of State. Each state has their own rules and procedures for service of process through the Secretary of State that must be followed in order to effectuate proper service by this means. 

Hiring a professional process server to serve a corporation through the Secretary of State is an important step in proceeding with any legal action. Process servers have the skills and experience to serve legal documents in a timely manner and, most importantly, serve them in accordance with the local and state process serving laws.

The general procedures for Service of Process on a Corporation via the Secretary of State for the below States are as follows: 

California — The California Secretary of State allows substituted service of process through their office upon a business entity only if: 

(1) Attempts at direct service of process have been unsuccessful;
(2) Attempts at direct service have been proven to the court to be reasonably diligent;
(3) The court issues an order that service can be made upon the entity by hand delivering to the Secretary of State's office in Sacramento, as substituted service of process upon the entity, the following:

  • A copy of the legal documents to be served;

  • A copy of the court order allowing the service; and

  • The statutory fee in the amount of $50.00.

Service by mail is not permitted. It must be done in person. The legal documents together with the court order, and the $50.00 statutory fee must be hand delivered to the public counter at the Sacramento office at 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Room 390. 

Service of Process via the California Secretary of State

Florida — The Florida Division of Corporations accepts Substitue Service of Process under Chapter 48 of the Florida Statutes. There are specific procedures which must be following in order to serve an entity properly via the Florida Secretary of State as follows

(1) The original Summons and Complaint is required together with a copy. 

(2) The exact name of the defendant being served in care of the Secretary of State

(3) A cover letter indicating the specific section under Chapter 48, F.S., (e.d., 48.161, 48.181) that allows the service to be made upon the Division of Corporations. 

(4) An affidavit of service from a process server as evidence of prior attempted service.

(5) A check payable to the "Department of State" in the amount of $8.75, per defendant.

Service of Process via the Florida Secretary of State

Nevada — The Nevada Secretary of State may accept Service of Process on behalf of certain entities under specific circumstances. When permissible, the legal documents together with the required statutory fee and a cover letter indicating the filing authority for service as well as the exact name of the entity being served can be made in person or by mail at one of the following two location: Secretary of State Meyers Annex Office located at 202 N. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701 or at the Secretary of State Las Vegas Satellite Office located at North Las Vegas City Hall, 2250 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 1st Floor (or Suite 400 if sent by mail), North Las Vegas, NV 89030

Service of Process via the Nevada Secretary of State

New York — The New York Secretary of State is the statutory agent for service of process on most business entities which are formed or are conducting business in the State. There are specific procedures which must be following in order to serve an entity properly via the New York Secretary of State as follows

(1) Identify the name of the exact entity to be served

(2) Obtain the DOS Search Page for the entity to be served

(3) Properly complete the Service of Process Cover Sheet for the entity to be served

(4) Deliver in person two identical copies of the legal documents to be served together with the DOS Search Page, Service of Process Cover Sheet and the applicable statutory fee in the amount of $40 to the Office of the New York Department of State, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231.

Additionally, it is important to note the following regarding service of process via the New York Secretary of State:

  • The New York Secretary of State will only accept service of process for cases with a venue in New York State.

  • The New York Secretary of State does not accept witness fees. Any required witness fee must be sent to the respondent under separate cover.

  • Service by mail is not permitted. It must be done in person. 

Service of Process via the New York Secretary of State

 

Instructions for Service of Process on the New York Secretary of State as Agent for Domestic or Foreign Entities

New Jersey — The New Jersey Department of Treasury may accept service of process on behalf of certain entities under the following circumstances: 

(1) A search must be conducted and a Business Entity Status Report must be obtained to verify that the entity if registered with the New Jersey Department of Treasury. 

(2) Service must first be attempted at the address listed Business Entity Status Report.

(3) Should service not be succesful at the address listed Business Entity Status Report, then you may proceed with service of process through the New Jersey Department of Treasury. 

The following must be included to effectuate service of process on an entity through the New Jersey Department of Treasury

  • The legal documents for service

  • An affidavit of non-service detailing the unsuccessful attempts made to serve the entity at the address listed Business Entity Status Report,

  • A copy of the Business Entity Status Report.

  • A check payable to the "Treasurer State of New Jersey" in the amount of $75 for LLC's or $25 for corporations. 

All of the above should be delivered to the New Jersey Division of Revenue located at 33 West State Street, Fifth Floor Trenton, NJ 08608 in order to effectuate service.

Additionally, the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance is authorized to accept certain Service of Process on insurance companies and banking institutions admitted in the State of New Jersey. 

Texas — The Texas Secretary of State may accept Service of Process on behalf of certain entities under specific circumstances. When permissible, the legal documents together with the required statutory fee in the amount of $55 may be delivered to the Texas Secretary of State located at the James E. Rudder Building, 1019 Brazos, Room 105, Austin, Texas 78701.

Service of Process via the Texas Secretary of State

Service of Process on corporations through the Secretary of State can be an effective means to effectuate service when applicable. It is important to comply with a given States requirements in order to ensure proper service of process on the entity if it is being done through their respective Secretary of State. 

As detailed above, the procedures for service of process on corporations through the Secretary of State vary substantially from state to state. Each state has their own rules and regulations that must be followed precisely in order to successfully accomplish service on an entity by this means.

Therefore, It is important to hire a professional process server who is familiar with the State's rules and regulations to ensure your documents are served property through the Secretary of State thereby allowing your case to proceed. 

We Serve Law LLC has the experience necessary to assist with serving a corporation through the Secretary of State. Our team is very diligent, responsive and takes pride in their work. We will be glad to provide exemplary customer service and serve documents for you anywhere Nationwide. Please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email for your service of process needs.

Disclaimer

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the law, there may be times when the material on this page is not current. We have made every effort to provide complete and accurate information of the general rules governing service of process on the Secretary of State. However, we cannot guarantee the current accuracy of the above listed content, it is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. We assume no liability whatsoever and will not be held responsible directly or indirectly for any damages resulting from any errors, omissions, inaccuracies or your reliance on this partial information.