Forming an LLC requires a different business name, which must be unique and adheres to the guidelines. The great thing is DC’s Secretary of State page includes a name availability checker. Check out LLC Name Search to learn more.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
How to Name an LLC in DC
Time needed: 5 minutes.
There are guidelines to follow in doing a DC LLC name search. To learn more, check out LLC Naming Guidelines or read Foreign LLC Application for Registration if you’re planning to register a foreign LLC.
- Check Name Availability
Search the Business Entity Records in DC’s Official Secretary of State page to check if your chosen business name is available. You may also try typing your trademark, business, or domain name on any search engine to generate businesses with similar names and to ensure your trademark is unique and meets the state’s requirements.
Check out How to File a DBA to learn more about registering a DBA or trademark. For social media pages, use Social Searcher to avoid using similar page names.
- Check Domain Availability
If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name using Namecheap, Google Workspace, or other domain name sites. So customers can easily find your business over the Internet. Use the Kinsta app to manage your domains efficiently.
- File Name Reservation
A Name Reservation Certificate is required along with a Certificate of Formation. You can reserve a name online, by mail, or in person with a $25 filing fee (plus tax for online).
File your Certificate of Formation and Name Reservation online on the Secretary of State Online Services page of DC. You may also download the pdf file of the Name reservation form and submit it with the processing fee to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations Division, PO Box 92300, Washington, DC 20090.
Guidelines to Follow in Naming LLC
- Use a business name with the abbreviation “LLC” or the phrase “Limited Liability Company.”
- Your decided business name must not coincide with any existing government entity. Otherwise, you might have to face legal lawsuits when filing your LLC.
- Use the LLC name availability checker to ensure your business name is unique.
- Get a license first if you plan on using restricted words to avoid any complications.
Note that you must put adequate effort into naming your LLC because this name will be with your business for a long time. Making your LLC name unique is vital as it would prevent people from confusing your business with others, not to mention it would be easier for them to recall your business, products, or services.
How to do a DC LLC Online Name Search
As a part of the registration process, it is important to have a suitable name for your LLC in accordance with the guidelines of the State. When you are selecting a name for your LLC, you need to search on the DC State website if the chosen name is unique and available for registration or not. Look at the following points and know about them.
Register your Account
Visit the official page of the District of Columbia Secretary of State. Register your account on the DCRA CorpOnline Web Portal by selecting the “sign-up” option. Or click on “Sign-in with Access DC” if you have already registered your account with DC.gov.
After clicking on the “Sign-up” option, the page for registration of your account will look like this. Fill in your details for user registration such as your name and address and confirm your username and password and submit the form.
Enter the name
After you navigate to the search page, type your proposed name in the “Inquiry” box. You can also choose among the different available filters and conduct a broad search or narrow down your search entry by applying filters by choosing radio buttons.
Perform the Search
Search the availability of the chosen name on the website. If the proposed business name is already in use, the page will display the relevant details of the competing business. Upon performing any name search on the given page, a list of entities with the relevant name, their file number, effective date, status, locale, and qualifier shall pop up on the screen. Conduct thorough research of the name by using the provided filters such as entity name, business ID, etc. before filing it with the Authorities.
You can also visit the D.C. Trademark records or the USPTO’s Federal Electronic Records to search if your business name is already in use by some other trademark slogans or logos in the DC.
After selecting a name, you can file an application for reservation of your LLC Name for 120 days with the DCRA.
A trade name (doing business as (DBA) name) is the official name under which a proprietor or company chooses to do business.
Having a domain isn’t necessary, but it is recommended. If you have a domain name, customers will find you more accessible through online means with your online website.
For domestic LLC, you can simply brainstorm for another name if the one you pick is no longer available. For foreign LLC, you must think up a “fictitious name,” which you’ll use only in the state.