North Carolina LLC Name Search

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

Before you form an LLC, you will need to complete a business name search with the North Carolina Business Entity Search tool to check if your LLC name is available.

In our LLC Name Search guide, we will show you exactly how to look up available business names for free in North Carolina.

SKIP AHEAD:

1. Check North Carolina LLC Naming Guidelines

2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search

3. Complete a Domain Name Search

How to Search Available LLC Names in North Carolina

1. Check North Carolina 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 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.

2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search

Once you know your LLC name meets North Carolina guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using the North Carolina Business Entity Search tool.

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 any other registered or reserved business name in the state.

The following differences do NOT make a business 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.

What if my LLC name is already taken? If your LLC name is unavailable in North Carolina, it’s time to come up with some new ideas. 

Use this guide to naming your business to learn some brainstorming tips. You can also use our free LLC name generator to come up with some name ideas.

3. Complete a Domain Name Search

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.

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How to Reserve or Register Your Business Name

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.

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. North Carolina provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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. 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.

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

No. North Carolina does not require LLCs to renew their legal name or any DBAs.

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.

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.

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