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Maryland Foreign Corporation

A foreign corporation is a corporation that’s formed in one state, but conducts business in another. In other words, if you own a corporation in a state other than Maryland but want to conduct business here, you’ll need to register as a Foreign Corporation with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).

“Foreign” in this case just means out-of-state. Keep reading to find out:

Register A Foreign Corporation
in Maryland Today!

We’ll cover everything you need to
officially do business in Maryland for:


This includes state fees, one year of registered agent service,
and our service fee of $100. Plus the cost of a
Certificate of Good Standing in your state.

Who has to register as a Foreign Corporation in Maryland?

Corporations formed outside of Maryland that plan to conduct business in Maryland must register with SDAT as a Maryland Foreign Corporation. Easy enough, right? If you’re opening a new shop or restaurants in Maryland, it’s pretty clear your corporation is doing business in Maryland and must foreign register. However, the concept of “doing business” isn’t always straightforward.

What does “doing business” mean in Maryland?

Your company is considered to be doing business in Maryland if it conducts sales, owns an office, or manufactures good there. Still seem vague? Unfortunately, like many states Maryland doesn’t explicitly define what it means to “do business” in MD. It does, however, offer examples of what is NOT considered doing business (MD Corp & Assn Code § 9A-1108):

  • Defending or settling legal suits
  • Holding business meetings
  • Maintaining bank accounts
  • Making an isolated transaction
  • Foreclosing on a mortgage
  • Acquiring a property title in lieu of foreclosure
  • Renting or maintaining property
  • Selling of transferring the title of a property

If you still have questions, it’s a good idea to contact a business or tax expert.

How to Register a Maryland Foreign Corporation

You’ll have to apply for foreign qualification in Maryland to conduct business here. But there are a few extra steps along the way. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Secure a Registered Agent

Most businesses registered with SDAT are required to have a Maryland Registered Agent, Foreign Corporations included. (Maryland refers to this as a “resident agent,” but it’s the same thing.) The registered agent in your home state won’t cut it for Maryland, since your registered agent here needs to be located in Maryland and available (in person) to receive service of process on your behalf.

Want reliable and affordable service? We offer professional Registered Agent Service for just $49 a year.

2. Get a Certificate of Good Standing

SDAT will want to see proof that your company is fit to do business, which mostly means you’re caught up on all taxes and fees in your home state. A Certificate of Good Standing does that. It’s a document certified by your home state that shows your corporation is “in good standing” there. Some states call this a Certificate of Existence—it’s the same thing.

When you register your Foreign Corporation with us, we take care of tracking down your Certificate of Good Standing for you!

3. Submit a Foreign Corporation Qualification Form

In order to legally conduct business in Maryland as a Foreign Corporation you simply have to submit a Foreign Corporation Qualification form to SDAT, and pay the state’s $100 filing fee. Here what that form must entail:

  • Legal name in your home state
  • State of formation
  • Address of your corporation
  • Name and address of Resident Agent (registered agent)
  • Address of your corporation’s principal office in MD (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of whether or not your corporation has already conducted business in MD (if so, you must pay a fine of $200)
  • Original signature of your corporation’s President or Vice President
  • Original signature from your Resident Agent

The Corporations Division of the Maryland Secretary of State will send you your Certificate of Authority after your paperwork is processed.

Note: If you are re-registering as a Foreign Corporation in Maryland, you’ll need to include your SDAT ID number.

How do I send my foreign qualification form to SDAT?

You can submit your information online, in person or by mail. (The state prefers online applications, but it’s up to you.)

Online: Maryland Business Express

In Person or By Mail:
Charter Division
State Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 West Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, MD 21201

Can I expedite my filing with SDAT?

Absolutely. SDAT offers three different filing options:

  • Non-Expedited Processing: 6-8 weeks (FREE)
  • Expedited Filing: 10 business days ($50)
  • Rush Filing: 3 hours ($425)

For rush service, your documents must be filed before 2:30 p.m., otherwise they’ll be reviewed the following business day.

Your Best Option for Maryland Foreign Corporation Registration

Let us register your Maryland Foreign Corporation for you!

We’ll take care of everything—including getting your Certificate of Good Standing—for just $100 plus registered agent service and state fees. Here’s how it breaks down:

State Filing Fee (plus credit card processing)$155
One Year of Registered Agent Service$49
Certificate of Good Standing (varies by state)$0-50
Our Service Fee$100

Once the state processes your documents, we email digital copies of the filed documents and mail the original filed documents to you. Plus, your certification from the state will always be accessible through your online account.

Still want to file foreign registration documents yourself?

We get it. Filing paperwork yourself will save you some dough, in which case you can sign up with us for Maryland Resident Agent Service. At just $49 a year (every year), our registered agent service is the best bargain in the state.