Registering Your LLC Name in Alabama
Your Alabama business entity needs the perfect name, and we’re here to help. In this section we’ll guide you through searching the AL Secretary of State business register, tell you about the rules for naming your business and get you started with registering your LLC.
Alabama Secretary of State Business Search
Before registering your desired LLC name, you need to check whether there’s already another Alabama LLC registered with the name you want. That means searching the Alabama Secretary of State business registry using their business search tool. You can easily perform an LLC search to see if a business name is already used.
Unfortunately, if your chosen name isn’t available, you won’t be able to register it. Try searching for a different business name instead.
Alabama Secretary of State Rules for Naming Your LLC
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet Alabama Secretary of State naming rules. These do vary from state to state — we’ve got general naming rules below, as well as naming rules specific to LLC businesses formed in AL.
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of Alabama. This is why you should check business name availability on the AL SOS website.
It’s not enough for your AL LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Alabama. For example, you cannot use the following factors to say your name is different from the name of another business:
- Suffixes, such as Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.
- Definite articles like “A,” “And,” “An,” “&,” “The,” etc.
- The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
- Abbreviations, punctuation, symbols, fonts, typefaces, etc.
All LLCs must have the words “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC” in their name. These words should normally come at the end of the name.
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
- Are very similar to the name of a federal or AL agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Alabama Department of Revenue, Alabama Police, Treasury, etc.)
- Suggest affiliation with a federal or state agency or organization
- Use the term “Olympic” or any terms that are trademarks of the Olympic organization
- Imply a purpose that it would be illegal for your business to carry out
Alabama LLC DBA or Trade Names
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Alabama, doing business under a different name is known as a “Trade Name.” You might choose to use a different name from your AL formal LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Alabama Textiles Holding Company LLC and you have a line called Cotton State Clothing. You should file a Trade Name to let the Alabama Secretary of State know. In Alabama, you do that through an “Application for Registration” form, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our DBA / Trade Names service.Incfile's Trade Name Services
Register Your Alabama LLC Business Name
Once you’ve searched for your Alabama business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your AL LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this.
If you don’t want to form your Alabama LLC right now, you can reserve the business name with the Alabama Secretary of State. You will need to complete a “Name Reservation Request Form” and file it with the AL SOS. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away.
If you’re ready to start your Alabama LLC, you can formally file your Certificate of Formation with the Alabama SOS, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your Alabama LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Alabama Secretary of State, which will tell you if there are any AL corporations or LLCs with that name.
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Alabama). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Yes. Known as “assumed names,” “fictitious names,” “doing business as names” or “trade names,” you can choose to conduct business under a different name. Details are above.
Yes. The Alabama Secretary of State allows you to reserve a name if you don’t want to start your business immediately. Details are above. If you are ready to start your business now, you do not need to reserve a name.
Useful Resources for Naming Your Alabama LLC
You might find these resources helpful.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Alabama LLC name does not infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. The easiest way to make sure your proposed business name does not infringe is to carry out a trademark search through Incfile. If it doesn’t infringe, you can even register it as a trademark yourself.Incfile Trademark Search and Registration Service
Find the Perfect Name for Your Alabama LLC
The perfect business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right business name, but basically, you'll want to choose a name that will:
- Appeal to your customers
- Be memorable enough to stand out
- Best represent your product or services
- Not be used by another business