How to Check LLC Name Availability in North Carolina

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

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

In our North Carolina LLC Name Search guide, we'll show you exactly how to check LLC name availability in North Carolina.

Need help forming your LLC? Check out our Best LLC Services review.

SKIP AHEAD:

Complete a North Carolina Business Entity Search

Complete a Domain Name Search

Register Your Business Name


North Carolina LLC Name Search

The North Carolina Secretary of State requires all business names to be distinguishable from other business entities in the state.

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

What if my LLC name is already taken? Our AI-powered LLC name generator will give you thousands of new ideas.

How to Search Available LLC Names

You can check your business name availability by searching the North Carolina Business Entity Search online database.

How to Check Available Domain Names

When deciding on a name for your LLC, you should make sure that a similar or exact domain name is available. A matching URL will help potential customers find your LLC faster.

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 North Carolina LLC guide to get started.

Registering a DBA in North Carolina (also known as an assumed business name) is a separate process that requires filing with the county or counties the LLC does business in.

Reserve Your Name

You can optionally reserve your LLC name in North Carolina 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 with the North Carolina Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name form by mail. The filing fee is $30.

North Carolina Naming Requirements

Some key guidelines for North Carolina LLC names include:

  • Your name must contain one of the following: limited liability company, ltd. liability co., limited liability co., ltd. liability company, LLC, or L.L.C.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business name in the state. This includes 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.

North Carolina requires approval to use any of the following words in an LLC name:

  • Bank, banker, banking cooperative, co-op, mutual, trust, architect, architecture, architectural, certified public accountant (CPA), engineer, engineering, insurance, pharmacy, prescription drug, drug, prescription, Rx, apothecary, realtor, surveyor, survey, surveying, and wholesale.

For more information, check out North Carolina’s official state statutes.

Distinguishability

It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In North Carolina, a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other existing or reserved business names in the state.

The following differences do NOT make a name distinguishable in North Carolina:

  • Designation of business entity type
  • Articles
  • Conjunctions
  • Prepositions
  • Punctuation
  • Spaces
  • Use of numeral versus written numbers

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

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North Carolina LLC Name Search FAQ

How do I check if an LLC name is taken in North Carolina?

You can use the North Carolina Business Entity Search tool to see if your preferred business name is available.

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 North Carolina 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, North Carolina requires approval to use any of the following words in an LLC name: bank, banker, banking cooperative, co-op, mutual, trust, architect, architecture, architectural, certified public accountant (CPA), engineer, engineering, insurance, pharmacy, prescription drug, drug, prescription, Rx, apothecary, realtor, surveyor, survey, surveying, and wholesale.

Learn more about LLC naming requirements in the North Carolina 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. North Carolina 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 North Carolina Naming Requirements section.

Do I need to renew my business name in North Carolina?

North Carolina doesn't require LLCs to renew their name.

Learn more about assumed business names with our North Carolina DBA guide.

Can my business name be different from my LLC name in North Carolina?

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 an assumed business name in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, assumed business names are filed with the county or counties where you do business.

Learn more about assumed business names with our North Carolina 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 North Carolina DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting North Carolina from the dropdown menu.