Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: September 18, 2023

Conducting a business entity search is a vital part of establishing a business in Washington state. While the process is straightforward, it is essential to familiarize yourself with a few key points before commencing your search.

With years of experience as a business consultant for Limited Liability Companies in various states, I’ll provide you with the ways you can look up a Washington LLC name.

After comprehensive research and collaboration with our team of legal advisors, I will explain all the necessary legal information you need to know about conducting a name search, as well as tips to make the process simpler.

Quick Summary

  • To look up a Washington LLC name, visit the Secretary of State website and use the name search tool.
  • You can search by entity name, Unique Business Identifier (UBI), or utilize search engines to obtain results.
  • You should comply with Washington State’s naming guidelines for your business name to be approved.

How Do I Find an LLC Name in Washington State?

Searching and looking for an LLC in Washington on a laptop

The most effective way you can find an LLC name in Washington state is by searching for the business name in the Washington Secretary of State online platform [1].

Some business owners want to perform a Washington LLC name search because they want to check the business status of an already existing company.

On the other hand, others want to ensure that their desired LLC name is available for use. In both cases, the procedure is the same.

1. Search by Entity Name

Hovering search button being clicked on

The Washington Secretary of State provides a user-friendly Business Name Search tool on their official website. The platform facilitates searches for LLCs or corporations registered in Washington state.

To search for a Washington LLC, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Washington Secretary of State official website.
  2. Locate and access the Business Entity Search tool.
  3. Enter your desired business name in the search bar, avoiding abbreviations like "LLC."
  4. Review the search results, which will include similar or identical names to your query.
  5. Utilize the advanced search function to refine results based on specific counties or keywords in the business name.
  6. Analyze the information provided to determine if the business is already registered in Washington state.

After clicking on a particular business, the following information will be made available to you:

  • Business Name
  • Principal Office Address
  • Washington Registered Agent
  • Mailing Address (if different from Principal Office)
  • Entity Type
  • Date Filed
  • Expiration date.

If your Washington Secretary of State business name search aims to obtain relevant information about a business entity, you can purchase the documents by clicking on the blue "Purchase Documents" button on the right.

2. Search by UBI

The Unified Business Identifier (UBI) is a 9-digit number issued to newly-registered companies and individuals conducting business with the state.

If the UBI is available to you, enter the information in the designated field and click on ‘Search’. The Washington Secretary of State webpage will display information about that particular business entity.

3. Search Engines

Whether you need to check the availability of an LLC name or gather additional details about the company, search engines can provide valuable insights and data.

You can input a particular keyword or your desired LLC name into the designated field and click “enter”. The platform will display a list of results. Look through the page and verify if your preferred business title is available.

A woman performing a Washington LLC name search

You look up an LLC and perform a name search to ensure approval of your documents and the uniqueness of the LLC name.

1. Business Name Approval

The Certificate of Formation is a crucial document for your upcoming Washington LLC, which must be filed with the Washington Secretary of State.

To ensure approval and processing by the state, it is vital to include a unique and distinguishable Washington LLC name.

2. Ensure Uniqueness and Availability

The Washington Secretary of State has strict guidelines and prohibits the formation of an LLC with an LLC name already in use or too similar to another registered business in the state.

To ensure that your LLC has a distinctive and available name, it is necessary to conduct a business entity search for existing LLC names.

Please note that you cannot select your LLC name for the company without conducting this Washington LLC formation document search.

It is required by law to ensure all businesses are running with unique and available names to avoid confusion within the marketplace.

Without an approved LLC name, you won't be able to obtain your Unified Business Identifier (UBI), business license, or other documents that are essential for your limited liability company.

LLC Naming Guidelines

A guidelines with block of text

Several LLC naming guidelines must be complied with for your preferred Washington LLC name to be approved and registered.

When starting a Washington LLC you need to adhere to the following rules and regulations:

  • The name of your Washington LLC business must include the phrase "limited liability company" or the abbreviation "LLC."
  • The Washington LLC name cannot be the same as, or similar to, an existing business entity registered with the Washington Secretary of State's office.
  • The name cannot contain the restricted words "bank," "cooperative society," or anything that implies it is a federal credit union.
  • Washington LLC business names mustn't contain any terms that resemble or imply a government agency.

Explicit examples include "The United States," "US," "Federal Government," or any of its abbreviations, and terms like "Washington National Airport."

Washington has a few requirements for limited liability company names that ban certain words from being used in company names if they are likely to mislead the public.

These include: "corporation," "incorporated," and other terms which imply a corporation, even if your business is not incorporated.

You can easily learn how to rename an LLC in Washington if you need to.

Business Name Reservation for Washington LLCs

Gmail logo on a phone

Name reservation for Washington LLCs can be accomplished by filing a ‘Name Reservation’ form to the Corporations & Charities Division on-hand or by mail.

The Corporations & Charities Division of the State of Washington is in charge of running name reservations for business entities.

Once you have found a name available for reservation, you can make a reservation for up to 180 days.

You can download a Name Reservation Form from the Washington Secretary of State website.

After you fill it out, you can mail it to the Washington Secretary of State, 801 Capitol Way S, Olympia, Washington.

The filing fee for the Name Reservation Form is $30, but you can opt for expedited processing at a $50 fee.

Check our article for more information on the cost of starting an LLC in Washington.

Related Articles:


How Do I Find Out Who Owns a Business in Washington?

You can find out who owns a business in Washington by using the business entity name search tool.

This online function will allow you to find the business owner's name (unless they used an LLC name that is not their legal name), the registered agent, and other details about the company.

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

To add a DBA to an LLC in Washington, you need to contact the Washington Department of Revenue (DOR).

You will need to provide the name and address of your LLC, as well as information about yourself.

Is a Trade Name the Same as a DBA Washington State?

A trade name is the same as a DBA Washington State. If you are using a name for your business that is different from your legal name, you will need to file a DBA with the state of Washington.

This stands for "doing business as" and is used to legally identify your business under another name.

How Much Does It Cost to Trademark a Business Name in Washington State?

It costs $10 to trademark a business name in Washington state.

Washington State LLC Lookup: What You Need to Know

To successfully register your business and start an LLC in Washington, ensure that your desired Washington LLC name is available and is in compliance with the naming guidelines of the state.

This is because your application could get rejected if it does not meet naming requirements set forth by the state or county that governs your company registration.

Moreover, it is important to consider existing trademarks owned by other entities when selecting a name to avoid potential legal disputes in the future.



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