How to Search Available LLC Names in Hawaii
1. Check Hawaii LLC Naming Guidelines
Before you do a name availability search, it makes sense to check if your business name meets the basic state guidelines.
Some key guidelines for Hawaii LLC names include:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.). "Limited" and “company” may be abbreviated as "Ltd." and "Co.," respectively.
- Your name cannot be the same as or substantially identical to any existing business or trademark registered in the state.
- Your name must be permitted by law and not attempt to mislead or confuse the general public.
- Domestic insurance corporations must include the word "insurance" in their name; and in the case of a reciprocal insurer, the name must include one of the following words: reciprocal, interinsurer, interinsurance, exchange, underwriters, or underwriting.
Keep an eye out for restricted words. These words, such as “FBI” or “Treasury,” are often restricted to keep your LLC from sounding like an official institution.
Hawaii also has the following business name restrictions:
- The following terms cannot be used without approval from the state commissioner of financial institutions: financial institution, bank, banker, banking, banc, savings bank, savings and loan, savings association, financial services loan company, credit union, trust company, intrapacific bank, international banking corporation, and trust.
- Use of the following terms also requires state approval or certification: certified public accountant, public accountant, CPA, PA, cooperative, escrow, and escrow depository.
For more information, check out Hawaii’s official state statutes.
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets Hawaii guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using the Hawaii Business Name Search tool.
It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Hawaii, the following differences do NOT make a name distinguishable:
- Spelling a number instead of using the numerical symbol for the number
- The names are pronounced the same but spelled differently.
- Including a suffix, affix, or prefix
- Using "n", "-n-", or the use of the letter "n" between two or more words to connote "and", or the use of the letter "a" or the words "an", "and", "the", "of", "in", "at", "on", "to" or "for" or the Hawaiian language equivalent words of "da", "ka", "ke", "na", or "la".
- Punctuation, spaces, or symbols.
- Plural or possessive forms of words
- Using the phrase "of Hawaii", or the word "Hawaii", or its recognized abbreviation "HI" at the end of the name,
- Using the word "Hawaii" or "Hawaiian" at the beginning of the name
Failure to use a distinguishable name could result in your formation filing being rejected.
What if my LLC name is already taken? If your LLC name is unavailable in Hawaii, it’s time to come up with some new ideas.
How to Reserve or Register Your Business Name
Reserve Your Name
You can optionally reserve your LLC name in Hawaii for up to 120 days before you officially register it. This prevents other businesses from registering your name until you have the opportunity to register it yourself.
Name reservations can be filed online with the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs. The filing fee is $10.
Register Your Name
If you want to register a legal entity name for your LLC, you can do so at the time of formation filing. Hawaii provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, known as a trade name in Hawaii, is a separate process that requires filing with the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Hawaii LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Hawaii?
You can use the Hawaii Business Name Search tool to see if your preferred business name is available.
Should I name my LLC after myself?
While there’s no rule against naming an LLC after yourself, most experts advise against doing this.
One of the benefits of starting an LLC is the ability to choose a different name for your business, which can make it sound more professional.
What words can’t be used in a Hawaii LLC name?
Business names generally can’t include words that imply the company is a banking or financial institution or that it’s affiliated with a local, state, or federal government agency.
In Hawaii, the following terms cannot be used without approval from the state commissioner of financial institutions: financial institution, bank, banker, banking, banc, savings bank, savings and loan, savings association, financial services loan company, credit union, trust company, intrapacific bank, international banking corporation, and trust.
Additionally, the use of the following terms also requires state approval or certification: certified public accountant, public accountant, CPA, PA, cooperative, escrow, and escrow depository.
Should I use an LLC name generator?
If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your LLC, an LLC name generator can help you come up with some ideas.
What is a brand name?
A brand name is a name a company gives to a product or line of products. It can be the same as the company’s name or something different.
Do I have to include LLC in my name?
Yes. Hawaii requires that its LLCs use “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.) in their legal name.
Do I need to renew my business name in Hawaii?
Hawaii does not require LLCs to renew their legal name, but trade names must be renewed every five years.
You can renew online, and the filing fee is $50.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Hawaii?
Some companies choose to operate under a name that’s different from their legal name. This can either be called a “doing business as” (DBA) name or a trade name in Hawaii.
In Hawaii, trade names are filed with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Does my LLC need a DBA name?
Your LLC doesn’t need a DBA name unless it plans to do business under a name other than its legal name. Learn more about Hawaii DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Hawaii from the dropdown menu.