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Start or qualify to do business in Rhode Island

Start a business or non-profit in Rhode Island

+ Step 1: Assess your readiness
+ Step 2: Choose your business structure

Choosing the legal structure for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make when starting your business. Below you can learn more about the different types of business entities.

The information our office distributes is not meant to replace professional advice, please seek an attorney and/or an accountant when starting a business.

+ Step 3: Choose your business name

Utilizing the Name Availability Guidelines you can search our Corporate database to determine if your preferred business name is available for use in this state. DISCLAIMER: Names in this database only include businesses that are registered with the Department of State including:

  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Non-Profits
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
Because sole proprietors and general partnerships are not registered with the Department of State, we are unable to check those for name availability.

+ Step 4: Find forms for your business

Now you are ready to use our interactive business assistant designed to create a personalized task list of the local, state and federal points of contact needed to start a non-profit or business in Rhode Island. The task list also provides rules, regulations, applications and instructions to help guide this process.

Business Forms and Tasks Non-profit Forms and Tasks Manage Your Saved Forms and Tasks

For answers to questions regarding licensing requirements contact the agency listed in the specific form or task within the task list. You MUST contact each agency to ensure that your business is fully compliant.


Qualifying to conduct business in Rhode Island

+ Step 1: Qualifying statutory requirements

This office is unable to legally advise whether any entity qualifies to conduct business in Rhode Island. We suggest your entity’s legal staff review the statutes listed below to determine whether qualifying to conduct business in Rhode Island is in your businesses best interest.

Foreign Business Corporations Foreign Limited Liability Company
Foreign Non-Profit Corporations Foreign Limited Partnerships
Foreign Limited Liability Partnerships
+ Step 2: Obtaining evidence

A Certificate of Good Standing from the state where you formed your business must accompany your application. For foreign non-profits, a certified copy of the Articles of Organization and all Amendments must accompany the application.

Link to your State’s Issuing Authority Foreign Entities Qualifying in Rhode Island.

+ Step 3: Determine availability of your business name

Utilizing the Name Availability Guidelines you can search our Corporate database to determine if your business name is available for use in this state. DISCLAIMER: Names in this database only include businesses that are registered with the Department of State including:

  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Non-Profits
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships

Because sole proprietors and general partnerships are not registered with the Department of State, we are unable to check those for name availability.

+ Step 4: Find forms for your business

Now you are ready to use our interactive business assistant designed to create a personalized task list of all the local, state and federal points of contact needed to qualify a non-profit or business in Rhode Island. The task list also provides rules, regulations, applications and instructions to help guide your process.

Business Forms and Tasks Non-profit Forms and Tasks Manage Your Saved Forms and Tasks

For licensing requirement questions you will need to contact the agency listed in the specific form or task within the task list. You MUST contact each agency to ensure that your business if fully compliant.