An Illinois Secretary of State Business Search starts at the Secretary of State website. It includes business entity search functionality that makes it easy to see business details of a specific company. You can also use the website to buy a Certificate of Existence. You might need this business entity search feature for a number of reasons, but there are two main types of information available within the search. The first type is the name of the business, which is the most common, and the second is the file number. If you have that number, you can navigate to the summary page for the business.

Name Requirements for Illinois LLC

Before performing a search for a potential LLC name, consider a few things.

  • Every business classified as an LLC must have those letters at the end of its business name, either with periods (L.L.C.) or without (LLC).
  • An LLC in the state of Illinois is not a corporation, so you can't use “incorporated” (or inc.) or “corporation” (or corp.) in the business name.

The name of an LLC in Illinois must be distinguishable and unique from any other entity registered in the state.

Making changes to the identifiers, or designators at the end of your business name, or modifying the grammar will not make an LLC name unique enough from an existing name. Examples include:

  • Corp., LLC, Inc., L.L.C.
  • The, A, An
  • Putting in periods, commas, slashes, hyphens
  • Changing words to plural, possessive, or singular
  • Spelling out a number (four vs. 4)
  • Using “and” (or &), “or”

Other examples of pairs of names that are not unique include:

  • Moon & Sun, LLC vs. Moon and Sun, LLC
  • Bear Investments, LLC vs. Bear Investments, Inc.
  • Banana Farm, LLC vs. Banana, LLC
  • The Copy Shop, LLC vs. Copy Shop, LLC
  • Larry, Moe, and Curly Studios LLC vs. Larry-Moe-Curly Studios, Inc.
  • Four Generals Consulting, LLC vs. 4 Generals Consulting, LLC

As you search the database of existing names, keep in mind that your proposed name has to be different and distinguishable from any existing name on file. If you don't see any records come up in a search, this means the name you are searching has not been registered in Illinois. However, searching the database is a preliminary step in the process of registering a name. The Secretary of State's office ultimately decides whether an LLC or corporation name is available and complies with the statutes of the state.

Corporation and LLC Search By Name

The first step in getting more details about a business is visiting the Illinois Secretary of State website. The two options for searching on the website are search method and type of search. When searching, choose between one or two entity types.

You can also further break down the search by:

  • Exact name (by name)
  • Part of the name (by keyword)
  • First of any word in the name (by partial word)

Input the name or keyword in the search bar and hit submit. After hitting submit, you'll see a list of possible names matching any words in your search. The information presented on the results page is limited, including the business name, type of entity, and file number.

If you'd like additional information, click on the name of the business. This more detailed page will show the annual report filing date, the name of the registered agent, the business address, the status, and the duration date. Upon reviewing this information, you may find that the company isn't the one you were looking for; click return to the search screen to get back to your list.

Corporation and LLC Search By File Number

When you're searching for an LLC or company name, you may need to know the type of entity and/or file number. You cannot use the LLC or Corporation selection. When you use the file number to search, you can avoid the hassle of searching through pages of search results. Instead of spending a lot of extra time, you can immediately see more detailed information about the specific business you're looking for, which includes all data in the Secretary of State's file.

Partnership Search by Name

You can also quickly and efficiently search for LLLPs, LPs, RLLPs, and LLPs, when you navigate directly to the search page. As you search, you can choose between partnership variations or either within the search type.

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