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

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: February 14, 2024
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When starting a Virginia limited liability company, it is crucial to conduct a thorough Virginia business entity search to ensure your chosen business name is unique and not already in use by any other entities.

This step is essential to avoid potential conflicts or confusion with other companies.

With years of practice as a business consultant for limited liability companies in various states, I helped clients and addressed their concerns.

After thorough research and collaboration with our team of legal advisors, I will provide you with a comprehensive guide on the ways you could look up a Virginia business entity.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Virginia, the most effective method is to visit the Division Corporation and use the Virginia business search tool.
  • The Virginia Secretary of State offers a Business Name Search tool on its website, allowing for a comprehensive search of LLCs and corporations to check for existing entities in the state.
  • The Virginia State Corporation Commission's website offers a search function for Virginia LLCs or corporations, boasting an online database with over 800,000 registered companies, facilitating efficient business research and due diligence.
  • In my experience, conducting a thorough search for an LLC in Virginia is essential for legal compliance and ensuring a unique and distinguishable brand identity in the market.

How to Search an LLC in Virginia?

A man looking up an LLC in Virginia on laptop

You can look up a business in Virginia by accessing the Corporation Commission website. The platform has an online database that contains all registered companies in the state.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has a website that allows you to search for a Virginia LLC or corporation by its business name, entity ID, principal name, and registered agent. According to recent statistics released by the Commission, their online database boasts a comprehensive repository of over 800,000 registered companies, offering users a wealth of information at their fingertips for conducting business research and due diligence.

You can also conduct an international name search if you are not sure of the company's principal office address.

Once you have found your Virginia LLC, you will gain basic information about the Virginia business, such as the name, registered agent, address, and public records filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

Woman on call while looking at her laptop

The Virginia Secretary of State offers a Business Name Search tool on its website to assist you in performing an LLC or corporation search and determining whether a company is registered in the state.

You can use the platform by following this guide:

  • Conduct a Business Name Search using the Secretary of State's database to check for existing entities in the state.
  • Enter the full business name, avoiding abbreviations like "LLC."
  • This search will identify entities with similar or identical names to yours, allowing for a comprehensive search.

You can also use Virginia's State Corporation Commission website's Name Distinguishability feature to assess name availability. The Name Distinguishability feature compares your proposed name with existing registered entities in Virginia.

The search results will include companies with identical or very similar names.

b. Entity Number

If you have the entity number, you can conduct a more direct search. This number is unique to each business and can quickly provide you with specific information about the LLC you are interested in.

c. Executive Name

Searching by an executive's name is another option. This is particularly useful if you know the names of the LLC's principals and want to find businesses associated with them.

2. Call the State

Search engine logo on a laptop

For more detailed inquiries or assistance, you can call the Virginia State Corporation Commission at 804-371-9967 or 1-800-552-7945. This direct line to state officials can provide additional help or clarification.

3. Send an Email

Sending an email to is another effective way to get information or ask specific questions about LLC searches in Virginia.

Here are the steps to follow when emailing the VSCC:

  • Write an email with a clear subject line, such as "Inquiry about LLC Status in Virginia".
  • In the email body, briefly explain that you are seeking information about a specific LLC.
  • Provide the name of the LLC and any other relevant identifiers to assist in the lookup.
  • Include your full name and contact details for any follow-up correspondence.

4. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

Search engine logo on a laptop

There are other unofficial alternative methods beyond the primary state resources you can use to perform a search on an LLC.

These alternatives can provide additional layers of information and may be particularly useful in complex cases or when conducting in-depth research.

a. Online Legal Databases

Online legal databases such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, or Bloomberg Law offer comprehensive resources for business entity searches.

b. Consulting with a Business Attorney

They can assist in interpreting legal documents, advising on potential legal implications, and ensuring your search is thorough and compliant with state laws.

c. Utilizing Third-Party Services

These services, such as Dun & Bradstreet or Hoovers, offer detailed reports on businesses, including LLCs.

d. Social Media Platforms

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be invaluable tools for researching businesses.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in Virginia?

