Service of Process Filing Procedures

About Legal Process Service

West Virginia Code and the West Virginia Supreme Court Rules of Civil Procedure assign the duty of service of process on specific businesses, persons and other entities to the Secretary of State. All service made by the Secretary of State is made by certified or registered mail. See the summary below for an overview of the information about serving legal process on a defendant.

It is the responsibility of the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney to decide how to file, prepare the filing correctly, and file in a timely manner. Only the courts can determine whether service is valid. The Secretary of State will not accept filings which are clearly incomplete or improper, but acceptance of a filing for service is no guarantee that the courts will find service valid.

Preparing the Filing

Naming the Defendant

If the defendant is an authorized corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or limited partnership, you must obtain:

  • the exact name of the company; and
  • the name and address of its agent of process.

Important - If the name is not entered exactly as it is filed with the Secretary of State, the filing will be returned. The case should be organized and prepared ready to deliver to the defendant.

To obtain the exact company name and agent name and address:

  1. Search the Business Organizations Database, or
  2. Call (304) 558-8000 and ask for the Process Division.

If the defendant is a company based in another state and not registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State, you must provide an address where the notice can be expected to reach the defendant, or the last known address. The Secretary of State will not accept a filing that does not contain a reasonably complete address.

Number of Copies

For each defendant to be served, file one original summons and two copies of the summons and complaint and other papers to be filed. One copy will be mailed to the defendant, the original will be mailed to the circuit clerk of the county (or magistrate clerk, if applicable), and one copy will remain on file with the Secretary of State's Process Division.

Fees

  • $20.00 for each defendant located in the United States
  • $30.00 for each defendant located outside the United States
  • Certified Copies: $15.00 certification fee plus photocopy fee of $1.00 for first page and $0.50 for each additional page

See Fee Schedule for complete list of fees.

See Ordering and Payment for ordering and payment information.

Important Reminder When Submitting Service of Process!

  • When submitting any Service of Process documents, summonses/complaints, notice to redeem, etc., please make sure that you submit one original of the process, notice, or demand and two copies of the process, notice or demand for each defendant.

  • Copies sent to this office must be legible in order to be read and scanned as images. If our office does not receive the one original and two copies, or if the copies are not legible, then the documents will be returned to you for proper resubmission, which may cause a delay in service.

  • The only exception to the above is with regard to a class action suit in which all defendants are to be served with the same process, notice or demand, service may be made by filing with the Secretary of State the original process, notice or demand and one copy for each named defendant.

Mailing or Delivering the Filing to Secretary of State

Delivery Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

West Virginia Secretary of State
Process Division

1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Building 1, Suite 157-K
Charleston, WV 25305

Contact the Service of Process Division for further assistance regarding service of process through Secretary of State.


If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us:  304.558.8000   toll free 866.767.8683  email:   Process@wvsos.gov