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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Minnesota

Written by:

Coralee is a business writer with experience in administrative services, education, and software testing.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Minnesota

How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in Minnesota

Before you register and form your limited liability company (LLC), you need to make sure the name you’ve chosen is available in your state. If you choose a name that’s already in use, the state will deny your LLC application. So checking name availability is absolutely crucial. In Minnesota, it’s a simple process — just follow the steps outlined below. 

Follow Minnesota LLC Naming Guidelines

Like all states, Minnesota has a set of restrictions when it comes to business names. You need to follow these or your preferred name could be rejected by the state. 

In Minnesota, it’s important that your name is distinguishable from all other business names registered with the Secretary of State. This means it’s perfectly acceptable to select a name for your business that’s very similar to the name of another active business, as long as it is different. Additionally, the name must end with the term “Limited Liability Company” or abbreviation “LLC.”

Be sure that your name doesn’t include any words that could result in your LLC being confused with a government agency. Your name also cannot include words like “bank”, “insurance”, or “university” without approval from state authorities. 

Search for Name Availability

Now it’s time to do the actual search. In Minnesota, this requires a visit to the state’s Search Business Filings service, as detailed in this screenshot. 

Minnesota Business Entity Search Form

It’s important to note that Minnesota requires you to first log into your Online Account for access to the database specifically containing only LLC business names.

Minnesota Business Entity Search Form

You can still use the Search Business Filings service to search names in Minnesota without logging in– just be aware that the search results will include all business names, regardless of the type of entity that it’s registered with. 

To check the availability of a name, enter your preferred name in the search box and press enter. Do this with similar names as well to see if businesses exist with similar names. If you find the name during your search, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and choose a different name.

Before you register or reserve the name for your LLC, you should visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure it’s not already trademarked. If it has been, you’re not allowed to use the name. 

Checking for Domain Name

Check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. Once you’ve finished your name checking process, you can register the domain name by choosing an ICANN-accredited registrar such as GoDaddy.

The fee for maintaining your domain name usually ranges from $10 to $20 per year. When you purchase the name, you generally must pay for the first year up front. 

Reserve or Register Your LLC Name 

Now that you know your preferred business name is available in Minnesota, not nationally trademarked, and has an available web domain, it’s a good idea to take the next step and make it official. 

In Minnesota, you have two options. You can either reserve the name by filling out this form here, which means the state will hold it for you for one year from the filing date, or you can go ahead and formally register your LLC name by filling out this form here. Online filing is also available, but you will need an Online Account to register your LLC.   

The first option gives you more time to be absolutely sure you want to create a new business, while registering right away lets you start your entrepreneurial journey more quickly. The choice is yours. 

You should also consider trademarking your LLC name with the US Patent Office so it’s protected throughout the country. 

Minnesota Secretary of State Contact Info

The official Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website. 

Minnesota Secretary of State
Business Services
First National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street, Suite N201
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Phone: 651.296.2803
Hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM


Your business name is your business identity, so before you officially register your LLC it’s absolutely crucial to confirm that your preferred name is available. This will ensure you avoid any business naming potholes and set your LLC up for smooth sailing.