California LLC Name Search

California Business Name Search

I explain how to look up an LLC in California with a California business name search on the California Secretary of State website.

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

The direct link to look up an LLC in the state of California:

California business name search page
California business name search page

California Bizfile Online Page
California bizfile Online page

California Secretary of State bizfile Online Page

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

A woman at a desk with a laptop, looking up an LLC name in California.

To search the California name database look up an LLC in the state of California, you can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the website of the California Secretary of State at California Business Entities search tool
  2. On the home page, click on “Business Search” in the “Business Programs” section.
  3. In the “Business Search” page, select “Limited Liability Company” from the “Entity Type” drop-down menu.
  4. Enter the name of the LLC that you want to look up in the “Entity Name” field. You can also enter the California Secretary of State file number or the registered agent name, if you have that information.
  5. Click on “Search” and wait for the results to load.
  6. If there are multiple LLCs with similar names, you can refine your search by using the filters on the left-hand side of the page. You can filter by city, county, status, and other criteria.
  7. Once you find the LLC that you are looking for, you can click on its name to view its details, including its status, address, registered agent, filing history, and other information.

California Secretary of State: Entity Search

Top view of a laptop keyboard with two hands conducting a California Secretary of State Entity Search

Note that the California Secretary of State’s website provides a free online search tool for looking up LLCs and other business entities registered in the state. However, if you need certified copies or additional information, you may need to submit a request and pay a fee.

How to Conduct a Business Search in California

California Business Name Search: A business name search is the first step in forming an LLC in California or a corporation there. To determine if the name you are interested in is available, this search will check all registered businesses within the state.

Like all other states, California requires that each LLC or corporation registered within the state has a unique business name. Before you start your LLC or Corporation, conduct a search for business entities to confirm that the name is not already registered with the California Secretary-of-State. California business name searches are free.

Step #1: Visit California’s bizfile Online Page

Visit California’s new bizfile Online system for Business Entities and Uniform Commercial Code is now available.

California bizfile online page

Step #2: Check California Business Name Search Availability

Visit the California business name search page

California business name search page

To check the availability of your chosen name, you can use the California Entity Search before you submit your name reservation request. Select the “Search Type” option to perform the best search.

Next, type the name you wish to use. To ensure that you find all similar names, you can search only the first two words of your business name if it is more than one word.

To avoid rejection, make sure you do a thorough search of your documents before you submit them.

Follow the California naming guidelines:

  • Your California entity name must contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations, L.L.C. or L.L.C. ).
  • Your name cannot contain words that could cause confusion between your LLC and a government agency (FBI or Treasury, State Department, etc.). ).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, and University may need additional paperwork, as well as the participation of a licensed individual such as a doctor or lawyer to your LLC.
  • You can find more about Califonia’s rules and regulations at California’s Code of Regulations

Step #3 Reserve Your California Entity Name (Optional)

An illustration of a person reserving a California business name on a laptop.

From California’s bizfile Online website,

Online processing fee: $10. Upon approval, a name can be reserved for a period of 60 days. For faster service, name reservations can be submitted online through our enhanced online services at

It is not neccessary to apply for a name reservation if you are concurrently filing a California business entity formation or registration.

California business name reservation info

California Business Name Reservation Page

Man with a laptop doing a California business name search

California Secretary of State | Contact Information

Mailing Address

California Secretary of State
P.O. Box 942870
Sacramento, CA 94277-2870

Physical Address

California Secretary of State
1500 11th St., 5th Fl.
Sacramento, CA 95814

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. PT

Email Contact

Phone: (916) 653-7244

Additional Steps

1. Trademark Search

An illustration of a man sitting in a chair with a laptop and checking if a business name is trademarked

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.

4. Check if Social Media Name is Available

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

5. Register California 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 California 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.

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 California

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.

California Business Tips

If you’re looking to form an LLC in California, it’s crucial to understand the necessary steps and requirements. To begin, conduct a California LLC name search to ensure the availability of your desired business name.

Once you’ve confirmed its availability, you can proceed with preparing the essential formation documents, including registering your business name and drafting a California LLC operating agreement, which outlines the internal structure and management of your LLC.

Additionally, you have the option to be your own registered agent in California or enlist the services of a professional registered agent. It’s worth noting that the length of time to get an LLC in California can vary, but typically ranges from a few weeks to several months.

To streamline the process, it’s advisable to gather all required information and submit your filings promptly. Furthermore, obtaining a California Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is essential for tax purposes.

