How to File a DBA in Virginia

Filing a Virginia fictitious name or assumed name, also known as a Virginia DBA (doing business as), is an easy process that is achieved by filing the Virginia Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name with the State Corporation Commission.

Follow our step-by-step How to Get a DBA in Virginia guide to get started today.

Important: A DBA is only used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

Follow These Steps to File Your Virginia DBA

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A professional service will handle filing your DBA in Virginia, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

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Getting a DBA in Virginia is Easy

Step 1. Start with a Virginia Fictitious Name or Assumed Name Search

When you register your Virginia fictitious name or assumed name, you are essentially letting other business owners know that the name is in use. Your trade name isn’t protected from being used by others.

The next step is to check to see if your name is unique and also meets Virginia’s business name requirements. First, visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Virginia naming requirements. In Virginia, fictitious name or assumed names should not:

  • Include any word, abbreviation or combination of characters that states or implies that it is a different type of business entity.
  • Imply that it is or will be conducting business as a bank, trust company, insurance company, or public service company, such as a railroad, telephone company, utility, or water or sewer company, unless it will actually be engaged in such business.
  • Include the word “bank” or “trust” unless it will be engaged in the banking or trust company business, unless it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not be engaged in such business.
  • Include the word or words “engineer,” “architecture” or “land surveying,” or any modification or derivation of such words, unless the entity will be lawfully engaged in such services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that the entity will not conduct such business.
  • Include the words “United States,” “national,” “Federal” and “reserve” if the business entity is engaged in the banking, loan, building and loan, brokerage, factorage, insurance, indemnity, savings or trust business.

Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.

Need Help Choosing a DBA Name?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. You can use this tool to generate both business names and domain names.

We recommend checking if your name is available as a web domain (URL). You might not plan on starting a business website today, but you may want to prevent others from acquiring your URL.

Find a Domain Now

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Step 2. Register Your Virginia DBA

In Virginia, you register your DBA with the State Corporation Commission. You can file online with the State Corporation Commission or you can complete the PDF form. There are two different PDF forms to choose from depending on your business structure.

The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name Business Conducted by an Entity, used for corporations, LLCs, LPs, and general partnerships, will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, including:

  • Section 1: The name of the entity conducting business under the DBA
  • Section 2: The assumed/fictitious name being registered
  • Section 3: The entity type
  • Section 4: The jurisdiction under which the entity was formed
  • Section 5: The entity’s SCC ID number or address

The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name Business Conducted by an Individual, used for sole proprietorships, will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, including:

  • Section 1: The name of the individual that will conduct business under the DBA
  • Section 2: The assumed/fictitious name being registered
  • Section 3: The address of the individual registering

A DBA does not offer any legal protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.

File a Virginia Fictitious Name or Assumed Name

Option 1: Create an Account and File Online With the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Website

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name by Mail

Download Form for a Business Conducted by an Entity
Download Form for a Business Conducted by an Individual


Cost:
$10 Filing Fee

Mailing Address:
State Corporation Commission
Clerk’s Office
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197

Manage Your Virginia DBA

General Questions
Call the Virginia State Corporation Commission: (804) 371-9733 or 1-866-722-2551

Renew Your Virginia DBA With the State
Your Virginia DBA does not need to be renewed.

Change Your Virginia DBA
To make changes to your Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name, you must fill out a new registration form.

Withdraw Your Virginia DBA
To cancel your fictitious or assumed name, complete the Certificate of Release of Assumed or Fictitious Name form. Include an updated address if your business’ address on file is no longer valid. Mail the completed form to the address below:

State Corporation Commission
Clerk’s Office
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197

After Filing Your Virginia DBA

If filing a DBA marks the beginning of your business journey, then there are a few more steps that you should take before getting started:

  • Create your Business’s Website - Every business needs a website. Luckily, drag-and-drop builders like GoDaddy and Wix make the job quick and easy. Check out our Best Website Builder article to find the tool that’s best for you.
  • Get your Business Finances in Order - You’ll need to separate your business finances from your personal ones. This is accomplished by opening a business bank account. If your business has long lead times or other cash flow irregularities, you can also look into a business credit card.
  • Protect Your Business - While an LLC will help to protect your personal assets in the case of a lawsuit, your business’s assets also need protection. Having the right business insurance will ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens. Most businesses start with general liability insurance as their base coverage.

Need Help Filing Your Virginia DBA?

Have a Professional Service File Your Virginia DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

Recommended: MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee)

DBA Virginia FAQ

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. Each one comes with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, meaning more is not necessarily better.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you need one for your business, read our What is an EIN guide.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

No. An LLC is a business entity, while a DBA is just a name for a business.

Sole proprietorships are often confused with DBAs, but they are not the same: a sole proprietorship is a business entity, therefore it can choose to become an LLC.

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have Inc. in the name?

A DBA can only have Inc. in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

Holding a rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection. The best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. In any case, it is always best to consult an attorney.

When would it be good to get a DBA versus a legal name change?

Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’s legal name. If you want to rebrand your company or focus on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a simpler process than filing for a legal name change.

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

Some state-level laws prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

Useful Links For Your Virginia DBA