California Secretary of State Business Entity Search

California is considered to be one of the most beautiful states in the USA. It is home to some of the leading tech giants and ranks first in terms of the largest economy in the USA. Thus, California will be a great place for you to enjoy copious economic growth. To set up a new business in California, the first step is to decide the name for your business by performing a California business entity search.

In California, new entrepreneurs can choose from a number of business entities like a corporation, LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship, or cooperative business. But for small to medium businesses, forming a California LLC is the safest and easiest way as they protect owners’ personal assets and has many tax benefits too.


California Business Entity Search


A business entity is simply an organization that is officially established by a single person or a group of individuals to manage their business. The first and most important step for establishing a business is to perform a business entity search for your desired name. Business entity search is a process carried out for selecting a unique name for a business that is not already taken by anyone else in the state. Thus, by doing a California business entity search, your business will stand out from the rest and will not get confused with other businesses in the state.

California LLC Naming Guidelines:

There are some rules and regulations imposed by the California secretary of state for naming your limited liability company in the state.

  • The first and foremost rule is that your LLC business name must have the word limited liability company or its short forms LLC or L.L.C at the end.
  • To form an LLC in California your name should not have words like bank, corporation, trust, insurance company, and so on. 
  • Also, your LLC name must not be confused with California government agencies. That’s why you are restricted from using words like agency, department and commission, municipal, bureau, etc in your LLC name.
  • Lastly, you cannot name your California LLC after an already existing registered business with the same name. To make sure of this, do the California business entity search prior to registering your LLC.

California Business Entity Search Methods

Different states have a number of methods to facilitate business entity search to their citizens. So what are the methods of California business entity search? Well, there are two ways to perform a California SOS business search.

  • Entity Name Search
  • Entity Number Seach

Now that you know the methods available for performing a California Secretary of state business search, we will get into procedures about the same.

1. Entity Name Search

This can be done by visiting the California Secretary of State business search page. You can search for the availability of names for both Corporations and LLCs. 

  • Once you open the page, type your desired name in the search criteria. 
  • Select the appropriate search filter (keyword, exact & begins with) and click on the search button.


  • It will show you the list of businesses that are using the exact same or similar names for their business along with some details. Don’t forget to check out the search tips for using provided filters for the entity name search.

2. Entity Number Search

Entity number is a unique identification number provided by California SOS to every organization. You can search for both LLCs and corporation businesses using their entity number on the California SOS business search page.

To get more details about a business entity like its status, filing date, and registered agent, you can search by using its entity number.

  • Go to the California Secretary of State business search page and make a search by typing the entity number of any particular California-based business.

  • This will show you a single refined result displaying all the necessary details earlier in the “Entity Number Search” segment. The result page will look like this.

  • To search for a corporation, you’ll have to type their seven-digit entity number followed by the capital letter C.
  • Similarly, to search for an LLC, you can simply type their allocated 12 digit entity number.

Reserve Your California LLC Name

If you are still not sure about using the name, you can also choose to reserve it for a particular time period. For that, you have to just fill the Name Reservation Request form. The name reservation cost in California is $10 with which your name will be reserved for 60 days. You can also renew the reservation after 60 days. But there must be a gap of 1 day before requesting the renewal. 

Note: It is important to know that at this moment the name reservation request in California cannot be submitted online. 

Register Your California LLC Name

If you are successful in finding a unique, relevant, and catchy name for your California LLC then the next step is making it yours by registering your LLC. This could be done by filing the California Articles of Organisation which costs $70. However, this is not necessarily an immediate step.

Revise Your California LLC Name

If your LLC name is no longer reflecting your business niche then you can easily revise it. To do this, you can fill the California name change amendment form and submit it to the California SOS. The filing fee is $30. You can either submit this by mail or in person. In-person submission will take an extra $15 as a handling fee.

Domain and TrademarkUnited_States_Patent_and_Trademark_Office.svg

In today’s day and age, your domain name also holds the same importance. It is advised to select a domain name that also reflects the official business name. This makes it easier for potential customers to find your business online. Also, Your selected name must not violate another firm’s existing trademark in California. To make sure of this you can visit California Trademark Search which will let you know whether your desired domain name is trademarked in California or not. You can also file your own California trademark online. Just visit the trademark registration page on California SOS’s biz file portal. The filing fee for a California trademark is $70 per class.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I reserve a name for my LLC after performing a California business entity search?

Yes. If you are not sure about registering a selected name for your LLC then you can fill the application for name reservation by filling the name reservation request form on the California secretary of state official website.

2. What is the name reservation cost for an entity in California?

You can reserve an LLC name in California for 60 days which will cost you only about $10.

3. Can I renew my California LLC name reservation?

Yes. but you’ll have to wait for 1 day after your reservation ends. Then you can easily apply for renewal.

4. Can I put my LLC name reservation request online in California?

No. Unfortunately at this moment, online entity name reservation is not possible in California.

5. What is the next step after performing a California business entity search?

The next step is to make the name yours by appointing a registered agent to file the Articles of Organisation

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