How to Look Up an LLC in California? (Most Effective Method)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: August 14, 2023
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People want to look up California limited liability companies because they want to establish their own company and need a legal business name.

With over a decade of practice as a business consultant in California and comprehensive research on the topic, I offer an in-depth guide based on relevant state laws and my firsthand experience.

I consulted our team of legal advisors and attorneys to address your concern and offer you some basic search tips on how to look up a limited liability company in California.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in California, you may visit the Secretary of State's website, obtain information from the County Clerk or use search engines.
  • You can search for a California LLC using the entity name, number or particular business type.
  • You can send a name availability inquiry letter to the California Secretary of State.

How To Look Up an LLC in California

Two team mates looking up an LLC in California

To look up an LLC in California, use an online search service. Several websites are offering free limited liability companies' name searches. However, it should be noted that not all of them offer accurate information or a detailed report.

Here are ways to look up a California LLC:

1. State Secretary Business Search Tool

The Secretary of State provides a California business entity search tool that can also be used to check the status of a new filing.

Look up business registration information using the following steps:

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

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
  • Legal Business status (suspended or active entities)
  • Date of formation & registration in California
  • County location
  • Current California registered agent and address
  • Number of members or managers
  • The LLC Articles of Organization document hyperlink to view in pdf format.

2. Obtain LLC Paperwork and Documents

Many documents for California LLC 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.

3. Use the Search Engines

Search engines are a great way to look up for an 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, use more general search terms, so it's broad enough for desired content to appear in the SERP (search engine results page).

What Information Do You Need?

A man looking up an LLC in a laptop

The information you need is the entity name, entity number or particular business entity type.

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

A California business entity search can be performed if you have an entity name. This is the same for general partnerships and limited partnerships.

If you have an entity number, you can search for it using an entity lookup tool.

California Secretary of State website has a business search page that allows you to tick, type in the number and get search results and obtain information.

All business entities that are legally registered through the California Secretary of State will be in this registrar.

LLC Name Availability Inquiry Letter

Searching through a website

California LLC 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 be sure.

You can download this letter 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 business entity.

This form is then mailed to the Secretary of State name availability unit, 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 [1].

Related Articles:


Does California Require LLC in the Name of the Company?

California requires LLC in the name of the company to distinguish the entity from partnerships, limited partnerships, business trusts, holding companies, corporations and associations.

Do I Need a Fictitious Business Name in California?

You do not need a fictitious business name in California, but if the LLC does not include the owner’s last name, a DBA statement must be submitted to the County Clerk’s office.

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

To find out who owns an LLC in California, visit the Secretary of State's website and search for the LLC’s Articles of Organization. The owners of the California LLC are listed in the said document.

How Do I Find My California LLC Number?

You can find your California LLC number on the Secretary of State's website. You can also search for existing business entities in the database by name, location, or file number.

What Information Will I Find When I Look up an LLC in California?

When you look up an LLC in California, you will find information such as the LLC's name, status (active, suspended, dissolved, etc.), entity number, date of formation, registered agent, and address.

California LLC Lookup

Searching the Secretary of State's website is the most effective method of California LLC lookup. As an alternative, you may also send an inquiry letter to the SOS, obtain information from the County Clerk’s office or use search engines.

When starting an LLC in California, it is required to register your business name.

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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