Understanding What California Business Search Is

A California corporation search is a necessary step for businesses that want to start a company in California. Corporations can find information about other businesses in California buy conducting a search on the Secretary of State's web portal.

The Secretary of State's website for California has a specific page dedicated to users searching for other business entities. If you're looking to start a company, you can search this index to find information about other Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, Limited Partnerships, and Limited Liability Partnerships in California.

Conducting a California corporation search for your entity's name is a critical step to ensure you meet California's naming regulations, but also to help with your brand development.

You can search the database using a specific name or even a business entity number if you have that information.

Name Availability Search in California

It's important to note that the California Secretary of State has a disclaimer stating that this database search tool does not represent entity name availability. California has a completely unique process for searching the availability of a business entity name.

If you are looking to find the availability of a specific business name, you will need to submit a Name Availability Inquiry Letter. The required information for the Name Availability Inquiry Letter includes:

  • The applicant's name
  • The entity name
  • The applicant's physical address
  • The applicant's phone number
  • The applicant's fax number
  • The type of entity
  • The desired name(s) of inquiry

Once you have completed the Name Availability Inquiry Letter, you will need to send that to the Secretary of State and wait for a response.

Ways to Use the California Corporation and Business Entity Search

There are several ways to use the California corporation search. The search engine can be a way for you to access and browse the corporation registry. It can be a useful tool for you to find more information about your competitors or other businesses in or outside your industry. The tool isn't just limited to California businesses, you can also access information about other businesses based on the state they are registered within.

Ways to Use the California Corporation Search Tool

Searching for businesses within the search engine is straightforward. You can search by business name or entity number. If you want to search the tool based on business name, go to the business search page and select the entity type (LLC, LLP, LP, or Corporation) and then enter the business name you are searching into the search bar and click the search button. Much like other search engines, the results will show all business entities that match your specific keyword within the filtered entity type.

The information that you'll be given will show:

  • The business entity name
  • The business' entity number
  • The date that business was filed
  • The status of the entity
  • The business agent for service of process

If you'd like to access more information about a specific business, you can click on the entity's name to be directed to a full page of details.

On this internal page, you'll have access to the information above as well as:

  • Jurisdiction
  • The entity's physical address
  • The business agent's physical address

In addition to searching by business entity name, you can also search the database using the entity number. Once again, you'll access the search portal and instead of entering the business name, you'll now enter the eight-digit entity number. For California, this number will always begin with the letter "C."

The search results will again pull up based on the entity number you entered and you can access more detailed information about that entity by clicking on its name.

How to Choose Your Corporation Search from the California Corporation Search Tool

Before you can ever form a California corporation, you first need to make sure your desired business name is available. When you file to create a corporation, the requested corporation name you submit will be checked against all other California corporation names. If the name you want for your corporation is already taken, your requested submission will be declined because it would mislead the public.

As mentioned above, to check for business name availability, you must submit a Name Availability Inquiry Letter to the Secretary of State for California. If the requested name is available, you will be able to reserve it. The process for reserving a corporation name requires submitting a Name Reservation Request Form to California. This form will hold your corporation name for 60 days.

After you reserve your desired corporation name, the next step is to file the Articles of Incorporation and other relevant documents to register your corporation.

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