California LLC Name Search in 2023

Why is it Important to Conduct a California LLC Name Search?

Before establishing a California LLC, every company should conduct a California Business Name Search.

In conclusion, the website for the California Secretary of State includes an intuitive business entity search as part of its overall layout. Using this tool, people may look for entities of the following types: corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships (LLP).

People have the option of searching by entity number or name (corporate, LLC, LP, LLP). In addition, the Secretary of State’s office specifically states that this California business search tool is not intended to be used to check for availability. Separate from California business entity search, the office has a whole procedure for checking the availability of a particular business name, which is detailed in full on this website.

In the section below, we’ll explain how to use the California Secretary of State Entity Search to determine whether an LLC name is available.

Follow California Naming Guidelines

Before you finish your business name search, we advise checking sure your business name complies with the rules.

The first and most crucial step in forming an LLC is selecting a business name. Make sure the name you select conforms with California’s naming regulations and may be found online by potential customers.

Your name must contain the words “limited liability company” or one of its acronyms, either LLC or L.L.C..

Additionally, no phrases that may be mistaken for those of a governmental entity in your LLC name (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).

If the word “restricted”, such as “bank,” “attorney,” or “university” is used, it may be necessary for your LLC to include a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer.

Additionally, phrases that are illegal under California law cannot be used in your LLC name. For example, you cannot act as though your California LLC is a representative of the government. The terms police, fire department, federal, government, United States of America, city, town, or county are not permitted.

In other words, you cannot use an LLC name that would deceive the general public.

Furthermore, you don’t just have to file your LLC and trust that the business name is legal. You can contact the California Secretary of State’s LLC Department at 916-653-3794 if you have questions about the regulations governing LLC names.

You may read California’s Code of Regulations for a comprehensive list of business name regulations.

Comma in California LLC Name

California LLC names may contain or not contain commas. The Secretary of State approves of both.

For instance, if “Orange Grove Brewery” is the business name you choose for your company, you can create an LLC under one of the following names: Breweries called Orange Grove LLC and Orange Grove Brewery, LLC

Or, there are other possibilities in California besides having “LLC” as your designator (the ending).

California LLC Designator

Your California LLC must have one of the following designations (“endings”) in accordance with Section 17701.08(a): LLC , L.L.C. , Ltd. Liability Co. , Limited Liability Co. , Ltd. Liability Company , Limited Liability Company

Do a California Business Name Search

Use the California Business Entity Search to see if the name you want is available before submitting a name reservation request. Select the proper “Search Type,” then enter the desired name, avoiding identifiers such as “LLC,” to carry out the most efficient search.

All entities with the same or similar names will be returned by this. If your company name consists of many words, you may even limit your search to the first two words to guarantee that you find every name that might be similar.

Before submitting your documentation, be sure to conduct a comprehensive search to prevent rejection.

California corporation search name status

Looking through the list of search results to see if any expired names would match the firm is one technique to come up with ideas if a company is having trouble coming up with a solid business name.

Imagine, for instance, if someone wants to build a brand-new pizza shop. They might then type “Pizza” into the search area to produce a list of possibilities based on the results of the company status search:

Based on their classification, the status description will provide California business owners suggestions for possible names:


Shows that the California business is in compliance with the law and that the name is not already used.

Canceled/SOS Cancelled

Because the filing fee was not paid, the state of California terminated the formation. Call the Secretary of State’s office at (916) 653-6814 if there is a name you are interested in and want to check if it is accessible in certain circumstances.


The Secretary of State has stopped the use of the company name because the Statement of Information was not submitted. It is suggested that you get in touch with the SOS’s office to double-check whether these names are still available.

Expired name/Inactive/Dissolved

If they have neglected to submit the requisite Statement of Information and other state regulations, their names are often accessible. If there is a name that interests you, make sure to get permission from the SOS’s office before continuing.

Search Available Domain Names

Whether or not your preferred web domain name is available should be taken into account while choosing a business name. It’s crucial to have a URL that accurately reflects the name of your company. This apparently insignificant action can have a significant impact on how potential clients discover your company.

Use your favourite domain registration, such as GoDaddy, to do an internet search to find out if your desired URL is accessible.

Search by name

Step 1

Navigate to the business search page, choose whether you’re looking for a corporation or an LLC/LLP/LP, then choose Search. If you’d prefer to search by name rather than business entity number, put the name you want to use in the search box and hit Enter.

