One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Illinois LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Illinois is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Illinois businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Illinois LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Illinois and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for an Illinois LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Illinois.
Step 1: Follow the Illinois LLC Naming Guidelines
The first step is to ensure that your chosen name complies with the requirements of Illinois’ LLC naming guidelines as listed below:
- The Illinois Limited Liability Company Act states you can choose any name, but it has to be distinguishable to the Secretary of State from any domestic or foreign limited liability company name or assumed LLC name
- Your company name must be distinguishable from any domestic or foreign corporate name or assumed corporate name
- Not be the same as a name that is currently reserved or registered with the Secretary of State under either the Limited Liability Company Act or the Business Corporation Act.
- Must contain the term “LLC” or “L.L.C.” or, alternatively, the words “Limited Liability Company”
- Do NOT put the terms “Corporation”, “Corp.”, “Incorporated”, “Inc.”, “Ltd.”, “Co.”, “Limited Partnership”, or “LP” in the name.
- For financial companies, can’t contain the words that imply your company is used for insurance, assurance, or banking (there are more regulations to create one of these companies)
- Do NOT use the word “trust”, “trustee”, or “fiduciary” in your company name unless you’ve complied with Section 1-9 of the Corporate Fiduciary Act (205 ILCS 620/1-9)
- Do NOT use the words “bank,” “banker” and “banking.”
- Only use letters of the English alphabet, Roman or Arabic numbers, and symbols that the Department of Business Services can reproduce
- Do NOT use any words that could offend good taste or decency
- You can always speak to an attorney for further regulations and information regarding Illinois LLC naming guidelines
Selecting a name is just one of the several requirements when forming an LLC. To avoid improper or incomplete LLC formation documents, we recommend using the assistance of an LLC formation service.
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Step 2: Look Up Illinois LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct an Illinois LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Illinois.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Illinois LLC/Corp Search to check if your chosen business name is available. There is no search fee when using the Illinois Cyberdrive website. You may also try typing your business or trademark on any search engine to check businesses with similar names. This will also ensure your trademark is unique, meets the state’s requirements, and frees you from any legal hassles in the future.
- Domain Name Search: If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name. Having a URL that matches your business name is important since this is how your potential and existing clients can find your business.
To determine the availability of your chosen URL, use a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
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Note: While you can use social media to search for business names to determine your desired name, the search results might not give you useful insight if your desired business name is available and exclusive for use.
Step 3: Reserve Your Illinois LLC Name
Along with your LLC Articles of Organization, you need the Application to Reserve a Name in Illinois. The name reservation filing fee is $25.
You can reserve a business name for 90 days by mail using the Application to Reserve a Name form. Mail the form along with a check made payable to the Secretary of State. For expedited requests, you’ll need to submit your application in person with the expedited fee of $50 to the department’s Springfield or Chicago office.
If you do not form your LLC in time, you will be able to renew your name reservation as long as you do so within 90 days before it expires.
Using an Illinois DBA for Your LLC
In Illinois, a DBA (“doing business as”) name is known as an assumed name. An Illinois assumed name allows you to use a name other than your business’s legal name when operating.
If you want to keep your legal business name but conduct another business activity under a different name, you can usually create a DBA name and legally operate under a new name. The fee for getting an Illinois Application to Adopt, Change, Cancel or Renew an Assumed Name is:
- $150 for each year or part thereof ending in 0 or 5
- $120 for each year or part thereof ending in 1 or 6
- $90 for each year or part thereof ending in 2 or 7
- $60 for each year or part thereof ending in 3 or 8
- $30 for each year or part thereof ending in 4 or 9
LLC owners sometimes choose to brand their businesses with a DBA. Most sole proprietors and general partnerships use a DBA to create a brand other than their surnames.
Step 4: Register an Illinois LLC Trade or Service Mark
Doing a name search on the federal trademark database will tell you whether another business or person has already “marked” your name.
Once you verify the availability of your LLC name and secure it, you can choose to apply for a trade or service mark for your business.
Registering your LLC business “mark” (refers to trade and service marks) with the Illinois Secretary of State not only distinguishes the goods or services your business provides but also creates a statewide notice that any entity or person cannot use any of your marks (such as brand name, slogans, and logos).
For these reasons, it is important for an LLC owner to register a mark with the Illinois Secretary of State. The filing fee for an Illinois Trade or Service Mark Application is $10.
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Illinois, check out the steps on how to form an Illinois LLC.
Illinois Secretary of State Contact Information
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St. Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
69 W. Washington St. Ste. 1240
Chicago, IL 60602
Springfield Phone: (217) 524-8008
Chicago Phone: (312) 793-3380
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. CT
Illinois LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do an Illinois LLC name search?
When forming an Illinois LLC, you will be required to choose a name. This name must be unique and available for use, and should not already be registered with the Illinois Secretary of State. To search for available LLC names, you can search the Illinois LLC Registered Names to check if your chosen business name is available. There is no search fee when using the Illinois direct search website.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Illinois?
You can search the Illinois LLC/Corp Search to check if your chosen business name is available. You may also contact the Illinois Secretary of State via phone at (312) 793-3380 (Chicago) or (217) 524-8008 (Springfield) or email them at email@example.com for assistance on how to perform an Illinois LLC name search.
Can I renew an Illinois LLC name reservation?
Yes. You can renew a name reservation by filing a new application during the 60-day period before the expiration of your last name reservation. Simply download and fill out the Application to Adopt, Change, Cancel or Renew an Assumed Name.
Is the Illinois Secretary of State LLC name search tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Illinois Corp/LLC Search tool to find and reserve a name for your LLC. Simply enter the desired name for your LLC, a keyword, partial number, or file number. If the name is available, you can then submit your name reservation application to reserve a name for 90 days.