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Service of Process

Service Requirements for Serving Entities Through the Ohio Secretary of State

Business Entities

Our business search system contains information on business entities 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.  Service may be made upon the current agent at the address of record, however, in certain situations, serving the agent is not the only method of serving a particular business entity with process, and may not be possible for various reasons.  Ohio law permits multiple methods of service.  Please refer to the following code sections for further information related to serving entities through the Ohio Secretary of State :

All documents may be mailed to the following address:
Ohio Secretary of State
Attn:  Paralegal Division – Service of Process
180 E. Broad St., 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Ohio Corporations For  Profit (1701.07)*; Ohio Limited Liability Companies (1705.06); Registered  Partnerships (1776.07); Business Trusts (1746.11); Real Estate Investment Trusts (1747.07); and Professional Associations (1785.08) all require:

To serve one of these entities through our office, please provide:

  1. An affidavit stating the most recent known address for the entity and one of the following reasons why service could not be obtained on the statutory agent:
    1. Entity failed to maintain an agent;
    2. Agent cannot be found; or
    3. Agent’s address is no longer valid
  2. $5 per entity to be served
  3. 4 copies of the summons/complaint for each entity being served

*Per 1701.07(O), this office cannot serve banks, trust companies, insurance companies, or any corporation defined under the laws of this state as a public utility for taxation purposes.  If this office receives process, notice or demand for any of these entities it will be rejected.

Ohio Nonprofit Corporation (1702.06); and
Cooperative Associations (1729.06) require:

  1. An affidavit stating the most recent known address for the entity and one of the following reasons why service could not be obtained on the statutory agent:
    1. Entity failed to maintain an agent;
    2. Agent cannot be found; or
    3. Agent’s address is no longer valid
  2. $5 per entity to be served
  3. 3 copies of the summons/complaint for each entity being served

Licensed Foreign Corporations (1703.19) require:

  1. $5 per entity being served
  2. 4 copies of summons/complaint for each entity being served

Unlicensed Foreign Corporations (1703.191) require:

  1. An affidavit that states the last known address of the unlicensed corporation
  2. $5 per entity to be served

Foreign Limited Liability Companies (1705.54);
Registered Foreign Limited Partnerships (1782.49);
Unlicensed Foreign Limited Liability Companies (1705.58);
Unregistered Foreign Limited Partnerships (1782.54); and
Unregistered Foreign Limited Liability Partnerships (1776.87):
The Secretary of State accepts service of process for each of these entity types and service is complete upon acceptance by this office.  Nothing beyond the summons/complaint is necessary for service to made to this office.

Note: The Secretary of State does not accept service for the following entities:

  • Unregistered General Partnerships
  • Domestic Limited Partnerships
  • Domestic Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Registered Foreign Limited Liability Partnerships

Service for these entities is provided for in Civil Rule 4.2(H).

Please note:  Pursuant to ORC 4123.753, any notice served upon the Secretary of State for an employer under ORC 4123.752 in a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation proceeding requires a $2 fee.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Service Requirements for Motor Vehicle Accidents under ORC 2703.20:
ORC 2703.20 allows the Secretary of State’s office to be served in certain cases involving motor vehicle accidents.  Service is allowable through this office if all of the following requirements have been met:

  • The defendant is a nonresident or a resident who subsequently becomes a nonresident or conceals his whereabouts
  • The defendant is the operator or owner of any motor vehicle involved in the accident
  • The accident/collision occurred in Ohio.

Each of these requirements must be exhibited in the documents delivered to this office.  If one of these is not clear on the face of the complaint, then this office will accept an affidavit from counsel that states why this statute applies (i.e., an affidavit that states that the named defendant has concealed his/her whereabouts ).

If these requirements are not met, this office will reject service and return the documents to the court in which the summons originated, with a letter explaining why the summons and complaint failed to meet the requirements of ORC 2703.20 for service upon this office.

Please mail these documents related to Motor Vehicle Accidents to the following address:
Ohio Secretary of State
Legal Counsel – Motor Vehicle Accident Service of Process
180 E. Broad St., 16th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215