Registered Offices in the US and UK
Many of our clients assume that a US registered office functions just like a registered office in the UK. However, a US registered office serves a much more limited role in the US than in it does in the UK.
Almost all US states require a company doing business in its state to appoint a “registered agent” who has a “registered office” within that state. The registered agent’s primary purpose is to accept service of process – think, lawsuits – on behalf of your company. This requirement is the natural consequence of our federal system of government, in which each state is a semi-autonomous body politic with limited authority to exercise power over people and corporations outside of their borders.
In contrast to the UK, in the US the registered address is not required on websites, business cards, letterheads, invoices, or the like. In fact, it’s not even appropriate. Instead, a company’s “principal place of business” (which may or may not be the registered office address) is used in all such public facing documents. Th registered office address, instead, is used almost exclusively during registration to give notice of the in-state address to which service of process can be delivered.