DC Business Name Search

A laptop with a search engine open that says "LLC Name Search"

Before you form an LLC, register a trade name, or start a corporation, you'll need to complete a business name search with the Washington D.C. Business Entity Search tool to see if your name is unique.

In our DC Business Name Search guide, we'll show you exactly how to check LLC name availability in Washington D.C.

Recommended: ZenBusiness will register your business name when they form your LLC for $49 (plus state fees).

SKIP AHEAD:

Complete a Washington D.C. Business Entity Search

Complete a Domain Name Search

Register Your Business Name

Washington D.C. LLC Name Search

The Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs requires all business names to be distinguishable from other business entities in the district.

It's also important to search for a matching domain name (URL).

How to Search Available LLC Names

You can check your business name availability by searching the Washington D.C. Business Entity Search online database. You will need an Access DC account to log into CorpOnline.

Recommended: If you don’t have a business name yet or find that yours is taken, use our LLC Name Generator.

How to Check Available Domain Names

When choosing a business name you'll need to find out whether or not a good web domain name is available. Having a URL that clearly matches your business name is important. This small step can make a big difference in how prospective customers find your business.

The best way to determine if your desired URL is available is to search for it using your preferred domain registry, such as GoDaddy.

Find a Domain Now

How to Register Your Business Name

Register Your Name

An LLC name is officially registered when you file your LLC application documents and form an LLC.

Ready to register your LLC name? Use our Washington D.C. LLC guide to get started.

Registering a DBA in Washington D.C. (also known as a trade name) is a separate process that requires filing with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Reserve Your Name

You can optionally reserve your LLC name in Washington D.C. 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 or by mail with the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The filing fee is $50.

Washington D.C. Naming Requirements

Some key guidelines for Washington D.C. LLC names include:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.).
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the district. This includes Washington D.C. reserved names.

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.

Additionally, Washington D.C. LLC names cannot contain the words “bank,” “banking,” “credit union,” “insurance,” or words of similar meaning without the prior approval of the Mayor.

For more information, check out Washington D.C.’s official statutes on naming requirements and distinguishable names.

Distinguishability

It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Washington D.C., a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other existing or reserved business names in the district.

Business entity type identifiers (e.g., LLC, Corp.) do NOT make a name distinguishable in Washington D.C.

Failure to use a distinguishable name could result in your formation filing being rejected.

Is your name already taken? Our free AI-powered LLC name generator will generate thousands of new ideas.

Washington D.C. LLC Name Search FAQ

How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Washington D.C.?

You can use the Washington D.C. Business Entity Search tool to see if your business name is available. You will need an Access DC account.

Learn more about business entity name availability in the How to Search Available LLC Names section.

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.

To explore other naming options, use your free AI-powered LLC Name Generator.

What words can’t be used in a Washington D.C. 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 or federal government agency.

Additionally, Washington D.C. LLC names cannot contain the words “bank,” “banking,” “credit union,” “insurance,” or words of similar meaning without the prior approval of the Mayor.

Learn more about LLC naming requirements in the Washington D.C. Naming Requirements section.

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.

Learn more about branding with your business entity name with our How to Name an LLC guide.

Do I have to include LLC in my name?

Yes. Washington D.C. requires that its LLCs use “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.) in their legal name.

Learn more about LLC naming requirements in the Washington D.C. Naming Requirements section.

Do I need to renew my business name in Washington D.C.?

Washington D.C. doesn't require LLCs to renew their legal name, but trade names must be renewed every two years.

You can renew online or by mail. The filing fee is $55.

Learn more about trade names with our Washington D.C. DBA guide.

Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Washington D.C.?

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 Washington D.C. 

In Washington D.C., LLC trade names are filed with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Learn more about trade names with our Washington D.C. DBA guide.

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 Washington D.C. DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Washington D.C. from the dropdown menu.