All businesses should complete an Illinois Business Name Search before forming an Illinois LLC.
We'll show you how to check LLC name availability in our Illinois Secretary of State Business Search guide below.
Need help forming an LLC? Read our Best LLC Services review.
Illinois Entity Search
1. Follow Illinois Naming Guidelines
We recommend making sure your business name meets guidelines before completing your business name search.
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Illinois naming requirements and that clients can easily search for.
Be sure to follow these naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your Illinois LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your Illinois LLC.
For a complete list of naming rules in Illinois, you can read the Illinois LLC naming guidelines.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our LLC Name Generator.
2. Do an Illinois Business Name Search
Before filing your name reservation request, you can use the Illinois Business Name Search to check the availability of your desired entity name. To perform the most effective search, type in the name you would like to use, excluding identifiers like “LLC.” This will return all entities using the same or similar names.
If your business name is several words, you can even search just the first two words to ensure you pull up all possible similar names.
3. Search Available Domain Names
Another important consideration to make when selecting a business name is whether or not your desired web domain name is available. Having a URL that clearly matches your business name is important. This seemingly small step can make a big difference in how prospective customers find your business.
The best way to determine if your desired URL is available is to search for it online using your preferred domain registry, such as GoDaddy.
Find a Domain Now
4. Reserve Your Illinois Business Entity Name
Illinois’s Secretary of State handles all LLC naming questions and requests. Business names can be reserved for up to 90 days.
To reserve a business name, you must file an application by mail. Be sure to conduct a thorough search before completing your application to avoid rejection. When reserving your name, you will have to pay a filing fee. Checks must be made out to the “Secretary of State.”
After choosing a name for your LLC, take the next step and create a unique logo with our Free Logo Generator.
Illinois Application to Reserve a Name
File by Mail with the Illinois Secretary of State
Fee: $25 + $50 for expedited services (optional)
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St. Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
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While reserving your entity name is straightforward, there are some other things you should think about when choosing the best name for your business. You may want to do a Trademark and Social Media search for your entity name to see if it's available for use online. This will help ensure you have full, unrestricted use of your business name.
Conducting a trademark search of your business name and associated slogans or logos before registering can help prevent costly litigation in the future. Discovering that another entity has trademarked your business name does not automatically disqualify you from using it.
However, it is important to know who is using the name, what industry they operate in, and where they are located to be sure you do not inadvertently infringe upon anyone’s intellectual property rights.
To complete this step:
Social Media Search
Just as important, or more so, than finding a domain name that fits your business is ensuring that your business name is available for use across social media platforms. To do this, search for your business name on each major site, using a tool such as Namecheckr to search across all platforms at once.
Having a name for your business is an important first step for creating a successful LLC, and one that is incredibly easy to do. Once you have found your preferred name using Illinois's Business Entity Search, you'll want to secure your domain name so that your customers will be able to find your business online. Reserving your name with an Illinois Name Reservation Form will help you stand out from the competition. With your name secured, you will be ready to take the next steps to formalize your LLC.