1. How Do I Search the Illinois Name Database?
2. What Information Will I Find on an Entity Search Page?
3. Can I Search for a Specific Illinois Business?
4. What Are the Illinois LLC Name Requirements?
5. Where Can I Get a Certificate of Good Standing?

Performing an IL LLC search is a vital step in creating an Illinois limited liability company (LLC). You can search the name database on your own for free. Learn more about this process and how you can fine-tune your search to find exact and similar matches and set your company up for a good start and strong future.

How Do I Search the Illinois Name Database?

You can search the state's name database online from the Department of Business Services' website. From there, follow these steps to perform a search:

  1. Select “Corporate and LLC.”
  2. Click “Continue.”
  3. Select “Name” as your search method.
  4. Type your desired LLC name in the search box.
  5. Click “Continue.”
  6. Click “Search.” This will yield a list of similar and exact matches to what you typed.

Note that this process will yield results for corporations and LLCs. You may need to broaden or refine your criteria in order to check all enterprises registered with the state. In addition to performing the above steps to execute your search, you should follow these tips to get the best possible results:

  • Leave out “LLC” and any punctuation from your name search.
  • You can use lowercase or uppercase characters.
  • Break your desired name up into shorter chunks to search for similar registered businesses. For example, if you want the name “Bubbi's Quilts and Blankets,” search for the name “Bubbi's Quilts.”

If you get a message stating that “your search did not match any records,” it means no other businesses in the state have registered that name. If you get an exact result, you can't use that name.

Also be cautious about filing for a name that shows some similar results. You could run into issues with infringement or have your application rejected and need to reapply.

If you need any help with the process, you can reach the states' Limited Liability Department at 217-782-6961, extension 7736.

What Information Will I Find on an Entity Search Page?

Your search results will return a list of names that match your search as well as each enterprise's file number and name. You can click on an individual result for more information, including:

  • The registered agent's name and address.
  • The registration status (whether the name is active, suspended, or expired).
  • The annual report filing date.

Can I Search for a Specific Illinois Business?

If you want to look up a specific company by its file number, you can type the number directly into the search database. You can do this to check a business's status — you won't have problems claiming a name if the company your searching for is similarly titled but the registration has expired.

In addition to searching by file number, you can also look for an Illinois business or partnership in the database by its exact name.

What Are the Illinois LLC Name Requirements?

Understanding the business name requirements can help you perform a more effective search, as you won't go back to change a name you thought would work but violates some of these rules. For example, you can't use words such as “corporation” and “incorporated” or their abbreviations — i.e., “corp.” and “Inc.” — in your LLC's name.

Your LLC name must be unique and distinguishable from all others registered in the database. Follow these standards to create distinguishability and avoid infringement:

  • Adding “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “Inc.,” or “Corp.” doesn't make your name unique.
  • Making a singular word plural or vice versa doesn't make your name unique.
  • Adding articles such as “a,” “an,” and “the” doesn't create distinguishability.
  • Adding conjunctions such as “and,” “or,” and “but” doesn't create distinguishability.
  • Changing punctuation, such as adding hyphens or slashes, doesn't make a name unique.
  • Spelling out a number instead of using a numeral or vice versa doesn't make a name unique.

Where Can I Get a Certificate of Good Standing?

If your entity meets the requirements for a certificate of good standing, you can purchase one from the search results page. Click on the file detail report for your corporation or LLC, finalize the purchase, and print the certificate.

The following costs are associated with this process:

  • Pay a $45 fee for the Certificate of Good Standing for a corporation or LLC.
  • Pay a $16 fee for a nonprofit corporation.
  • Pay a 2.35 percent fee on your purchase if you charge a credit card.

If you need help with an IL LLC search, 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.