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How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in North Dakota

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 North Dakota

How to Conduct a Business Entity Search in North Dakota

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 North Dakota, it’s a simple process — just follow the steps outlined below. 

Follow North Dakota LLC Naming Guidelines

Like all states, North Dakota 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 North Dakota, it’s important that your name is unique– it cannot be deceptively similar to another entity’s name, and it can’t be in use by any other active businesses in the state. 

However, you must include one of the following indicators in your business name:

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

Be sure the 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 certain state authorities.

Search for Name Availability

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

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

In North Dakota, you have two options. You can either reserve the name here, which means the state will hold it for you for one year, or you can go ahead and formally register your LLC name here. You will need a North Dakota Login 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. 

North Dakota Secretary of State Contact Info

The official Secretary of State website.

State of North Dakota
Secretary of State
Business Services
600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck, ND 58505

Phone: 701.328.4284


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.