Virginia 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 Virginia Name Check Availability 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 Virginia.

SKIP AHEAD:

1. Check Virginia LLC Naming Guidelines

2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search

3. Complete a Domain Name Search

How to Search Available LLC Names in Virginia

1. Check Virginia 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 Virginia LLC names include:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of their abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.).

  • Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Virginia 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.

Virginia also has the following restrictions for LLC names:

  • Your name cannot contain any word, abbreviation, or combination of characters that states or implies the LLC is a corporation or a limited partnership.

  • Your name cannot include the words “bank” or “trust” unless the LLC will be engaged in the banking or trust company business, or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not be engaged in such business.

  • Your name cannot include the words “engineer,” “architecture,” or “land surveying,” or any variation of those words unless the LLC will be lawfully engaged in those services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not conduct such business.

  • The words “United States,” “national,” “Federal”, and “reserve” may not be included in the name of a business entity that is engaged in the banking, loan, building and loan, brokerage, factorage, insurance, indemnity, savings, or trust business.

For more information, check out Virginia’s State Corporation Commission website.

2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search

Once you know your LLC name meets Virginia guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using the Virginia Name Check Availability tool.

It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Virginia, a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other existing and registered business names in the state.

The following differences do NOT make a name distinguishable in Virginia:

  • Business entity type identifiers
  • Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions 

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 Virginia, 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 Virginia 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 online or by mail with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The filing fee is $10.

You can also extend your name reservation for an additional 120 days if needed.

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

Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, called an assumed or fictitious name in Virginia, is a separate process that requires filing with the State Corporation Commission.

Virginia LLC Name Search FAQ

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

You can use the Virginia Name Check Availability tool to see if your preferred business name is available.

How do I complete a Virginia business name search?

You can use the Virginia Business Entity Search tool to look up existing businesses in the state.

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 Virginia 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, Virginia LLC names cannot contain any word or abbreviation that implies the LLC is a corporation or a limited partnership, and they cannot contain the words “engineer,” “architecture,” or “land surveying,” unless the LLC will be lawfully engaged in those services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not conduct such business.

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. Virginia 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 Virginia?

Yes. Virginia requires that its LLCs use “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.) in their legal name.

Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Virginia?

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 or fictitious name in Virginia.

In Virginia, LLC assumed or fictitious names are filed with the State Corporation Commission.

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 Virginia DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Virginia from the dropdown menu.

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