Washington DC LLC Name Search

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

Washington DC LLC Name Search

One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Washington D.C. LLC.

Checking the LLC name availability in Washington D.C is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Washington D.C businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.

Our Washington D.C LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Washington D.C, and how to reserve and register your business name.

Interested in forming an LLC? We recommend using an LLC formation service in order to ensure that you do not accidentally file your business name incorrectly and have your application denied.

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How to Search for a Washington D.C. LLC Name

Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Washington D.C.

Step 1: Follow the Washington D.C. LLC Naming Guidelines

To secure the name your company wishes to use you must first abide by the LLC naming guidelines set by Washington D.C. Below are the guidelines you need to follow:

  • Your business name needs to include the term “limited liability company” or any of the corresponding abbreviation such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “L.C.”
  • The name you choose cannot be similar to or the same as any of the departments, agencies, or instrumentality of Washington D.C or the US.
  • Unless approved by the Mayor of the District your business cannot contain the words “bank,” “credit union,” “banking,” and “insurance.”
  • Your name must be considered distinguishable from other businesses already established in the District. 

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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More than 72% our readers form their LLC using a professional filing service. Our recommended service provider is:

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Step 2: Look Up Washington D.C. LLC Name Search Availability

The next step is to conduct a Washington D.C LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Washington D.C.

  • LLC Name Search: Search the Washington D.C. Taxable Entity Search to check if your chosen business name is available. 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 Washington D.C. LLC Name

Once your company chooses a name and discovers if it is available, you need to reserve the name. The name reservation is valid for up to 120 days. This ensures that no other business or entity can legally use the name for up to 60 days.

During this time, your company has the ability to register the LLC name without worrying about another company registering your name before you do.

In Washington D.C., it is not possible to make a name reservation online. You will need to make the request in writing by filling out the Name Reservation Application from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

You’ll need to pay the $50 filing fee associated with the application and applicants can even extend the expiration date another 60 days for their name reservation.

Using a Washington D.C. DBA for Your LLC

In Washington D.C., a DBA (doing business as) is also called a trade name. The purpose of filing for a DBA is to allow your business to operate under a different name than your legal name.

All DBA names must meet the same guidelines as an LLC name and you must search through a business entity database to ensure no other business in Washington D.C. has already claimed the name.

Once you’ve found a DBA name, you can register it online with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection using the TN-1 Trade Name Registration form. There will be a $55 filing fee associated with registering your DBA name.

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 a Washington D.C. LLC Trade or Service Mark

To fully protect your business name, logo, and slogans you’ll need to file for a trade or service mark. This mark ensures that no other business can legally replicate or steal any of your business assets.

Before you file for a trade or service mark, you need to search through the federal trademark database to make sure no other company has already used your LLC name.

After verifying your name is available, you’ll need to register a trade or service mark. Once registered, your company is able to take legal action on any other business that infringe on your trademarks.

Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Washington D.C, check out the steps on how to form a Washington D.C. LLC.

Washington D.C. Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs Contact Information 

Mailing Address

1100 4th St. SW

Washington, DC 20024

Physical Address

1100 4th St. SW

Washington, DC 20024

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Thursday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Email: dcra@dc.gov

Phone: (202) 442-4400

Washington D.C. LLC Name Search FAQ

Why do I need to do a Washington D.C. LLC name search?

When forming a Washington D.C. 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 Washington D.C Secretary of State. 
To search for available LLC names, you can use the Washington D.C. Taxable Entity Search tool on the government website.

How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Washington D.C?

You can use the Washington D.C. Taxable Entity Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs via phone at (202) 442-4400 or email at dcra@dc.gov for assistance on how to perform a Washington D.C. LLC name search.

Can I renew a Washington D.C. LLC name reservation?

Yes. You have the ability to renew your name reservation for up to an additional 60 days as long as the request is made before the name reservation has expired.

Is the Washington D.C Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs LLC name search tool free to use?

Yes. You can use the Washington D.C. Business Entity Search tool to find a name for your LLC for free.

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