1. How to Look Up an LLC in California
2. Obtaining Certificates, Copies of Documents or Status Reports in California
3. California LLC Filing Status

When checking California LLC status, you might need to conduct a name search or an entity search to learn about businesses in the state of California. 

How to Look Up an LLC in California

Out of the many reasons why you would want to look up an LLC in California, a few are: 

  • learning more about the LLC for service of process.
  • looking up the status of an existing LLC in the state.

The California Business Search is a useful tool for looking up LLCs. You can learn about a company's LLC registration, business status, contact information for the business' registered agent, and conversion date. If instead, you need to look up availability for a name for a corporation or LLC, this is not the database to use. 

Find the Business Search page on the website for the California Secretary of state. Choose Limited Liability Company/Limited Partnership Name from the drop-down box. Enter the entity number, which is the 12-digit code associated with the business. If you don't know this, you can search by entity name. Then, click search. 

If you are searching by name, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Don't include punctuation in the name when you enter it in the search box. 
  • Do not use periods in between initials. 
  • Use spaces instead of periods when the name contains a series of letters. For example, instead of "A.B.C." search for "A B C".
  • Also be careful not to eliminate spaces by accident. For example, a search for ABC Company will not return a result for A B C Company if the spaces legally exist in the name. 
  • Look at plurality carefully. ABC Service and ABC Services are two different names, so a result containing one may not contain the other. 

Obtaining Certificates, Copies of Documents or Status Reports in California

You may also need to obtain copies of paperwork relating to the LLC, such as copies of their official documents or copies of status reports. One common document people consider saving is the Certificate of Status, which records the current legal status of the business; a Certificate of No Record, which shows that no record was found of the business in question; or a Certificate of Filing of All Documents, which states that the LLC has filed all necessary documents. 

You might also want to take copies of amendments, formation or registration filing documents, termination documents, or statements of information. Status reports could include important information such as the file number, business status, business entity's legal name, contact information, and jurisdiction. 

To obtain copies of any of these documents, you will need to fill out the order form, which is called a Business Entities Records form. This can be submitted in person at the California Secretary of State's office in Sacramento. You can also mail the form, but expect a processing delay. Instructions for filing this form, along with the fees that apply, can be found on the form. 

California LLC Filing Status

The filing time depends on your method of application. By mail, the processing time is 4 weeks, and there is no added cost. With expedited service, you can pay $69 to have your documents processed in 5 to 10 business days. Rush service is available, and the cost is $485. Documents are processed the next day with rush service. 

California filings are done in paper format, with the exception of corporate annual reports. Most filings are done in Sacramento, but some can be done at district offices. 

For a standard, mail-in filing, you or a representative prepares the needed documents and sends them to the California Secretary of State. Once received by an official, the documents are stamped in, which records their receipt and places them in the queue to be processed. After the filing is approved, the articles are mailed back to the business with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. All in all, the expected turnaround time is 2-3 months or more with this route. 

Expedited filings are done in person with a $15 added fee for over-the-counter service. Stamped and completed articles are picked up in person. With this route, you avoid mailroom processing delays and get direct attention from staff; however, the process can still take 6-8 weeks on the short end. 

If you need help with checking the status of an LLC in California, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.