How to Check Corporation Name Availability in Alabama

Woman doing an Alabama corporation name search on her computer.

Before you form a corporation, you’ll need to complete a business name search with the Alabama Business Entity Search tool to check if your corporation name is available.

We'll show you how to check corporation name availability in Alabama in this guide.

Or, use a professional service:

4.7 out of 5 stars ZenBusiness ($49 + state fee)

Alabama Corporation Name Search

The Alabama Secretary of State requires all business names to be distinguishable from other business entities in the state. So, you’ll want to search and make sure no other businesses in the state are already using your name.

It is also useful to see if your corporation name is available as a web domain (URL).

SKIP AHEAD:

  1. How to Register a Corporation Name in Alabama
  2. Alabama Corporation Name Requirements
  3. Alabama Corporation Name Search FAQ

How to Search Available Alabama Corporation Names

Once you know your corporation name meets Alabama business name guidelines, make sure it’s available by using the Alabama Business Entity Search tool.

Want to learn more about corporations? Check out our What Is a Corporation guide to get started.

How to Check Available Domain Names

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

Find a Domain Now

How to Register a Corporation Name in Alabama

Reserve Your Name

Alabama requires corporations to reserve their name before they can register it.

A Name Reservation Request Form for Domestic Entities can be filed online or by mail with the Alabama Secretary of State. Online filers can reserve their name when filing their Certificate of Incorporation, while mail-in filers must submit their name reservation at least two weeks before registration. You can also reserve a name for at least one year prior to formation.

The filing fee is $25 by mail, $27 for online subscribers, and $28 for online non-subscribers.

Register Your Name

A corporation name is officially registered when you file your Alabama Certificate of Incorporation. You can hire a professional service to form a corporation for you or start a corporation yourself.

Ready to register your corporation name? Use our Form a Corporation guide to get started.

If you want to register a DBA in Alabama, known as a trade name, that’s a separate process that requires filing a separate form with the Secretary of State.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation? ZenBusiness will get you started.

Alabama Corporation Name Requirements

Key Guidelines

Alabama has official requirements for its corporation names.

The name must contain the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” or an abbreviation of one of these terms. Exceptions include nonprofit corporations, banks, trust companies, savings and loan associations, and insurance companies.

There are also restricted words, such as “FBI” or “Treasury,” that you cannot use in order to keep your LLC from sounding like an official institution.

Alabama also has the following restrictions for corporation names:

  • Any banking-related name needs a letter from the Alabama Banking Commissioner’s Office, and any insurance-related name needs a letter from the Alabama Insurance Commissioner’s Office.
  • Any name using a professional designation in the name (i.e., engineering, attorney) requires a copy of the license of one officer/member or a letter from the governing agency allowing the use of the name without licensing.
  • The name cannot include any words that indicate or imply that the corporation is engaged in a business that is not authorized by law to pursue.

For more information, check out the Alabama state statutes on corporation names.

Distinguishability

Your name must be distinguishable from all other Alabama business names. In Alabama, a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other existing or reserved business names in the state.

Words or abbreviations indicating the type of company, such as “LLC,” “Inc.,” etc. do NOT make a name distinguishable in Alabama:

If your corporation name isn’t distinguishable, your Certificate of Incorporation filing will likely be rejected.

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

For a list of brainstorming tips, check out our guide to naming your business.

Alabama Corporation Name Search FAQ

How do I check if a corporation name is taken in Alabama?

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

Learn more about business entity name availability in the Alabama Corporation Name Search section.

Should I name my corporation after myself?

While there’s no rule against naming a corporation after yourself, most experts advise against doing this. 

One of the benefits of starting a corporation is the ability to choose a different name for your business, which can make it sound more professional.

To explore other naming options, use our free AI-powered business name generator.

What words can’t be used in an Alabama corporation 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, Alabama corporation names cannot include any banking-related terms without regulatory approval, and the use of certain professional terms (such as engineering or attorney) requires a licensed member and state approval. Names also cannot imply that the company is engaged in a business that is not authorized by law to pursue.

Learn more about corporation naming requirements in the Alabama Corporation Name Requirements section.

Should I use a business name generator?

If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your corporation, a corporation name generator can help you come up with some ideas.

Do I have to include ‘corporation’ in my name?

Alabama corporation names must contain the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” or an abbreviation of one of these terms. Exceptions include nonprofit corporations, banks, trust companies, savings and loan associations, and insurance companies.

Learn more about corporation naming requirements in the Alabama Corporation Name Requirements section.

Do I need to renew my business name in Alabama?

Alabama doesn't require corporations to renew their legal name, but trade names must be renewed every five years with the Secretary of State.

You can renew online or by mail. The filing fee is $30.

Can my business name be different from my corporation name in Alabama?

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 trade name in Alabama. 

In Alabama, trade names for corporations are filed with the Secretary of State.

Learn more about trade names with our Alabama DBA guide.

Does my corporation need a DBA name?

Your corporation doesn’t need a DBA name unless it plans to do business under a name other than its legal name. Learn more with our Alabama DBA guide.