Illinois LLC Name Search

Business Name Search in Illinois (October 2023)

We walk you through the process of performing an Illinois business entity name search using tools provided by the Illinois Secretary of State’s website.

Illinois LLC Name Search (Summary)

Top view of a laptop with someone doing an Illinois LLC name search online.

To search for business name availability in the state of Illinois, you can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the website of the Illinois Secretary of State:
  2. On the homepage, locate the “Business Services” section and click on it.
  3. In the Business Services section, you will find various options. Choose “Business Name Availability” or a similar option.
  4. You will be directed to a search page where you can enter the desired business name. Enter the name you want to search and click on the “Search” button.
  5. The search results will display whether the business name is available or already registered by another entity in the state of Illinois.
  6. If the business name is available, you can proceed with registering it. If it is already taken, you will need to choose a different name or modify the existing name to make it unique.

Please note that the exact steps and links may change over time. Therefore, it is recommended to verify the current process by visiting the official website of the Illinois Secretary of State: or searching for “Illinois Secretary of State business name availability” on a search engine to get the most up-to-date information.

What is an Illinois Business Entity?

An illustration of someone searching online for the definition of an Illinois business entity.

An Illinois business entity refers to an organization that is legally recognized and registered to conduct business in the state of Illinois. These entities are created and managed according to Illinois state law, with the Illinois Secretary of State overseeing their formation and registration.

The types of business entities you can establish in Illinois are similar to those in most other U.S. states and include:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest form of business structure, owned and operated by one individual. The owner is personally liable for all business debts and obligations.
  2. Partnership: This includes general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships. A partnership involves two or more people sharing the profits and losses of a business.
  3. Corporation: This is a legal entity separate from its owners (shareholders), providing them with personal liability protection. There are two types of for-profit corporations: C corporations and S corporations. Non-profit corporations can also be formed.
  4. Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a hybrid structure that combines the legal protections of a corporation with the tax advantages and operational flexibility of a partnership.

Illinois Secretary of State Entity Search

When setting up a business entity in Illinois, the necessary paperwork (such as Articles of Incorporation for a corporation or Articles of Organization for an LLC) must be filed with the Illinois Secretary of State. The state also requires payment of specific filing fees, which vary depending on the type of entity.

Illinois Secretary of State requires that all business names be distinguished from any other entities within the state.

It is also important to search the Internet for a domain name that matches your desired URL.

Illinois business name search page

Illinois Business Entity Search Page

How to Find Available LLC Names

Search for an Illinois LLC name via:

  • Online database
  • Telefon

Calling the Secretary of State is a good idea, even if your name appears on the Illinois LLC search database.

Online Database

After you have determined that your corporation name complies with Illinois business name guidelines, use the Illinois LLC search tool to verify it.

By Telephone

For a screening of name availability, you can call the Illinois Secretary Of State at (217-524-8008).

How to check available domain names

When choosing a business name, you will need to determine if a suitable web domain is available. It is crucial to have a URL that matches your business name. This simple step can make all the difference in how potential customers find you business.

How to register your business name

Register your name

When you file your LLC application documents and create an LLC, the LLC name becomes officially registered

Register Your Name

Optionally, you can reserve your Illinois LLC name for up to 90 calendar days before you register it. This stops other businesses from using your name before you can register it.

You can file name reservations by mail at the Illinois Secretary Of State. The filing fee is $25.

Illinois Naming Requirements

Man with a laptop doing an Illinois business name search

Some key guidelines for Illinois LLC names include:

  • Your name must contain the phrase “limited liability corporation” or one of its abbreviations, such as L.L.C. or L.L.C. It must include “L3C” if it is a low-profit LLC.
  • If you do not register for an assumed title, your name must be the name that your LLC operates under.
  • Your name must be distinct from all other businesses in the state. This includes Illinois reserved names.

Restricted words are something to be aware of. To keep your LLC’s sounding official, these words (e.g. “FBI” and “Treasury”) are often limited.

The following restrictions apply to LLC names in Illinois:

  • You cannot use the following terms in your name: “Corporation,” “Corp.,” “Incorporated,” “Inc.,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” or “Limited Partnership.”
  • No word or phrase can be included in your name (e.g. “trust,” trustee,” or “fiduciary” must not be used in your name. The name of an LLC that is formed to accept or execute trusts must include the word “trust”.
  • Names may not contain words or phrases that are restricted by state statutes (e.g. LLCs are not allowed to act as banks or insurers in Illinois).

You can find more information in Illinois’ official state statutes.


Your name must be distinct from any other business name. A distinguishable name in Illinois is substantively distinct from any other business or reserved business names within the state.

These differences make it possible to distinguish a name in Illinois from one another:

  • Identifiers of business entities such as “limited”, or “liability”, or abbreviations of any of these words.
  • Articles
  • Conjunctions
  • Contractions
  • Abbreviations
  • Different tenses and numbers of the same word

Your formation filing could be rejected if you do not use a distinct name.

Additional Steps

1. Trademark Search

When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.

To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.

2. Choose a Registered Agent

After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.

3. Check if the Domain Name is Available

To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to a domain registrar website, such as or
  2. In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
  3. Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
  4. If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.

It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.

Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.

4. Check if Social Media Name is Available

To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
  2. Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
  3. If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
  4. If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
  5. It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.

5. Register Illinois Business Entity

When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Illinois will either approve your business name or reject it.

If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.

6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.

Here’s how you can get an EIN:

  1. Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
  2. Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
  3. Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
  4. Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.

Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.

7. Create a Brand Logo

Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
  2. Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
  3. Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
  4. Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
  5. Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
  6. Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Search on Fiverr for logo designs. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
  7. Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
  8. Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
  9. Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.

8. Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:

  1. Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
  2. Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
  3. Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
  4. Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
  5. Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
  6. Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.

Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:

  1. Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
  2. SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
  3. Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
  4. LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
  5. Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.

9. Open a Business Bank Account in Illinois

A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.

Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.

To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:

  1. Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
  2. Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
  3. EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
  4. Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.

Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.

How can I verify if an LLC is registered in Illinois?

You can use the Illinois LLC Search tool to check if your business name appears.

For a screening of your name, you can call the Illinois Secretary-of-State at (217-524-8088)

What words are prohibited in an Illinois LLC name?

It is not possible to include words in business names that suggest that the company is a bank or financial institution, or that it is affiliated with a local or state government agency.

The following terms are prohibited in Illinois LLC names:

  • “Corporation,” “Corp.,” “Incorporated,” or “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” or “Co.,”
  • Any phrase or word (e.g. Any word or phrase (e.g. trust, trustee, fiduciary), that implies or indicates that your LLC is in business as a corporate fiduciary
  • Any word or phrase that is prohibited by any state statute (e.g. LLCs aren’t allowed to operate in Illinois as banks or insurance companies)

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