How to Look up an LLC in California

Checking an LLC status in California is easier when you use the business entities page on the secretary of state's website. This page includes functionality for a free business search, which can be conducted online and allows you to find information for any limited liability company (LLC) registered in California. You might need to search for a California LLC for several reasons. One reason is to find more information about a business in preparation for a service of process, while another is learning more about an LLC that is operating in the state.

By using the business search tool on the California secretary of state's website, it's easy to find important information, including:

  • LLC conversion date
  • How the entity is formed
  • When or how the business is registered
  • Business status
  • Business address
  • Registered agent's name and address

If you want to check the name availability for a business entity, this business search tool is not the right option.

Perform a search of existing LLCs in California by visiting the secretary of state website and navigating to Business Search. From there, you can choose the name option, which will search by business name. You can also search by the company's entity number if you have it. This number in California will be 12 digits.

Searching for the name of the LLC instead of the entity number is more challenging. Use these tips to improve your search and get the best possible results:

  • Don't include any punctuation. Punctuation includes any periods used in the name of the business. If the company name uses letters, such as A.B.C. Company, search for ABC Company instead.
  • If the business name includes letters or initials with punctuation and spaces, get rid of the punctuation but keep the space. For example, a company called A.B.C. Company should be searched as ABC Company (leaving the space where it is in the legal business name).
  • Using spacing and plural forms of words will impact the results of your search. If a company is called A B C Company, it likely would not show up if you searched for ABC Company. Make sure to leave any spaces in your search that exist in the company name.
  • Plural forms of words will also matter when you're looking at the list of results. For example, if a company is called ABC Services, you probably wouldn't find the business if you searched for ABC Service. Make sure to keep plural forms of words as they are listed in the business name.

Find additional tips for using this tool on the secretary of state's Search Tips page. The tips can help you refine or change the terms of your search to find exactly what you need to see.

After you find the necessary information, the next step is requesting the documentation on that business entity. Some of the important documentation includes:

  • Certificate of status
  • Certificate of no record
  • Certificate of filing
  • Informational statements
  • Termination documents
  • Registration/formation documents
  • Amendments to any legal documents

You can also look up the status reports of a business registered in the state. These status reports might include important information like the business address, legal name, file number, jurisdiction, and status. If you would like to request copies of these documents, reports, or certificates, you can complete the Business Entities Records — Order Form, found on the secretary of state website. The completed form should be mailed to or filed in person at the secretary of state's office, located in Sacramento.

Converting an LLC to a Corporation in California

If you want to convert an LLC into a corporation, the process is relatively simple in California. This new and streamlined method involves completing and filing one document. The procedure is called statutory conversion, which transfers the liabilities and assets of the LLC over to the new corporation as part of the business entity change. What sets the statutory conversion process apart from other methods is the fact that the process involves just one business entity. You won't need to form a corporation through the filing of a separate form prior to the conversion taking place.

If you need help with an LLC status 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.