Complete California Business
Name Search Service for
Corporations and LLCs

Carry Out a California Entity Search Before Creating
Your Business

Check Name Availability

search entity name in california

If you want to start a new business in California, you need the right name. You can look up your proposed business name in California and see if it’s available for you to form a corporation or LLC. We’ll check your proposed business name against the registry of businesses held by the California Secretary of State.

When you have a unique name for your California corporation or LLC, we’ll help you legally form your business through our quick, easy and inexpensive CA entity formation process. To search for California business entities, just enter your details in the box below, and we’ll take care of everything else.

California Rules on
Naming Your
Corporation or LLC

Once you’ve checked to see if your California business name is available, you’ll need to confirm it follows certain naming rules.

  • Your California business name should not be confusable with or similar to another business in CA.
  • If your California business is an LLC, it must contain “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation. If it’s a corporation, it must contain a word like “Incorporated,” “Corporation” or something similar.
  • Normally, you cannot imply connection with a California state entity or that you will be carrying out activities your CA business is not legally able to provide.

Additionally, there are several naming rules specific to the state of California.

California Limited Liability Company Naming Rules

In addition to the general rules listed above, the California Secretary of State has some specific business naming
rules for your LLC. You will need to follow these rules if you want to name your CA business appropriately.

  • The business name may not include the words "corporation, corp, trustee, bank, trust, incorporated or inc."
  • Your California business name cannot include any words suggesting you are an insurer or assume insurance risks.
  • The business name cannot include “Agency,” “Commission,” “Department,” “Bureau,” “Division,” “Municipal” or “Board.”
  • Although these are the main rules about naming your business in California, there are plenty more. You can find additional rules about naming your California business on the California Secretary of State website.

Read more about California Secretary of State business naming rules

California Corporation Naming Rules

There are additional, specific rules you will need to follow from the California Secretary of State
for naming your CA S Corporation or C Corporation.

  • Using the following words in a corporation name requires special approval from a regulatory body: bank, trust, trustee or related words; credit union or related words; cooperative or any abbreviation of that word; insurer, insurance or related words
  • The name of a flexible purpose corporation must contain the words "flexible purpose corporation" or an abbreviation of those words
  • The name of a corporation authorized to incorporate as a professional corporation must comply with the name style requirements of the regulatory agency which has jurisdiction over the particular profession

Learn more about California Secretary of State business naming rules.

Form Your California LLC or Corporation
Quickly and Easily

We have a full guide to starting a new business in California.
Learn about how to start a CA LLC or a CA corporation.

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Common Questions About California Entity Searches

How Do I Search the Business Registry of the California Secretary of State?

Just use the California Business Name Search Tool above and enter your proposed CA LLC or corporation name. We’ll search the business name database of the California Secretary of State and tell you if there are any matches.

What Are the Rules on Naming My California Business Entity?

California business entities do have to follow some general and specific naming rules. We’ve covered the main ones above.

I Want to Carry Out Business Under a Different Business Name in California — Is That Possible?

You can normally choose to conduct business under a different name in California. This can be known as an “assumed name,” “fictitious name,” “doing business as name” or “trade name.” We can file your CA Fictitious Business Name with the California Secretary of State on your behalf.

Can I Change the Name of My California LLC or Corporation?

You can change your California legal business entity name by filing an amendment to your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization. We can file an amendment on your behalf, including changing the name of your California corporation or LLC.

What Do I Need to Think About When Deciding on a California Business Name?

The perfect California business name can be elusive. We have a complete guide to choosing the right CA business name — you'll want to choose a name that will:

  • Matter to business customers
  • Be memorable enough to stand out
  • Tell people what your business does
  • Be unique among California business entities

How Do I Protect My California Business Name?

The easiest way to protect your California business name is to incorporate your business in California, generally as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation. We can help you do that — just choose “Incorporate Now” above to get started.

If you want extra protection, you could consider registering your California business name as a trademark. Note that filing a fictitious or “doing business as" (DBA) name in California will not be sufficient to protect it.

What California Agency Is Responsible for Managing and Registering Business Names in CA?

Businesses are incorporated in California via the Secretary of State. They manage the California company register, and it is their business name database that we will search on your behalf.