How to Set Up a DBA in Virginia
Step 1: Start With a Virginia DBA Name Search
The first step to getting a DBA is choosing the name and making sure it’s available. Your name can be similar to other business names, but it’s still a good practice to create a unique name.
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. You can also use our free logo generator tool to make a logo yourself! No design experience necessary!
Before you file your DBA, you will be required to search your city or county’s records to make sure your exact name isn’t already taken. You can also use the state's business entity search tool. You will also need to consider any naming rules.
In Virginia, your fictitious name should not include:
- Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc.
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
After registering a domain name for your DBA, consider using a business phone service to improve customer satisfaction and further establish credibility. Our top pick is Nextiva because of its affordable pricing and useful features. Start calling with Nextiva.
Step 2: Register Your Virginia DBA
In Virginia, you register your DBA with the State Corporation Commission. You can file online with the Clerk's Information System or you can complete the PDF form. There are two different PDF forms to choose from depending on your business structure:
The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name Business Conducted by an Entity, used for corporations, LLCs, LPs, and general partnerships, will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, such as:
- Section 1: The name of the entity conducting business under the DBA
- Section 2: The assumed/fictitious name being registered
- Section 3: The entity type
- Section 4: The jurisdiction under which the entity was formed
- Section 5: The entity’s SCC ID number or address
The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name Business Conducted by an Individual, used for sole proprietorships, will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, such as:
- Section 1: The name of the individual that will conduct business under the DBA
- Section 2: The assumed/fictitious name being registered
- Section 3: The address of the individual registering
Submit Your Assumed or Fictitious Name Application
Filing Fee: $10
State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
Need Help Filing Your Virginia DBA?
Have a Professional Service File Your Virginia 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 LegalZoom ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.
FAQ DBA Virginia
Can I file a DBA online in Virginia?
You will need to contact the county or city where you do business to find out if online filing is available. You can find the complete list of county and city contact information here.
How do I withdraw my Virginia DBA?
You will need to contact the county or city where you do business to find out how to withdraw your DBA. You can find the complete list of county and city contact information here.
In Fairfax county, you can cancel your fictitious name by filling out a dissolution form.
How can I insure my Virginia DBA?
DBAs don’t require insurance because DBAs aren't a business entity. However, the business entity that the DBA is under will need protection from losses that can happen naturally in the course of business, such as property damage or lawsuits.
How do I change my DBA in Virginia?
You will need to contact the county or city where you do business to find out how to change your DBA. Typically, you will need to fill out a new registration form. You can find the complete list of county and city contact information here.
How often should I renew my Virginia DBA?
You do not need to renew your Virginia DBA.
When is a DBA required in Virginia?
A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name.
How do I transfer my DBA in Virginia?
You will need to contact the county or city where you do business to find out how to transfer your DBA. You can find the complete list of county and city contact information here.
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.