How to Search Available LLC Names in Rhode Island
1. Check Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island LLC names include:
- Your name must end in either the words "limited liability company" or the upper or lower case letters "l.l.c.," with or without punctuation.
- If your company is organized as a low-profit, limited liability company, its name must end with either the words "low-profit, limited liability company" or the abbreviation "L3C" or "l3c"
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Rhode Island 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.
For more information, check out Rhode Island's official state statues.
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets Rhode Island guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by searching the Rhode Island Corporate Database.
It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Rhode Island, a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other registered or reserved business names in the state.
In Rhode Island, the following differences do NOT make a name distinguishable:
- Plural forms of words
- Obvious misspelling of the same name or word
- Variations of the same word
- Entity type identifiers
- The addition of a numeric designation
- Punctuation or special characters
- Numbers written as numerals versus as words
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 Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island 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.
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. Rhode Island provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, called a ficticious name in Rhode Island, is a separate process that requires filing with the Department of State's Business Services Division.
Rhode Island LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Rhode Island?
You can use the Rhode Island Corporate Database 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 Rhode Island 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.
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. Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island?
No. Rhode Island does not require LLCs to renew their legal name or any DBAs.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Rhode Island?
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 fictitious name in Rhode Island.
In Rhode Island, LLC fictitious names are filed with the Department 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 Rhode Island DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Rhode Island from the dropdown menu.