Service of Process

Corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships are required by statute to designate an agent for service of process.

The Business Search contains abstracts of certain information relating to corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships based on the most current filings that are of record in this office, including the name and address of the agent for service of process, if any.

However, serving the designated agent is not the only method of serving a particular business entity with process. The Code of Civil Procedure and Corporations Code provide multiple methods for direct service and for substituted service of process. Please refer to the following code sections for further information:

Substituted service of process through the Secretary of State's office may be made upon a business entity if:

  • Attempts at direct service of process have been unsuccessful;
  • Attempts at direct service have been proven to the court to be reasonably diligent; and
  • 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 process (generally the summons and complaint) to be served;
    • A copy of the court order permitting the service; and
    • The statutory $50.00 fee.

Substituted service of process in this manner is not permitted by mail. The order, process to be served and $50.00 fee must be hand delivered to our public counter in Sacramento office during regular business hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays ), at 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Room 390.