How to File a Rhode Island DBA

Image of a man searching how to file a D B A in Rhode Island online

Filing a Rhode Island DBA (doing business as), also known as a fictitious business name, is a simple process and it’s done with the Rhode Island Department of State and at the city level.

To learn more about why you may need a DBA, read our What is a DBA article.

How To Use This Guide

Complete Steps 1 and 2:

1. Register Your RI DBA With The State

All Rhode Island DBAs must be registered with Rhode Island Secretary of State.

2. Check For RI DBA Rules With The City Where You Do Business

Depending on where your company does business, you may be required to register your RI DBA with the city.

Use A Professional Service

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

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Filing a Rhode Island DBA with the State

All businesses operating under a name other than their legal name must file their DBA with the Rhode Island Department of State.

Step 1: Start With a Rhode Island DBA Name Search

If you haven't already, head over to the Rhode Island Department of State website to make sure your name isn't taken by— or too similar to— another registered Rhode Island 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.

Make sure your name complies with Rhode Island naming rules:

  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your business.
  • Learn more about Rhode Island naming guidelines here.

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.

If you need extra guidance with naming your business, we can help.

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 Rhode Island DBA

If your business is operating under a name other than its legal name, you are required to file your DBA with the Rhode Island Department of State.

You can file online or print a copy of the fictitious business name statement.

The application will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, such as:

  • The legal name of the business
  • Entity ID number
  • Date and location of incorporation
  • Description of the business

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 Fictitious Business Name Statement

Mail

Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, RI, 02904-2615

Payment and Fees

Fees

  • $50 Filing Fee

Payment

The fee is payable either in person via cash, credit card, or check at the Business Services Division, or by mail to the Business Services Division via check made payable to R.I. Department of State.

Manage Your Rhode Island DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Rhode Island Department of State: (401) 222-3040

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your fictitious business name statement does not expire.

Change Your DBA

To change your DBA, you need to file a new registration form.

Withdraw Your DBA

You can withdraw your DBA by filing a statement of abandonment of use of a fictitious name form. You can also do this online. The fee is $50.

Filing a Rhode Island DBA in the City where you do Business

Depending on where your company does business, you may be required to register a fictitious or trade name with the city. Check with your local city clerk’s office about its particular requirements.

Step 1: Start With a Rhode Island DBA Name Search

If you haven't already, head over to the Rhode Island Department of State website to make sure your name isn't taken by— or too similar to— another registered Rhode Island 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.

Make sure your name complies with Rhode Island naming rules:

  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your business.
  • Learn more about Rhode Island naming guidelines here.

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.

If you need extra guidance with naming your business, we can help.

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 Rhode Island DBA with the City Clerk

We will give you step-by-step directions to get a City of Providence DBA. Providence requires any business with an address in the city that is operating under a name other than its legal name to file for an assumed business name.

If you need to file in a different city than Providence, you’ll have to get in touch with the city clerk for instructions. You can find your counties' contact information here.


How to File a City of Providence DBA

At this point, you should’ve already chosen a name for your business and completed the name searches in Step 1 above.

Providence suggests searching their trade name records before you start the DBA filing process. You can search that database online.

Form

Submit Your Certificate of Assumed Business Name

Providence City Hall
25 Dorrance Street
Room 311

Payment

  • $10 Filing Fee
  • $0.50 Notarization Fee (per owner) if the form is not already notarized

Manage Your City of Providence DBA

DBA Questions

Contact the Providence City Clerk: 401.680.5248.

Renew Your DBA

Your assumed name does not expire.

Change Your DBA

You will need to file a new registration to change your assumed name.

Withdraw Your DBA

Contact the Providence City Clerk: 401.680.5248.

Need Help Filing Your RI DBA?

Have A Professional Service File Your RI 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 MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

Rhode Island DBA FAQ

Can I file a DBA online in Rhode Island?

You can file for a Rhode Island DBA at the state’s Business Services Online Filing System website.

How do I change my DBA in Rhode Island?

To change your DBA, you will need to complete a new registration.

For most changes, visit the County Clerk’s office to complete an amendment form and pay a filing fee. Contact your city clerk for city-specific instructions for changing your DBA at the city level.

How Can I Withdraw my DBA?

You can withdraw your state DBA by filing a statement of abandonment of the use of a fictitious name form. You can also do this online. The fee is $50.

Contact your city clerk for city-specific instructions for withdrawing your DBA.

How often should I renew my Rhode Island DBA?

Your Rhode Island DBA doesn’t have to be renewed.

When is a DBA required in Rhode Island?

A state DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name. Contact your local city clerk’s office for regulations regarding DBAs at the city level.

How do I transfer my DBA in Rhode Island?

You can make amendments to the owner names on your state DBA registration form by filing a certificate of correction.

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.

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

There are some state-level laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

Useful Links for Your Rhode Island DBA