Washington LLC Name Search

Business Name Search in Washington

Selecting the right name is an essential first step for your Washington LLC, requiring you to ensure the name’s availability. A thorough business name search in Washington is vital to avoid infringing on existing business names and intellectual property rights within the state.

Our Washington LLC name search guide offers essential tips on checking LLC name availability in Washington, reservation, and registration, helping you secure a unique and compliant business identity efficiently.

How Do I Look Up an LLC in Washington? (Summary)

How Do I Look Up an LLC in Washington

To look up an LLC in or any business entity in Washington, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the website of the Washington Secretary of State’s office. Search the Washington Taxable Entity Search to check if your chosen business name is available.
  2. Click on the “Corporations & Charities” tab.
  3. Click on the “Search for a Business” link.
  4. Enter the name of the LLC you are looking for in the “Business Name” field.
  5. You can also search by the UBI number, registered agent name, or by advanced search options.
  6. Click the “Search” button.
  7. If the LLC is registered in Washington, its information should appear in the search results. You can view its status, registered agent, and other relevant details.

What is a Washington Business Entity?

What is a Washington Business Entity

A Washington State business entity is any type of business organization that is legally recognized and registered to operate within the jurisdiction of Washington State, United States.

Like any other U.S. state, Washington State recognizes various types of business entities, which can range from sole proprietorships and partnerships to corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs).

Here are some common types of Washington State business entities:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: An individual owner conducts business as a sole proprietor. This is the simplest form of business entity. The owner has unlimited liability for all business debts and obligations.
  2. General Partnership (GP): Two or more people conduct business together as a partnership. The partners share personal responsibility for all business debts and obligations.
  3. Limited Partnership (LP): This is a business structure that includes general partners and limited partners. General partners manage the business and are personally liable for business debts, while limited partners are only liable up to their investment amount.
  4. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): This is a partnership that gives all partners some degree of limited personal liability.
  5. Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a business entity that combines the limited liability benefits of a corporation with the taxation benefits of a partnership. LLCs in Washington are governed by the Washington Limited Liability Company Act.
  6. Corporation (Inc. or Corp.): This is a legal entity separate from its shareholders, offering them limited liability. It can be a C corporation (taxed separately from its owners) or an S corporation (profits and losses are passed through to the owners’ personal tax returns).
  7. Nonprofit Corporation: This is a legal entity created for purposes other than making a profit, such as charitable, educational, scientific, or religious purposes. Nonprofits can apply for tax-exempt status.

WA Secretary of State Business Name Search

WA SOS Business Name Search

For a business to operate in Washington State, it needs to be registered with the Washington Secretary of State’s office, which manages business filings and records. The registration process and requirements can vary based on the type of business entity.

If you need additional assistance or have any questions, you can contact the Washington Secretary of State’s Corporations Division directly for help.

Search for business names in Washington State

The Washington SOS website allows you to search for Washington businesses.

Conducting a Washington Business Name Search Online

Before you decide on a name for your LLC in Washington, conducting a WA LLC Search is important. Before you begin searching for a name, make sure you do your research.

Washington law requires that all LLCs have unique names and comply with state requirements. The LLC name must contain “limited liability company” (or one of the abbreviations LLC or L.L.C.).

Man looking up an LLC in Washington State on a laptop

Washington State LLC Lookup Guide

Some words cannot be used in a company name. This will require additional paperwork. A licensed person such as a lawyer, doctor or other professional may be required to join the LLC. These words could include:

  • Bank
  • University
  • An attorney

The state has a list of words that cannot be used in the name an LLC. These words are banned because they can cause confusion among federal agencies or states. These words could include:

  • Secret Service
  • FBI
  • Treasury

An LLC is not a corporation so the name of your LLC cannot include the words “corporation”, “incorporated” or any abbreviations.

An LLC name must also be distinguishable. This means that it must be different from any other business registered in Washington.

A business name will not be distinguishable if it has minor modifications. Changes to the grammar or identifiers will not make a business name distinguishable.

  • Some examples of designators include LLC, Inc., L.L.C., and Corp
  • Possessive vs. plural vs. singular grammar
  • The ampersand symbol is used and vs.
  • Spelling numbers out vs. using symbols
  • Modifying or adding punctuation
  • Use of “a” vs. “an” vs. “the”

To ensure that your business name is not already registered, perform a search at the Washington State website. Before you begin the registration process, make sure that the domain name is still available for you to reserve. You may be able to purchase the domain name if you don’t have a business plan.

