Last updated: July 10, 2022

People want to look up California limited liability companies for various reasons, but mainly because they want to start their own company and need a desired business name or are simply curious about how to locate it.

The process itself is simple, but there are some things you should know before you start with your business entity search. This guide will show you some search tips and how easy it can be to look up a limited liability company in California.

What Information Do You Need?

Pointing on the laptop

The entity name 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 gets from the California Secretary of State), you can search for it using an entity lookup tool.

The state website has a business search page that allows you to tick, type in the number and get search results and obtain information with this criteria. All entities that are legally registered through the Secretary of State will be in this registrar.

A business search can also be performed if you only have an entity name without the entity number as search criteria. This is the same for general partnerships and limited partnerships.

Most Effective Search Methods

Two team mates searching online

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

Click on the "Check Availability" link by the California business LLC you wish to check. The system will return all information associated with your request, including filing history, entity type, entity number, name, current status, etc. It applies to limited liability partnerships as well.

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

The information you can obtain includes:

  • Current name and previous names, if any
  • Business status (suspended or active entities)
  • 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 California business establishments are public records. That means that you should be able to obtain information and copies of the documents through your local county recorder's office if you have a California LLC entity 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 limited liability information, which you can view online.

The records will also give you the creation and dissolution dates of an entity, as well as any name 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 a California LLC. You can enter the desired name or other search criteria into the providers you prefer and see what results are returned.

If you have trouble finding desired search results from your search, use more general search terms, so it's 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 and search criteria to get even better search results.

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 website and navigate the Business Entities Search page. Once you type in your desired name as search criteria, you need to know how to interpret the obtained results.

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

On the other hand, if the search results find limited liability companies' name that resembles or is identical to your target name, you are not allowed to use them.

The name availability inquiry letter is a way of checking name availability before you file your Articles of Organization. Contact a law firm if you want to make absolutely sure.

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

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

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FAQs

Does California Require LLC in the Name?

Yes. A California LLC 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 through a registered agent. To view your California LLC's Articles of Organization, visit the Secretary of State website and search for your company name through a 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.

California LLC Lookup: Conclusion

If you are unsure whether you performed the California business search correctly, consult a law firm or contact the local government agency office.

This applies to general partnerships, limited partnership corporations, limited liability partnerships, and others.

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