Service by Secretary of State

Use our convenient online Status Check to find the current status of service of process made through the Secretary of State.

Brief descriptions of service which can be accepted by the Secretary of State are included below. For actual code citations, see WV Code and Rules.

Remember --- The court will decide whether requirements for acceptable service have been met. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney to file properly and within time limits. This information is designed to give basic information on filing, not to replace the research and judgment of a plaintiff's attorney.

How Correct Filings are Handled
  1. When a proper request for service is filed, the Secretary of State sends the "Notice" to each defendant by certified mail. At the customer's request, service can be made by certified mail, restricted delivery. Service on a defendant out of the country will be made by registered mail.
  2. For authorized businesses which are registered with our office (such as corporations and other entities required to file with the Secretary of State), a notice of service is forwarded to the clerk of circuit court or magistrate court of the appropriate county at the time of filing.
  3. The following records are maintained on each defendant for each civil action:
    • The date of service
    • If the service was accepted:
      • The date the certified electronic certification was signed (if signed)
      • The name of the person who signed
How Incomplete or Incorrect Filings are Handled
  1. In most cases, we will return the entire filing to the sender when:
    • The filing is incorrect, for example:
      • The filing contains the wrong corporate name
      • No address or an incomplete address is provided
      • It is directed to a defendant which the Secretary of State is not authorized to serve
    • The filing is incomplete
    • The payment is insufficient
  2. Because we are required to process checks before the division receives the work for processing, we often cannot tell that the filing must be rejected before the check is processed.
    • If the filing cannot be accepted because the defendant cannot be served, we will return the filing and order a refund immediately. Refunds may take 20 to 40 days.
    • If the filing needs corrections, we will return the filing but hold the payment for 30 days awaiting the corrected filing. If the filing is not received in 60 days, a refund will be requested.
    • If the payment is insufficient, we will return the filing but hold the partial payment for 60 days awaiting the filing and the balance due. If it is not received by that time, a refund will be requested.
    • If the payment is more than is due, we will complete service, and a refund for the excess will be ordered. Refunds may take 20 to 40 days.

Defendants That May Be Served by the Secretary of State
See a list of defendants who may be served by the Secretary of State.

Did you find the type of defendant you want to serve?
If not, go to Other Types of Service for information on serving individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships and others.

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: