How to File a DBA in North Dakota

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Filing a North Dakota DBA (doing business as), also known as a trade name, is a simple process that you complete with the Secretary of State. To learn more about why you may need a DBA, read our What is a DBA article.

How To Use This Guide

Use our free guide below to file for a DBA in North Dakota:

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How to Set up a DBA in North Dakota

Step 1: Start With a North Dakota DBA Name Search

If you haven't already, head over to the North Dakota Secretary of State website to make sure your trade name isn't taken by another registered North Dakota business.

TIP: Our business name generator tool is a great resource for entrepreneurs who are still working to create the perfect business name or website address.

In North Dakota, your trade name should not include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, or etc.
  • Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," "banque," "banker," "trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.

Registering a trade name in North Dakota protects it from being used by other businesses in the state.

Next, a quick search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System will tell you whether someone else has already trademarked your name.

Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2: Register Your ND DBA with the State

In North Dakota, you must register your DBA with the Secretary of State. You can register a trade name online at North Dakota’s First Stop website or you can complete the trade name registration form and file it by mail or fax.

The following information is needed on the form:

  • Whether or not it is a franchise name, and the address of the franchiser if yes
  • Name and address of the owner
  • Business structure of owner

Note that partnerships that want to register a trade name must first register a fictitious name. This fictitious name provides the same protection as a trade name and the form is filed in the same way.

A DBA does not offer any protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.


Submit Your Trade Name Registration ND Form

Online

Mail

Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Fax

701-328-2992

Fees

  • $25 Filing Fee

Manage Your North Dakota DBA

DBA Questions

Call the North Dakota Secretary of State: 701-328-2904

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your North Dakota trade name expires five years from the date of registration. The Secretary of State will mail renewal forms at least 90 days before the expiration date.

Change Your DBA

To change your trade name, you must cancel your current registration and file a new one.

Withdraw Your DBA

The Secretary of State does not have a trade name cancellation form. The registrant must draft a request to cancel the trade name and submit it and a $10 fee to the Secretary of State.

Need Help Filing Your ND DBA?

Have A Professional Service File Your DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

We recommend using ZenBusiness ($95 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

North Dakota DBA FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in North Dakota?

You can submit your registration form online at North Dakota’s First Stop website.

How do I change my DBA in North Dakota?

To change your trade name, you must cancel your current registration and file a new one.

How do I change my DBA in North Dakota?

To change your trade name, you must cancel your current registration and file a new one.

How can I withdraw my DBA?

The Secretary of State does not have a trade name cancellation form. The registrant must draft a request to cancel the trade name and submit it and a $10 fee to the Secretary of State.

How often should I renew my North Dakota DBA?

Your North Dakota trade name expires five years from the date of registration. The Secretary of State will mail renewal forms at least 90 days before the expiration date.

When is a DBA required in North Dakota?

A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name.

How do I transfer my DBA in North Dakota?

You can transfer ownership of your trade name by filling out the Trade Name Assignment form and mailing it and a $25 fee to the Secretary of State.

Is my North Dakota DBA protected from being used in other places?

Registering a trade name or fictitious name in North Dakota does protect it from being used by other businesses in the state. However, this protection does not carry over state lines. It is possible to create a federal trademark for a DBA, which would offer stronger protection outside of North Dakota.

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. However, more isn’t necessarily better. Each one will come with additional incremental expense and paperwork, so you will want to make sure you have a good reason for each one you have.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you would need one for your business, read What is an EIN from our friends at TRUiC.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

Your DBA is just a name. A DBA is often confused with a sole proprietorship. If you mean “can my sole proprietorship become an LLC?” then the answer is “Yes. Absolutely.”

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have "Inc." in the name?

A DBA can only have "Inc." in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a Rental Property?

It’s always best to consult an attorney. Usually, the best option is to Form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. Holding the rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection.

Useful Links for Your North Dakota DBA