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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in New York

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 New York

How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in New York

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 New York, it’s a simple process — just follow the steps outlined below. 

Follow New York LLC Naming Guidelines

Like all states, New York 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 New York, it’s important that your name is distinguishable from other business names registered with the Division of Corporations of the Department of State. Additionally, the name must include one of the following indicators: 

Limited Liability Company, LLC, or L.L.C.

Your name cannot include words like “bank”, “insurance”, or “university” without approval from certain state authorities.

Search for Name Availability

Now it’s time to do the actual search. In New York, this requires a visit to the state’s Corporation and Business Entity Database, as detailed in this screenshot. 

New York Business Entity Search Form

Next, 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 New York, not nationally trademarked, and has an available web domain, it’s a good idea to take the next step and make it official. 

In New York, 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 60 days, or you can go ahead and formally register your LLC name by completing this form here. You can also file online after logging into the Business Express portal here with your NY.gov ID.

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. 

New York Department of State Contact Info

The official Department of State website.

New York State
Department of State
Division of Corporations
One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231

Phone: 518.473.2492


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.