If you're curious about how to find an LLC in California, keep in mind that this process is fairly simple, although you will need a few pieces of information for your search to be thorough. People want to look up a California LLC for various reasons, but mainly because they want to start their own company and need a business entity or are simply curious how to locate it.

The process itself is simple, but there are some things you should know before you get started. This guide will show you some search tips and how easy it can be to lookup an LLC in California.

What Information Do You Need?

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The entity search for a limited liability company in California can be different depending on the information you have at hand.

If you have an entity number (the number every business entity gets from the California Secretary of State), you can search for it using an entity lookup tool.

The Califonia Secretary of State website has a business search page that allows you to tick, type in the entity number and perform a search with only this information. All business entities that are legally registered through the Secretary of State will be in this registrar.

A business entity search can also be performed if you only have an entity name without the entity number.

Please note: just because an entity has been formed does not necessarily mean its status is active. Some businesses choose to keep their status dormant until they need them (for example, when filing tax returns). This means that some records will only show as "dormant," so take this into account when searching and be sure to check all options before making assumptions about whether an entity exists or not.

Related Article: How to Lookup an LLC in Illinois?


Most Effective Search Methods

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To find information about the status of corporations, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies in California, you can perform a California business name search. This will let you know if the company is active, suspended, or dissolved. You can also use this information to find out its registered agent and other important contact details.

The most effective way to conduct your business search query online would be using an LLC lookup services. There are several websites offering free limited liability companies' names searches. However, it should be noted that not all of them offer accurate information. In some cases, they won't even show up when doing a proper search for your particular type of business entity. So don't waste too much time on those sites.

Secretary of State Business Search Tool

The California Secretary of State provides an LLC availability search tool that can also be used to check the status of a new filing. Look up California LLC registration information using the following steps:

  • Navigate to the Secretary of State business search tool
  • Type in search criteria, e.g., the limited liability company name
  • Click 'Continue' to see whether or not California LLC is available for use

Click on the "Check Availability" link by the California LLC you wish to check. The system will return all information associated with your request, including filing history, business entity type, current status, etc.

You don't have to be extremely specific with the correct search name. As long as it starts with the same word or phrase, you'll get good search results.

The information you can obtain from the Secretary of State include:

  • Current entity name and previous names, if any
  • Business status (active or suspended)
  • Date of formation & registration in California
  • County location
  • Current registered agent and address
  • Number of members or managers, if any
  • The Articles of Organization document hyperlink to view in pdf format.

Obtain LLC Paperwork and Documents

Many documents for business entities are public records. That means that you should be able to obtain copies of the documents through your local county recorder's office if you have an LLC name. In California's case, that will be the State's Sacramento office, where you need to fill out the Business Entities Records—Order Form. You can either print it out and hand it in person or send it online.

This will allow you to access your LLC information, which you can view online.

The records will also give you the creation and dissolution dates of a business entity, as well as any names changes or information if no longer registered with the state. Keep in mind that some LLCs may have been dissolved, and you might not be able to access the information.

Use the Search Engines

Search engines are a great way to find information about an LLC. You can enter the desired name or other search terms into the providers you prefer and see what results are returned.

If you have trouble finding desired results, use more general keywords so that your search is broad enough for desired content to appear in the SERP (search engine results page). Then go back later on and give it another shot with some different keywords to get even better results.

Additionally, if desired - try searching through Twitter or LinkedIn as well. Social media sites are all good places where people post updates about their businesses, including new establishments they open up. This means that by following certain companies on social networking sites, you may be able to stay updated regarding any changes happening at the moment.

Searching through a website

To perform a name availability search, you can use the California Secretary of State service or send a name availability inquiry letter by mail.

To perform an online search using their service tool, visit the California Secretary of State website and navigate to the Business Entities Search page. Once you type in your desired name, you need to know how to interpret the obtained results.

If the results reveal business names that are not overly similar to yours or find no matching business entities, you can use it.

On the other hand, if the search tool finds the LLC's name that resembles your target name or is identical to it, you are not allowed to use it.

The name availability inquiry letter is a way of checking name availability before you file your Articles of Organization.

You can download this setter in PDF, fill it out by providing your name, physical address, phone number, the type of entity (limited partnership, corporation, or an LLC), and provide three options for the exact name you want to give to your LLC.

This form is then mailed to the California Secretary of State name availability unit, 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.


Does California Require LLC in the Name?

Yes. A California entity name has to contain a word or abbreviation that states or implies that it is an entity organized as partnerships, limited partnerships, business trusts, holding companies, corporations, associations, etc.

Is a Fictitious Business Name Required in California?

When the LLC's name does not include the owner's last name, a DBA statement for a fictitious/ DBA name must be submitted to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office.

How Do I Find Out Who Owns an LLC in California?

The owners of an LLC in California should be listed in the Articles of Organization. To view your California LLC's Articles of Organization, visit the Secretary of State website and search for your company name through a Business Search page.

How Do I Find My California LLC Number?

You may search our database of all active entities registered with the Secretary of State using SCC's free online Search Business Name & DBA File tool, which provides access to all active business entity names and DBA's filed with the California Secretary of State. You can also search by name, location, or file number for existing entities in our database.

Is an Entity Number the Same as an EIN?

No. An EIN is the Employer Identification Number provided by the IRS. The entity number is a unique identifier for each LLC, Corporation, or Partnership in California.

LLC California Lookup: Conclusion

If you are unsure whether you performed the California LLC name search correctly, consult with a professional or contact the local government office.

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