UCC Basics

The Business Services Division has compiled answers to your most frequently asked UCC filing questions. Whether you are getting ready to record your first UCC financing statement or consider yourself a seasoned filer, you’ll find these filing facts and quick references helpful.

Need more filing or indexing information? Refer to our UCC Administrative Rules.

What is the filer's responsibility?

Filers are responsible for ensuring that UCC financing statements are legally sufficient, complete and accurate.

Filers are responsible for determining and correctly listing the exact legal name of the debtor.  The method of determining the correct legal name will depend on whether the debtor is an individual or an organization.

What does debtor mean?

R.I. Gen. Laws 6A-9 requires that filers identify a debtor as either an individual or an organization. Failure to identify a debtor will result in rejection.  See R.I. Gen. Laws § 6A-9-516.

If the debtor is a registered organization such as a corporation, limited partnership, or limited liability company, the legal name is the exact name under which it is organized. The best source of the correct name is to check the registration documents. Use the RI Department of State’s Corporate Search to determine the organizations legal name.  If the debtor is an “other entity” type not of record with the RI Department of State, use the name contained in the formation documents or other organization document.

If the debtor is an individual, R.I. Gen. Laws § 6A-9-503(4) should be reviewed to identify any applicable exceptions; however, in most cases, the debtor name should match the name of the individual listed on the most recently issued, not expired, RI Driver’s License or RI Identification Card.

Where can I find the forms?

If filing a paper form, the IACA National Filing Forms will be accepted for filing. Rhode Island does provide a state form for UCC11 Information Requests. Please carefully read all instructions prior to filing.

If filing electronically, all filers must use the RI Department of State UCC Electronic Filing Application.

How are the documents entered into the database?

The filing office indexes information exactly as presented on the form by the filer (including what may appear to be incorrect or extraneous information and typographical errors). The "correctness" of the name is not verified. Separate data formatting fields are established on the forms for the organization name and/or individual name. Please use the form as designed with one name per box and format individual names according to the instructions.

Only information contained on a UCC Financing Statement and corresponding addenda or optional filing forms will be indexed. Collateral is not indexed by this office.  Collateral statements from paper filings, can be viewed on the document’s PDF image provided within the UCC Database.  Collateral Statements submitted with an electronic filing are also viewable within the UCC Database.  Information contained on separate attachment pages will not be reviewed or indexed.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 6A-9-520(d) states that the information contained in a financing statement applies to each debtor separately. If a filing contains more than one debtor but gives either incomplete or illegible information for one of the debtors, the filing will be accepted. Only the complete and legible information will be indexed and reflected in the acknowledgment letter. An amendment or new financing statement will be required to add the remaining debtor information.

Where do I file a UCC filing?

Fixture and as-extracted collateral or timber to be cut filings may be submitted to the municipality where the mortgages of real property are filed. All other collateral filings, including those for consumer goods, crops growing, transmitting utilities, and manufactured homes, may be filed with the RI Department of State, Business Services Division.

UCC Article 9 dictates the proper place to file is where the debtor is located. For debtors that are not individuals, the creditor should file in the state where the debtor’s business is registered or where the principal place of business is located. If there is more than one location, the creditor should file where the chief executive office is located. If the debtor is an individual, the creditor should file in the state of the debtor’s principal residence.

Financing statements covering a Rhode Island public finance transaction or RI manufactured home transaction may be filed in the RI Department State, Business Services Division.

For how long is a financing statement effective?

UCC Article 9 dictates a financing statement is effective for five years and lapses unless continued. The record remains active for one year after it lapses and is searchable in UCC database for that period of time.

Lapsed financing statements that exceed their lapse (expiration) date by more than a year can be accessed using the link “to search lapsed filings” at the top of the UCC database.

Financing statements that cover RI manufactured home transactions or RI public finance transactions are effective for thirty years. Financing statements that cover transmitting utilities do not lapse until terminated by all secured parties of record.

How can I search a filing?

A record is searchable if the status is active in the UCC database.

Termination statements do not change the status of a record in the index – except for transmitting utilities financing statements which lapse upon the filing of a termination. The termination statement will be indexed to the associated filing and will be included in a search of the debtor.

Searches may contain records that are both active (unlapsed) and lapsed. Records remain available for searching until becoming inactive (lapsed more than one year past its lapse date) and are purged from active index. Lapsed records can be searched using the “lapsed filing” UCC database.

Need some tips?

There are no debtor or secured party signatures required when filing an initial financing statement or amendment under Article 9.

Unless a document contains any of the reasons for rejection identified in R.I. Gen. Laws § 6A-9-516, it will be accepted for filing.

UCC Article 9 provides the debtor the ability to file a statement indicating that a filing is inaccurate or was wrongfully filed. The Information Statement (UCC-5) was designed for this purpose and will be accepted for filing by the Secretary of State’s office. If properly completed, the statement will be indexed; however, no other information will be changed or removed.  The filing of a UCC-5 does not affect the status of a UCC financing statement.