California Corporation & LLC Filing Status

By Michael Banner - Feb 7, 2013     


Update (06/12/13)!
California Secretary of State has caught up. As of today, "in person" filings are taking 5 to 10 business days! This is a vast improvement over the one month plus that I reported in February.  I’ve also updated this in Filing Time grid below.


Are you finding your California Corporation or LLC Filing Status to be REALLY slow lately?  You’re not alone!  Most California small biz owners attempting to form a new INC or LLC, or making changes to their existing INC or LLC, have found big delays in their filing times.  Anyone who has filed a corporation or LLC with the California Secretary of State this time of year would be familiar with this problem.  With high franchise taxes, many wait till the new year to start their entities, causing a glut a filings and delayed filng times at the CA SOS.  However, this year, INC and LLC filing times are slower then ever.   With gigantic budget deficits causing larger cuts to staffing and antiqueted processing methods, the Secretary of State is not only behind, they are falling further behind every day.


There are many reasons for the delay, more importantly is understanding what kind of filing times you can expect and what

your options are, if any, to improve your filing times with the state.  This page was set up to do just that.  We will also attempt to update this page often so that the information is most timely.


Methods of Filing

Your filing time or Processing Time (as the CA SOS refers to it) is dependent upon your method of filing.  The state offers three methods of filing, which we have outlined below along with, their corresponding additional cost to upgrade from “Standard” SmallBiZ Filing Service to another method, and the estimated filing time.


Filing Service


Addl. Cost*


Filing Time

As of 6/12/13

Standard (AKA “by mail”)




4 Weeks

Expedite (AKA “in person”)




5 to 10 business Days





Next Business Day

* Addl. Cost indicates the additional amount you would pay to change your filing method from “Standard” SmallBiZ Filing Service (normally $25) to another method.


Filing Method Details

All California filngs, except corporation annual reports, are done by paper, physically sent to the Secretary of State’s Sacramento office (some filings can be done at one of their district offices).


Standard (by mail) Filing

With this filing, physical documents are prepared and sent to the CA SOS.  After filtering through their mail room, they are “stamped in” and worked on in the order they were received.  Once approved, the file stamped articles are returned via a self addressed stamped envelope. 

Current ESTIMATED Turnaround Time = 2 or maybe 3+ months


Expedited (in person) Filing

This filing is hand carried and delivered in person, with a $15 over-the-counter fee, to the CA SOS.  It is also processed in the order it is stamped in, and when approved, the file-stamped articles are made available for pick-up.  Traditionally, this filing have been faster than a Standard Filing because of the additional fee, lack of mail room delays, and more staffing.  Lately, “in person” filings have not been that much faster than “by mail” filings. Current ESTIMATED

Turnaround Time = 6 to 8 weeks or more


Rush Filings

Although very expensive, Rush Filings offer the only opportunity to turn around a filing quickly. 

Current Turnaround Time = 1 business day


Updated Processing Times

Again, the state provides a daily update as to the files they are currently working (based on the “stamped in” date).  To view the state’s current processing times, go HERE.


Change your filing method

Once your filing has been submitted to the California Secretary of State, you cannot cancel it.  You also cannot change from Standard to Expedited service.  However, you can add Rush Service to either Standard or Expedited Service in most cases.


About Michael Banner
  CEO & Founder of, created over twenty years ago to help small business owners simplify the process of starting & managing their small businesses. now serves over 10,000 businesses per year with various filing and subscription services; in addition to the 1000's of daily visitors to, accessing free services, help pages, & educational videos & webinars.