Step 2

When the CA SOS search is finished, a list of outcomes containing every entity matching the original search phrase or terms will be displayed. The names of the entities will be shown, along with the california business entity number, date of filing, status, and agent for service of process.

To view the entire page of information about the business entity, select the relevant entity name (in black).

Step 3

Once chosen, the following information is available for each California business entity: Entity name, Entity number, Date filed, Status, Jurisdiction, Entity address, Agent for service of process, agent address.

Search by California Business Entity Number (8 Digits)

Please go to the California business search site, enter the eight digit entity number (always starting with a “c”), in the format Cxxxxxxxx, then click Search to search the entity list by entity number.

You will receive a list of outcomes from the search for the entered number. Please choose the name of the entity if you would like further information about it and wait to be redirected.

Reserve Your California Business Entity Name

All LLC name inquiries and requests are handled by the Secretary of State’s Business Entities Division in California. Reservations for company names are permitted in California for 60 days. Reservations may be renewed, but not for 60-day intervals that follow each other.

Every sixty-day cycle must be separated by at least one day. Applications are now only accepted by mail or in-person drop-off at the Sacramento or Los Angeles regional offices of the Secretary of State. You cannot reserve a company name online or send emails.

There is a filing fee that you must pay in order to reserve your name. Make checks payable to the “Secretary of State” alone. Applications that are dropped out in person are subject to an extra special handling charge that has to be paid by a separate check.

While reserving the name for your California LLC is simple, there are a few additional considerations you should make while deciding on the ideal name for your company. To check if your name may be used online, you could wish to do a trademark and social media search. By doing this, you may make sure that you can use your company name without limitations.

Trademark Search

Before registering, conducting a trademark search on your company name and any related slogans or emblems will help you avoid expensive future lawsuits. If you later learn that another company has trademarked your company name, you are not immediately forbidden from using it.

To ensure you do not unintentionally violate anyone’s intellectual property rights, it is crucial to be aware of who is using the name, what business they are in, and where they are situated.

Check the trademark records of California to determine whether another company in your state is already using your company name or any associated slogans, logos, or other items. Then lookup any federally registered trademarks connected to your company name in the electronic records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Social Media Search

Making sure your company name is accessible for usage on social media platforms is just as crucial—if not more so—than choosing a domain name that matches your operation. You may accomplish this by just conducting a name-only search for your company on each major website, or you can use a tool like Namecheckr to simultaneously search across all platforms.

How Do I Reserve an LLC Name in California

If you want to reserve a name for your LLC but aren’t ready to create it yet, you may do so by submitting a Name Reservation Request form. This will reserve the name for up to 60 days. The reservation fee is $10.


How do I register a California Fictitious Business Name?

For companies and LLCs registered in California, information is available in the Secretary of State Business Entity Database. The County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is situated is where sole proprietorships and general partnerships register their names because there is no central registry.

A fictitious business name, often called “doing business as,” “DBA,” “assumed name,” or “trade name,” is one that is registered by a sole proprietorship or partnership that does business under a name other than the owner’s legal identity.

How do I form a California LLC?

Make sure the name is accessible to use by doing a business entity search prior to launching your company and creating an LLC. Learn how to create a California LLC after confirming that the desired LLC name is available.

An Operating Agreement, which essentially lays out the guidelines for how the LLC functions, is a document worth examining, especially for multi-member LLCs, even if it is not needed in California.

Be careful to apply for California business permits and receive an Employer Identification Number after creating a Limited Liability Company (EIN). This serves as the company’s “social security number.” One may be obtained free of charge from the IRS.

What conditions must be met in California before naming an LLC?

The name of the LLC must be distinct, include a special designator like Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and not contain terms that are prohibited, such as bank or insurance, unless the business is authorized to do so.

Can you reserve the name of an LLC in California?

If you want to reserve a name for your LLC but aren’t ready to create it yet, you may do so by submitting a Name Reservation Request form. This will reserve the name for up to 60 days. The reservation fee is $10.

What are the naming restrictions in California?

Those suggested names that could lead the public astray are restricted by the California Secretary of State. Examples of this include names that suggest a connection to the government, such as “Commission, Bureau, Municipal.”

Should I file a California DBA?

Doing business as (DBA), often known as a trade name, is a fictional company name used by firms in addition to their official LLC name.

DBAs have several advantages, including the ability to extend without creating a new business company, which allows enterprises to grow beyond their initial scope. All that would be required is just setting up a new DBA and using the current LLC; and Privacy.

One of the main advantages of having a DBA is that it allows companies to operate under a fake name without the owners’ identity being made public.

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