How to Check Corporation Name Availability in North Carolina

Woman doing a North Carolina corporation name search on her computer.

Before you form a corporation, you’ll need to complete a business name search with the North Carolina business entity search tool to check if your corporation name is available.

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

Or, use a professional service:

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

North Carolina Corporation Name Search

The North Carolina 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 North Carolina
  2. North Carolina Corporation Name Requirements
  3. North Carolina Corporation Name Search FAQ

How to Search Available North Carolina Corporation Names

Once you know your corporation name meets North Carolina business name guidelines, make sure it’s available by using the North Carolina 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 North Carolina

Register Your Name

A corporation name is officially registered when you file your North Carolina Articles 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 North Carolina, known as an assumed business name, that’s a separate process that requires filing a separate form with the Register of Deeds Office of your business’s home county.

Reserve Your Name

While not required, you have the option to reserve your corporation name in North Carolina for up to 120 days before you register it. This prevents other businesses from registering your name until you are ready to register it yourself. 

Name reservations can be filed online or by mail with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The filing fee is $30.

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

North Carolina Corporation Name Requirements

Key Guidelines

North Carolina has official requirements for its corporation names.

The name must contain the word “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited” or an abbreviation of one of these terms.

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.

In North Carolina, you also need additional approval to use any of the following words in your corporation’s 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 the North Carolina state statute on corporation names.

Distinguishability

Your name must be distinguishable from all other North Carolina 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

If your corporation name isn’t distinguishable, your Articles 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.

North Carolina Corporation Name Search FAQ

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

You can use the North Carolina business entity search tool to see if your business name is available.

Learn more about business entity name availability in the North Carolina 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 a North Carolina 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, North Carolina corporation names need approval to use any of the following words: 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 corporation naming requirements in the North Carolina 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?

North Carolina corporation names must contain the word “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited” or an abbreviation of one of these terms.

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

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

North Carolina doesn't require corporations to renew their legal name or assumed name.

Can my business name be different from my corporation 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 name in North Carolina. 

In North Carolina, assumed names for corporations are filed with the Register of Deeds office in your business’s home county.

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