A company's formation documents are always stored in the state's archives. These documents only certify that the organization was duly formed. However, these documents do not certify the organization's current status with the State. A Certificate of Existence certifies the current existence of the organization. Therefore, in most cases the Certicate of Existence is valid for up to three months.
In many foreign countries a different system of State corporate records is implemented, thus the Certificate of Existence is a very unique document to the the United States. In the United States, in order for a business to receive a Certificate of Existence from the Secretary of State, the entity needs to: