1. What Companies Can Be Found in the California Secretary of State's Search?
2. Why Search for a Business?
3. How to Name Your Business with a California Corporations Search
4. How to Search for an LLC
5. How to Search for an Available Name
6. How to Perform a California LLC Search
7. Searching by Company Name
8. Searching by 8-Digit Entity Number
9. Name Requirements for California LLC Search

Anyone can perform an LLC California Search through the Business Entities section of the Secretary of State of California website, which is a free online search for records on any California Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Searches on the California Secretary of State's program bring up results for many types of organizations, including:

Why Search for a Business?

Searching for an LLC can help you find information about when the company was formed, its registration process, conversion date, status, and the name and address of an agent of the company. If you need to check to see if a company name is available, this isn't the right search.

Before you decide the name of your new corporation, be sure to run a California corporation lookup to make sure another business isn't using your desired name. A search can show if other corporations in California have the same name, but it won't search through LLCs. If the search shows that another company exists with the same name or one that is very similar, or if your chosen name is misleading to the public, the name for your new corporation won't be approved.

How to Search for an LLC

In order to get the right results, put the company's initials together; A.B.C. Company should really be ABC Company in the search. Keep spaces between initials if they exist in the company you are searching for but remove the periods between the spaces, so that it looks like A B C Company instead of A. B. C. Company.

Spaces matter in the search, so type the company name into the search bar with the correct spaces just as you want it to appear; ABC Company won't show results for A B C Company. If you want results for a company with a plural name, search for it exactly as written; a search for ABC Service won't bring up results for ABC Services.

How to Search for an Available Name

In order to see if your desired company name is available, you have to complete a Name Availability Inquiry Letter.

Complete the form with the following information:

  • Name of person requesting information
  • Firm name
  • Requester's address, phone number, and fax number
  • Company name
  • First, second, and third choices for a name

The forms should be sent to the address below. You will receive confirmation when the search has been completed.

Secretary of State

Name Availability Unit

1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor

Sacramento, CA 95814

To search for a California LLC, go to the California Secretary of State's website, then select the Business Search page and choose Limited Liability Company/Limited Partnership Name. If you know the 12-digit-number the LLC is registered within California, enter it in the search bar; if not, search with the company's name.

Searching by Company Name

To search by the company's name, select if you are searching for a corporation or an LLC/LLP/LP and enter the company's name. The results will include all companies matching the search terms and show the name, entity number, and status of the company. To see more details, click on the name of a company in the results.

The details page for each company will show information including:

  • Company name
  • Entity number
  • Date filed
  • Status
  • Jurisdiction
  • Company address
  • Agent's name
  • Agent's address

Searching by 8-Digit Entity Number

To search by entity number, enter the eight-digit number in the search bar using a Cxxxxxxxx format. The results will show the company associated with the number. Click on the company name to see more details.

An LLC name search must end with Limited Liability Company, L.L.C., or LLC, so a search for an LLC that wants to be called Kate's Pet Service should be filed as Kate's Pet Service, LLC. The LLC name can't include anything to imply it is a corporation, such as the words Corporation, Incorporated, Corp., or Inc.

If you need help with an LLC California 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.