Conducting a Virginia Business Search and Naming Your LLC
Whether you’re searching for the right Virginia business name or registering your LLC with the VA State Corporation Commission, we can help. We’ve got all the information you need on Virginia business entities, LLC or corporation searches, LLC naming rules, fictitious names and registering your business.
Virginia Business Entity Search With the State Corporation Commission
You should begin naming your business by completing a “Virginia business entity search” with the State Corporation Commission. They have a helpful tool on their website that lets you run a Virginia LLC search to see if someone already has your desired business name.
If the business name is already used, that means it’s not available and you won’t be able to register it. Try searching for a different business name instead.
Virginia State Corporation Commission business name search tool
Virginia Naming Rules to Know Before You Register Your LLC
Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC and checked business name availability, you’ll need to meet Virginia State Corporation Commission 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 VA.
General Rules for Naming Your Virginia LLC
These rules typically apply to all LLCs, no matter what state they are formed in. You will need to pay attention to these rules, as they will influence the name you choose for your Virginia LLC.
Your LLC Business Name Must Be Unique
The business name you have chosen cannot be used by any other LLC or corporation in the state of Virginia. This is why you should check business name availability on the VA SCC website.
Your LLC Business Name Must Not Be Confusable With Another Business Name
It’s not enough for your VA LLC name to be unique. It also cannot be similar to the name of a corporation or LLC in Virginia. 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.
Your LLC Business Name Must Contain Certain Words
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.
Your LLC Business Name May Have Other General Restrictions
Most states will not allow you to form LLCs with names that:
Are very similar to the name of a federal or VA agency or organization (e.g., FBI, FDA, Virginia Department of Taxation, Virginia 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
Specific Business Naming Rules in Virginia
In addition to the general rules listed above, the Virginia State Corporation Commission has some specific business naming rules for your LLC. You will need to follow these rules if you want to name your VA business appropriately.
The name of a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership may not include any word, abbreviation or combination of characters that states or implies that it is a different type of business entity. Under this standard, for example, the name of a limited liability company may not include the word “corporation” or “incorporated,” or the designation “Corp.” or “Inc.”
The name of a corporation may not imply that it is or will be conducting business as a bank, trust company, insurance company, or public service company, such as a railroad, telephone company, utility, or water or sewer company, unless it will actually be engaged in such business.
No business entity’s name may include the word “bank” or “trust” unless it will be engaged in the banking or trust company business, or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not be engaged in such business.
No business entity’s name may include the word or words “engineer,” “architecture” or “land surveying,” or any modification or derivation of such words, unless the entity will be lawfully engaged in such services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that the entity will not conduct such business.
The words “United States,” “national,” “Federal” and “reserve” may not be included in the name of a business entity that is engaged in the banking, loan, building and loan, brokerage, factorage, insurance, indemnity, savings or trust business.
More on Virginia State Corporation Commission business naming rules
DBA (“Doing Business As”) Names in Virginia
You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal LLC name. In Virginia, doing business under a different name is known as an assumed or fictitious name. You might choose to use a different name from your formal VA LLC name for a variety of reasons.
For example, your LLC might be called Virginia Tourism Holding Company LLC, and you have a chain called “Virginia Loves Hotels.” You should file an assumed or fictitious name to let the Virginia State Corporation Commission know. In Virginia, you do that through a fictitious name certificate, or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf through our Assumed Business Name service.
Incfile’s DBA service
Register Your Virginia LLC Business Name
Once you’ve searched for your Virginia business name, checked availability, followed the naming rules and decided whether you need a fictitious name, you can register your VA LLC name. There are a couple of ways to do this:
If you don’t want to form your Virginia LLC right now, you can reserve the business name with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. You do not need to reserve a name if you are forming your business right away.
If you’re ready to start your Virginia LLC, you can formally file your Articles of Organization with the Virginia SCC, or let Incfile take care of it for you.
FAQs on Naming Your Virginia LLC
You might find the following answers useful.
How Do I Search for My Virginia LLC Business Name?
Just go to the business name search tool and enter your proposed business name. You can search the register of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, which will tell you if there are any VA corporations or LLCs with that name.
Are There Any Rules on Naming My Virginia LLC?
Yes. Most LLCs will be bound by general rules (applicable to all LLCs) and specific rules (applicable in the state of Virginia). We’ve detailed these rules above.
Can I Do Business Under a Different Name Than My LLC Name in Virginia?
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.
Can I Reserve a Name for My Virginia LLC?
Yes. The Virginia State Corporation Commission 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.
Trademarks and Service Marks
You must be careful that your Virginia 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 Virginia 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
Incfile guide to choosing a business name