Man holding a document list while looking at computer

To determine if a business name is trademarked in Virginia, you should conduct a search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.

Trademark search is an important part of the process for selecting a name before you start a Virginia LLC.

Performing a trademark search before selecting a name for your LLC can help you avoid potential conflicts down the road.

Here's a detailed guide on how to perform this search:

1. Visit the USPTO Trademark Database

Start by accessing the USPTO's trademark search system.

This modern, cloud-based system replaced the legacy Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) in November 2023 and offers a simplified interface with new capabilities [1]. According to recent data from the USPTO, the new system has increased search speed by 30% and reduced search errors by 20%, improving overall productivity for trademark applicants and examiners alike.

2. Understand the Search Options

The USPTO provides search options for pending and live trademark applications and registrations. You can search by the trademark name, owner name, serial number, or registration number.

Enter the business name you're interested in in the search field. It's advisable to try different name variations to ensure a comprehensive search.

For example, if your business name is "EcoFriendly Solutions," search for "EcoFriendly," "Eco-Friendly," "Eco Friendly Solutions," etc.

4. Review the Results

The search results will show all trademarks that match or are similar to your query.

Carefully review these results to see if any trademarks are identical or confusingly similar to the name you wish to use.

5. Understanding 'Likelihood of Confusion'

The USPTO will refuse registration if a 'likelihood of confusion' exists between your proposed trademark and an existing one.

This means it might be rejected if your chosen name is too similar to an existing trademark, especially in the same or related industry.

6. Using Advanced Search Techniques

You can use advanced techniques like coordinated classes or design search codes for a more detailed search.

These methods are particularly useful if you're familiar with the trademark classification system or if your trademark includes a unique design element.

7. Regular Monitoring

Even after you've completed your search, it's important to monitor the USPTO database regularly.

This will help you stay informed about new trademark filings that could conflict with your business name.

Once you look up the LLC and confirm name availability, you can submit an Application for Reservation of Business Entity Name form to reserve your company's name with the Virginia Secretary of State.

Business name reservations are initially granted for a 120-day period and can be renewed for an additional 120 days.

To reserve a name, you must file a name reservation form by mail and pay a $10 filing fee to the Corporation Commission Office of the Clerk.

Note that you can renew the reservation 45 days after the expiration date.

Reasons for Performing a Business Name Check

Shaking hands above a signed contract

Conducting a business name check is a critical step for various reasons, extending beyond just legal compliance and branding.

Here are several key reasons, along with practical examples, illustrating why such checks are essential:

  • Legal Compliance: Ensuring your business name isn't already in use is vital for adhering to state laws.
  • Brand Identity: Unique names establish a distinct brand identity.
  • Avoiding Legal Disputes: A thorough search minimizes the risk of trademark or naming disputes with other businesses.
  • Market Research: Understanding similar business names can provide insights into market trends.
  • Domain Availability: Checking name availability helps secure a matching domain for an online presence.
  • Future Expansion: Ensuring the name is not trademarked elsewhere aids in potential future business expansion.
  • Due Diligence in Business Deals: Before finalizing deals or partnerships, checking the business name provides insights into the company's legitimacy and reputation.

"Your Virginia LLC name must not include words or abbreviations that are legally restricted. For instance, your LLC name should not imply that it is a bank, a governmental or government agency, or mislead the public in any other way."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

Related Articles:


Can I Use the Name of a Dissolved LLC in Virginia?

You can use the name of a dissolved LLC in Virginia. However, you need to ensure that the Virginia business is officially terminated and that it doesn't operate in other states or is trademarked across other states.

How Do I Add a DBA to an LLC in Virginia?

To add a DBA to an LLC in Virginia, contact the State Corporation Commission. You will need to submit your LLC's name and address and file a $10 fee.

Can You Change the Name of My LLC in Virginia?

You can change the name of your LLC in Virginia by filing the Articles of Amendment, filling in the required information and the updates, and submitting the document.

Name change applications are filed online with the State Corporation Commission.



About The Author

Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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