In the paragraphs that follow, we provide much and maybe even all the help and direction you need. (These instructions are up-to-date as of July 27, 2020.).
We’ve also got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” That kit provides more information about LLCs and includes a couple of free LLC operating agreements. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step in forming an LLC in Illinois, you may want to check if the LLC name you want to use is even available in the sate.
You can use the form found at
to check about name availability. A preliminary check of corporate name availability may continue to be conducted via telephone by calling (217) 524-8008.
You can also file an Application for Reservation of a Name and pay $300 per name to reserve a name for 90 days. The reservation of a corporate/LLC name is an option, not a requirement.
2. Download the LLC application form from the Illinois Department of State’s web site
Note that you must fill in this form online prior to printing. The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
Illinois also has an e-filing option. the filer of the e-filings will choose between 10 business days processing time and “Expedited” service (Cost an extra $100, for a total filing fee of $250. If forms have been filled out properly they will be turned around in 24 business hours). There are restrictions on LLCs that file online. Those restrictions and the on-line filing can be found at
Scroll down and click on “LLC Articles of Organization.”
Both versions of filing ask for the same information and follow roughly the same format. For purposes of simplicity, these instructions are for the first version (download and print) but can be used for either version.
3. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name onto the lines provided. (I used the example name, “Great Lakes Explosives LLC.”) Note that the name goes onto the first page of the form in two places and onto the second page of the form in one place. The name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of the standard abbreviations, “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Great Lakes Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Great Lakes Explosives LLC
- Great Lakes Explosives L.L.C.
4. Provide your name and address to the Secretary of State’s office
Illinois wants to know the name and contact information for a real person within the state of Illinois who the state can contact if it has questions or concerns about an LLC’s operation or if legal documents need to be served. Accordingly, enter your name and address information onto the lines that ask for this information.
5. Provide date
State whether the Articles of Organization will be effective on the filing date or at a later date not to exceed 60 days after the filing date.
6. Identify the registered agent
Illinois state wants to know the name and contact information for a real person within the state of Illinois who can act as the contact person should the state have questions or concerns about an LLC’s operation. You can pay someone else to be this registered agent, but it’s really easiest and cheapest to just be your own registered agent.
Accordingly, enter your name and address information on the lines labeled “Street Address of Registered Office,” and “Name of Registered Agent.”
7. Write the purposes for which the LLC is organized
This will be the transactions of any or all lawful business for which the LLC may be organized. In most cases, you don’t need to add anything to this part of the form.
8. Date of dissolution
If you know when the company will dissolve, provide the latest date of the event. If the LLC duration is perpetual, leave this blank.
9. Determine the management style and list names
If the LLC is managed by the managers, check box “a” and list the names and business addresses of the managers. If the LLC has management vested in the members, check box “b” and list the names and addresses of the members.
10. Give names, addresses, and signatures of the organizers
Organizers are required to sign to the accuracy of the information provided above.
11. Submit the application
After you complete the Articles of Organization document, print it (make sure organizers sign it) and mail the document and a check for $150 to:
Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
You can also deliver your articles of organization in person.
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office. Again, you can pay an additional $100 ($250 total) ($500 total for a series LLC) and file on-line to receive 24 business hours turn around.
Other Resources You Might Find Useful