Detailed guides and online resources are available to help you navigate the steps involved, and various California LLC services and registered agents can assist you in forming your LLC efficiently. Additionally, ensure compliance with any necessary business licenses in California, and consider the California LLC cost while budgeting for the formation process.

Lastly, should the need arise, understanding how to change your California registered agent the steps to dissolve an LLC in California is crucial for closing your business properly.

California Business Name Search FAQs

  1. Why is a business entity name search important in California? Conducting a business entity name search in California is crucial for ensuring your chosen business name is not already in use or too similar to existing names. This is a key step for legal compliance and establishing a unique identity for your business in the state.
  2. How can I search for a business entity name in California? You can perform a business entity name search using the California Secretary of State’s online business search tool. This tool allows you to search the state’s database to check the availability of your desired business name.
  3. Is there a fee for conducting a business name search in California? Typically, performing a preliminary search for business name availability on the California Secretary of State’s website is free. However, obtaining detailed reports or certified copies of business documents may incur fees.
  4. What should I do if the business name I want is already in use in California? If your preferred business name is already taken, you’ll need to choose an alternative name that is unique and complies with California’s business naming rules. It’s a good idea to have several alternative names in mind.
  5. Can I reserve a business name in California before forming my company? Yes, California allows the reservation of a business name for a certain period. This process involves submitting a name reservation request form and paying a reservation fee as specified by the California Secretary of State.
  6. What guidelines should I follow when naming my business in California? Your business name in California must be distinguishable from other registered business entities and should not mislead the public. Certain business types, like LLCs or corporations, require specific designations in their names. The state provides detailed naming guidelines.
  7. How do I ensure my chosen business name complies with California’s legal requirements? To ensure compliance, review the naming guidelines provided by the California Secretary of State. It’s also wise to conduct a trademark search to avoid potential infringement issues.
  8. After finding an available name in California, what are the next steps? Once you find an available business name, you can proceed to register your business entity with the California Secretary of State by filing the appropriate formation documents and paying any required fees.
  9. Is it possible to operate under a different name than my registered business name in California? Yes, in California, you can operate under a ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) name. However, this name must be registered and distinct from other registered business names in the state.
  10. How often is the California business name database updated? The California business name database is updated regularly to reflect new registrations and changes. For the most current information, it’s recommended 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: Phone: 972-776-4050


  1. Avatar Hawthorne says:

    I’m in the process of starting my own business in California, and this article provided the guidance I needed. The step-by-step approach and tips for a successful name search are a game-changer. Thanks for sharing

  2. This article is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to register a business in California. The detailed instructions on how to perform a business entity name search are invaluable. Highly recommended!

  3. I had no idea how to do a business entity name search in California until I stumbled upon this article. The screenshots and explanations were spot-on. Now I can confidently check name availability for my startup. Thanks!

  4. As a California-based entrepreneur, I found this article incredibly helpful. Doing a business entity name search is a important first step, and this guide simplifies it. Great job breaking down the process!

  5. Avatar Atticus Harrington says:

    I recently started a business in California, and this article was a lifesaver. The step-by-step guide on how to do a business entity name search made the process so much easier. Thanks for the clear instructions!

  6. Avatar Sophia Turner says:

    Brian, I found this article while researching the process of conducting a business name search in California, and I must say, it’s a good resource! The author has done a good job explaining the step-by-step procedure in a clear and concise manner.

  7. Avatar Ava Wright says:

    Brian, your advice on refining the search to ensure uniqueness and compliance with state regulations was invaluable. The inclusion of potential naming restrictions and guidelines set by California added an extra layer of insight, helping entrepreneurs avoid any naming pitfalls

  8. Avatar Caleb Adams says:

    Brian, I appreciate the comprehensive approach you took in explaining the importance of conducting a name search and the potential legal and branding issues that can arise from choosing a name already in use.

    Your step-by-step instructions on utilizing resources such as the California Secretary of State website and the United States Patent and Trademark Office were clear and easy to follow.

  9. Avatar Grace Cooper says:

    Hi Brian, one suggestion I have is to provide examples or case studies to illustrate potential challenges and real-life scenarios during the name search process. This would add a practical element to the article and further enhance its value.

  10. Avatar Benjamin Lewis says:

    Overall, Brian, your article has provided aspiring entrepreneurs like myself with a solid foundation for conducting a business name search in California. I appreciate the effort and research you put into creating such a valuable resource. Thank you!

Comments are closed.

  Information provided on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to offer legal advice specific to your business needs. If you need legal advice, you should consult with an attorney. Rankings and reviews are the personal opinions of the authors and/or editors. For questions, while starting a business, we recommend consulting with an attorney or accountant.