A North Dakota corporation search is an important part of registering your business in the state. If you want to register a business, you must first check that the name you want to use is available. If you're already registered, a corporation search can help you look up important files related to your enterprise. Highlighted below you will find steps for completing a North Dakota corporation search.

Business Licenses in North Dakota

The state manages professional and business records through the North Dakota Secretary of State. This office oversees information on limited liability companies, limited partnerships, corporations, limited liability partnerships, real estate investment trusts, limited liability limited partnerships, trade names, partnership fictitious names, and trademarks. Individuals can search for business names or specific ID numbers in North Dakota's online database.

The North Dakota Bar Association and Supreme Court manage attorney licensing. An individual can search for licenses and records online by attorney name or by contacting the Bar Association. The Bar Association is accessible in person, but an individual can call or mail to inquire about records. The North Dakota State Board of Medical Examiners manages doctor records. A person can sort through these records online by searching for a doctor's name or license number.

North Dakota LLC Name Search

Here are a few rules for naming and establishing an LLC in North Dakota:

  • First, search for your desired LLC name. If it's not available, you'll need to pick another name.
  • This name must be unique. Note that there are other state requirements that you must comply with.
  • Your LLC name must end with the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
  • Your LLC name cannot use either “Corporation” or “Incorporated” or the abbreviations “Corp.” or “Inc.” These names and abbreviations are for corporations, not LLCs.
  • The LLC name you pick must be totally unique. It can't be similar to any other registered businesses in the state.

Note that ending your name with “LLC” and other designations does not distinguish it from enterprises that otherwise have the same name. Differences in spelling and grammar also do not create distinguishability.

Searching the North Dakota Name Database

Follow these three steps to search the North Dakota database for your business name and check that it's available.

  1. Go to the state's Business Records Search page.
  2. In the “Entity Name” box, type your desired North Dakota LLC name. You can ignore the other fields. Note that you do not need to type “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or any other designator at the end of the name. Capitalization doesn't matter, and you must also remove any punctuation. The database allows uppercase and lowercase letters.
  3. To check for similar results first, start with the first couple words from your desired LLC name. For example, if you want the North Dakota LLC name “Peter's Pumpkin Patch LLC,” search for “peter's pumpkin.” Search only the first word for more companies that may have a similar name (i.e., only search for “peter's”).
  4. After typing your desired name, click the “Search” button. This will return a list of all North Dakota businesses.
  5. Check the results for names similar to your query. If none are too similar, you can use that name for your LLC. If a “No Entities were found matching your selection criteria” message appears, your desired North Dakota LLC name is available for use. If you get any exact results (i.e., another business has the same name), you cannot use that name for your North Dakota LLC. Think of a totally new one, or think of a variation that isn't just spelled differently.
  6. Type the new unique name and check again for similar results. Repeat this process until you find that no state companies have a similar name. You are then free to use that North Dakota LLC name.

You can file your paperwork with the state even if you are not sure that the North Dakota LLC name you want is completely unique. The North Dakota Secretary of State will simply return your filing if the name isn't distinguishable so that you can change it. To save time and avoid rejected paperwork, contact the North Dakota Secretary of State at 701-328-2904 (Monday–Friday, 8–5 p.m.).

After confirming that your North Dakota LLC name is unique, you can select your LLC's Registered Agent.

If you need help with a North Dakota corporation 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.