District of Columbia Business Name Search
Before searching the District of Columbia Business Name Database, you can save time by making sure your business name is unique and distinguishable from other existing business entities within the District of Columbia business name database. We suggest coming up with a few name ideas in case some are unavailable. You can also download the full District of Columbia entity name guidelines here (click here to download)
Generate Business Name Ideas
Search business name availability
Contacting the local Secretary of State (SOS) office via Phone or Email is free and is the most reliable way to check your business name availability.
Online, you can search for District of Columbia businesses entities for free via the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website (click here to visit). In order to make use of the service, however, you’ll have to complete the registration process with the website. More information about searching the database and checking name availability is available on the DC Business Center website. You can also access the official SOS database (click here to visit) and carry out a quick entity search. A detailed database search is provided as an additional option.
Frequently Asked Questions
In District of Columbia, the process is known as trade name registration. The procedure is handled by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
- A trade name is separate from the corporate name, these are viewed as two separate entities in District of Columbia.
- Trade name registration is obligatory for all LLCs, corporations, sole proprietorship entities, general partnerships and other kinds of organizations.
- Online filing is possible to simplify the process but you’ll have to meet certain requirements in advance.
To register your business name, you’ll need to put together a portfolio of documents and you’ll also have to meet certain conditions:
- Start by creating an online account here
- Download and fill out the required documents
- You will also need to pay a filing fee (the amount is dependent on the type of business or entity that you’d like to do a name registration for)
- If you have to register a trade name, you’ll also need to fill out the TN-1 Trade Name Registration Form
Finding out that the business name you want has already been taken can be incredibly disappointing. Always do a check of registered entities to make sure your idea hasn’t been already filed by somebody else. If this is the case, you’ll need to do the following:
- For LLCs and corporations, there’s a requirement for the selection of a business name that’s different and distinguishable from the names already on file. You can’t just modify the idea slightly and still hope for business entity registration.
- You can opt for a preventative measure before you register the business. If you spot a name that you like and you’re afraid that somebody is going to take it, you can reserve the name for a period of 120 days.
Both from a legal and from a business point of view, opting for a name that’s unique will be the most beneficial choice. Do a brainstorming session and try to produce a couple of versions that are distinctly different from each other. This way, you’ll get to register a title that you like and that’s representative of your business.
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).
Registering your business Domain/website
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to check if the domain name is available for your business. The last thing you want is to register your business name and find out another competitor or company already has a website with your name! Use our domain check below to instantly check availability.
Enter your business name to check domain availability
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