What Is a Virginia Business Search?

A Virginia Business Search is the first step toward registering a new business in the state of Virginia. Conduct a search using the Virginia Secretary of State Database to make sure that your desired business name is available and not being used by any other businesses within the state. It is your responsibility to take due diligence and check for existing entities in Virginia before selecting your business name.   

Which Business Entities Need to Use the Virginia Secretary of State Name Search?

You need to conduct a Virginia Secretary of State Name Search if you are about to set up one of the following types of companies:

  • Limited company
  • Business trust
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Partnership

To find the name you would like to reserve, you need to use the name availability tool and search for the entity type you would like to register as well as the business name. Alternatively, you could search using the company's SCC ID to check if the business name is still available.

How to Conduct a Virginia Secretary of State Corporation Entity Search

  1. Visit the Virginia Secretary of State's business finding page and click "search."
  2. Add the name of the corporation you are thinking of founding, and search to see if the name or a unique variation of the name is still available. 
  3. If conducting a name search, add as many keywords as possible to get the most accurate business name results in Virginia.
  4. Review the list of companies with the name of the entities. The list will give you basic information, such as type, name, SCC identification number, and the status of the business. 
  5. To find out more about the results and the individual business in the list, click on the blue link under the company's  ID number or name and learn whether or not the entity is registered with the Secretary of State.
  6. Review the data page of entities of interest. The data page will provide you with general information such as the state where the business has been incorporated, the SCC ID, the date of incorporation, and the business' status. Further, you can learn who the registered agent is and whether or not share release has been authorized. The information page will tell you the principal office address, as well.
  7. Look on the right side of the information page to check previous filings and learn more about the incorporation.
  8. Once you find the corporation you were looking for, you can see previously filed documents and annual reports displayed. If you reserve the business name and decide to file for organization, you will be able to file your reports online yourself, given that you are the owner or representative.

LLC Name Registration Requirements

When you choose your LLC name, you need to make sure that it is easily “distinguishable” from other business entries you found while you conducted your research in the database. If you want to incorporate an LLC, you should not suggest in the name that your entity is a corporation. This means you are not allowed to use the following words in your business name:

  • Incorporated
  • Corporation
  • Corp.
  • Inc.

When making a decision on your business name, you will need to ensure that it is easy to spell so that people who are looking for your business can find it without trouble. When you incorporate and register an LLC, you will either have to have “LLC” or “L.L.C.” after the business name to clearly state your legal form.

How to Reserve Your Virginia Business Name

If you want to apply for registering your LLC business name, you will need to reserve it for $120 first, according to the  § 13.1-631 or § 13.1-830 provisions of the Code of Virginia. Simply reserving your name doesn't indicate incorporation. You will still need to submit an application to reserve your business name and register for taxation as well as insurance and other provisions. 

You will need to download the application form and send it along with a filing fee of $10 to the following address:

  • Clerk of the State Corporation Commission, P.O. Box 1197, Richmond, VA 23218-1197

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