Washington SOS Entity Name Search

Once you are familiar with the requirements to create an LLC in Washington, you can begin your search for business entities using the search tool on the Secretary-of-State website.

This website provides information to entrepreneurs and business owners about how they can use the search engine to locate Washington business entities.

This online functionality can be used to search for business purchase documents, general information about business entities, and check the availability of a particular business name.

Basic inquiries can be made using the unified business ID (UBI), or the business name. You can also use advanced criteria to reduce the number of results.

Search by Entity Name

To search for an existing business entity, the first step is to visit the Washington Corporations Search Page. Enter the name you wish to use in the box marked “OrganizationName” and click search. To filter your search results, you can change the default option to “Name starts with”.

You should not include punctuation or business designations, such as LLC and L.L.C. Search for the word “L.L.C.” You don’t need to worry about capitalization in the search bar.

Washington Secretary of State | Contact Information

Mailing Address

Washington Secretary of State
Corporations & Charities
P.O. Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234

Physical Address

Dolliver Building
801 Capitol Way South
Olympia, WA 98501

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.


Phone: (360) 725-0377

Additional Steps

1. Trademark Search

Entity 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 GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
  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.

4. Check if Social Media Name is Available

Check if a social media name is available for a new business name

5. Register Washington 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 Washington will either approve your business name or reject it.

If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Bizee, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search.

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.

7. Create a Brand Logo

Creating a business logo involves several steps. There are affordable online services that can design a logo for you and assist with the process.

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.

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.

9. Open a Business Bank Account in Washington

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.

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.

Business Name Search in Washington – FAQs

  1. Why is it important to search for a business entity name in Washington State? Searching for a business entity name in Washington is a critical step in forming a new business. It ensures that the name you wish to use is not already taken or too similar to existing names in the state’s registry. This helps in establishing a distinct identity for your business and avoids legal complications related to name infringement.
  2. How can I conduct a business entity name search in Washington State? You can perform a business entity name search using the Washington Secretary of State’s online Corporations and Charities Filing System. This tool allows you to search the database for existing business names and check the availability of your desired name.
  3. Is there a fee associated with performing a name search in Washington State? Generally, conducting a basic business name search through the Washington Secretary of State’s website is free. However, obtaining detailed reports or certified copies of business documents may incur a fee.
  4. What should I do if my preferred business name is already in use in Washington? If your preferred business name is unavailable, you will need to choose a different name that is unique and meets Washington State’s naming guidelines. It’s advisable to have a few alternative names in mind before conducting your search.
  5. Can I reserve a business name in Washington State, and what is the cost? Yes, Washington State allows you to reserve a business name for a set period by filing a Name Reservation application and paying the associated fee. This secures the name for your exclusive use while you prepare to formally start your business.
  6. What are the specific requirements for business names in Washington State? In Washington State, your business name must be distinguishable from other registered business entities. Additionally, certain types of business entities, such as LLCs or corporations, are required to include a specific designator (like ‘LLC’, ‘Corp’, etc.) in their names.
  7. How can I ensure my business name complies with Washington State’s legal requirements? To ensure compliance, review the business naming rules provided by the Washington Secretary of State. It’s also a good practice to conduct a trademark search to avoid potential infringements.
  8. What steps should I take after finding an available name in Washington State? Once you find an available business name, you can proceed with the registration process by filing the necessary formation documents, such as the Articles of Incorporation or Organization, with the Washington Secretary of State.
  9. Is it possible to register a ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) name in Washington State? Yes, you can register a DBA, or trade name, in Washington State. This is done through the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Service and allows you to conduct business under a name different from your legal business entity name.
  10. How frequently is the business name database updated in Washington State? The business name database in Washington State is regularly updated to reflect new registrations and changes. For the most current and accurate information, it is best to perform your search close to the time you plan to register your business.
author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email:   info@llcradar.com Phone: 972-776-4050


  1. Avatar Jeremy Cook says:

    Thanks for sharing your expertise, Brian. Your blog post has given me a better understanding of the process involved in searching for a business entity name in Washington.

  2. Avatar Thomas Coleman says:

    Your blog post is a fantastic resource, Brian. I appreciate the effort you put into explaining the intricacies of searching for a business entity name online in Washington.

Comments are closed.

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