How to Search Available LLC Names in Illinois
1. Check Illinois 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 Illinois LLC names include:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.). If it is classified as a “low-profit LLC,” it must contain "L3C."
- Your name must be the name under which your LLC conducts business unless you register for an assumed name.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state.
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.
Illinois also has the following LLC name restrictions:
- Your name cannot include any of the following terms: Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, Inc., Ltd., Co., Limited Partnership, and L.P.
- Your name cannot contain any word or phrase (e.g. trust, trustee, fiduciary) that indicates or implies that your LLC is in the business of a corporate fiduciary unless permitted by the Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. If the LLC is organized to accept or execute trusts, the name must contain the word “trust.”
- The name may not contain any word or phrase that is restricted by any other state statute (e.g., LLCs are not permitted to operate as banks or insurers in Illinois).
For more information, check out Illinois’s official state statutes.
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets Illinois guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using the Illinois LLC Search tool.
It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Illinois, a distinguishable name is one that is substantially different from another business name.
The following differences are NOT considered substantial in Illinois:
- Business entity identifiers such as "limited", "liability" or "company" or an abbreviation of one of those words.
- Different tenses or number of the same word
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 Illinois, 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 Illinois for up to 90 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 by mail with the Illinois Secretary of State. The filing fee is $25.
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. Illinois provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, called an assumed name in Illinois, is a separate process that requires filing with the Secretary of State.
Illinois LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Illinois?
You can use the Illinois LLC 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 Illinois 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.
Additionally, Illinois LLC names cannot include any of the following terms:
- Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, Inc., Ltd., Co., Limited Partnership, L.P.
- Any word or phrase (e.g. trust, trustee, fiduciary) that indicates or implies that your LLC is in the business of a corporate fiduciary
- Any word or phrase that is restricted by any other state statute (e.g., LLCs are not permitted to operate as banks or insurers in Illinois)
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. Illinois 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 Illinois?
Illinois does not require LLCs to renew their legal name, but LLC assumed names must be renewed every five years with the Secretary of State.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Illinois?
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 assumed name in Illinois.
In Illinois, LLC assumed names are filed with the Secretary of State.
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 Illinois DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Illinois from the dropdown menu.