California Business Name Search

Do you need help registering your business? Are you searching for a name that is unique in your state? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The California Business Name Search guide can help you determine the availability of your business entity. 

This article will help you register your business entity. It’s paramount to learn the business name guidelines in California and how you can do a preliminary search. Keep reading to discover more details about name reservations, how to register your business, California policies, the cost of registration and why filing a legal name document is important.

Generate Business Name Ideas

Before doing a search, you need to create a list of potential business names. This ensures you have a few ideas in case some of the names are taken. We have creative generators that cater to different industries. Check out our business name generators to create an outstanding business name.

The California Secretary of State has a checklist for starting a new business. You can read this information before registering a name. Preparing a business plan is one of the first things to do on the checklist. This would include financing and market research that tells investors more about your goals. All of this is very important for aiding your business in a long-term perspective.

How to Search for Available Names in California

You can conduct your name search through the Business Entities search page. It will give you the option to type your business name or file number. Click ‘advanced’ if you need more search settings to narrow down results. This website gives you a list of matching or similar-sounding names with their initial filing date, status, entity type and current agent in California. 

The name availability inquiry letter also gives you the chance to send a name request. You can only mail this letter, as the California Secretary of State is not currently accepting inquiries through email or online services. This letter provides a name availability webpage that has more information on business name reservations, so make sure to check that out.

Our instant domain checker can help you find domain availability. Type your business name into our generator and check the availability of your domain. Some of the links might be taken, so it’s important to have backup names. If you really want a specific domain, you may contact a domain broker. They will negotiate sale prices with the owner under confidential terms.

How to Register Your Business Name in California 

You need to register your business name on the California Secretary of State website. Their business forms page has the option to reserve your entity (for all types of corporations). All you have to do is create a personal user account and complete a form that provides more details on your business. The California Secretary of State will reserve your business name for 60 days.

If you’re curious about processing times, you can check out their page that mentions dates for name reservation approvals. They update the website regularly when reviewing name requests. Processing dates may vary depending on the type of request and when the California Secretary of State acquired it. Check out their service options for faster processing deliveries.

Policies and Procedures for Registering Your Business Name

Since January 1st 2021, the names of corporations, LL companies and limited partnerships must be different from existing names in the California Secretary of State records. This prevents a business from “misleading the public” and causing confusion with entities. 

Business names are only checked against entities that are registered with the California Secretary of State. They won’t be checked against trademark or service mark registrations. Before adopting a business name, it must be reserved for no longer than 60 days. It’s advised that you don’t advertise your name until the State Office has approved it.

You can find more information on name regulations and restrictions here.

California Secretary of State Office Details

Here are some contact details for the registration office: 

Phone(916) 657-5448
Hours8am–5pm, Monday–Friday

How to Register Business Name in California Online Portal

First, you need to go to the California Secretary of State website. They have a business programs page that encourages you to learn more about business entities. Click on the ‘name reservations’ option and read the information that states the requirements for name approvals. You’ll find a link that takes you to a page that comprises forms and legal business resources.

Here is the name reservation request form you might fill out. You can complete the details online and print a copy. The California Secretary of State requires you to send it to their office or drop it off in person. Their address can be found on the name request form.

The Cost of Registering Your Business Name in California 

There’s a $10 submission fee required for filing a business name reservation. You can attach the fee to your request form before sending it to the California Secretary of State Office. Check here to view the forms and fees associated with business entities. Some forms might have greater fees and requirements, depending on the nature of the request. 

If you have more questions regarding payment, you can contact the California Secretary of State for further clarification. They may share payment options or a breakdown of prices that shows you what you’re paying for. Their FAQs page might answer some of your concerns.

Why Registering your Business Name in California is Important

Registering your business name is the best way to avoid legal problems. The California Secretary of State believes that it’s best to send a name request form. A form request ensures you don’t spark confusion with the public if someone else has acquired the name.

You could also receive certain tax benefits and investments when becoming a registered business in California. It’s much easier to receive loans from the capital if you establish a professional and reputable brand. The California Secretary of State may help you review the benefits of reserving a name that is unique in that particular state. 

Support for Registering Your Business Name

The name registration process might seem complicated at first. There are forms and details that you need to complete. Not to mention the handful of information on the California Secretary of State’s website. If you need extra support, you can consider the following options:

  • The California Secretary of State has a PDF document that can help you navigate the options on their website. 
  • There are some FAQs that could resolve your registration problems.
  • Phone (916) 657-5448 for urgent queries regarding your name request 


Registering your business name in California is crucial for completing the necessary legal documents. You can become a professional business that doesn’t have to worry about lawsuits from clients. It’s better to develop a reputable brand that appears trustworthy to the public. All you need to do is complete a name request form on the California Secretary of State’s website

You can also look at the name requirements in other American states. Our list covers every state and provides details on certain business regulations. Each location is different in terms of rules, so it’s important to learn about diverse legal business name systems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You can access the forms you need at the California Secretary of State website.

The mailing and delivery address for the California Secretary of State office in Sacramento is:

1500 11th Street

Sacramento, California


Email and online communication are currently unavailable.

However, you can search the California Business Entity database in an attempt to rule out possible business names that are already in use.

After reserving your business name, the next step is to file the Articles of Organization. This paperwork can be filed online, or via mail or in person.

To complete the Articles of Organization in California, you should:

– Have your LLC name available and reserved.

– Have your business street address, not just a post office box.

– The name and address of a Registered Agent.

– The $70 filing fee.

– The $800 yearly franchise fee. We recommend not filing your Articles of Organization between October and December because you will be required to pay the current year and the proceeding year at the same time (for a total franchise fee of $1600).

– Allow 3 to 7 business days for the filing to be completed.

We believe that a unique business name that is easily distinguishable from other business names is an important part of having a successful business.

That being said, if your ideal business name is already in use, you may be able to use a similar variant by gaining consent from the current entity.

The California Secretary of State outlines that similar names are available with consent from the original existing entity. However, you will need to obtain a letter of consent prior to filing a proposed (similar) name.

According to section 21004, subsection (b), the letter must be written on the original business entity’s letterhead and worded as such:

“[Insert name of existing business entity giving consent] hereby consents to the use of the name [insert proposed name] in forming a [insert type of business entity].”

Please refer to the Business Entity Name Regulations & Additional Statutory Requirements and Restrictions for complete details.

If you’re still unable to find a business name that suits you, try using our business name generator to get unique name ideas (click here to find our business name generator).

Before you begin your business search at the California Secretary of State website, visit the United States Patent and Trademark online office with your business name ideas.

Run a trademark search at to ensure there are no trademarks on the name you wish you use.

There isn’t a legal time frame that tells you when to register, but it’s better to do it within 3-6 months of starting your business. This ensures you’re prepared before the new tax year. Name reservation forms don’t take long to complete and require little effort.

A bank will not provide you with a business account if you aren’t registered. This means you lose access to financial savings and loans. Investors may not interact with your business, as they prefer to invest in brands that are professional and legitimate.


Matija Kolaric

Matija Kolaric

Amazing content is the core of what we do. With more than 5 years of experience in branding, name development, and business, Matija helps create and manage content production.

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