California Business Name Reservation

Business name reservation is an optional step which can be done to protect the name you have chosen for your business.

Reserving business name is especially helpful in cases when you are sure to form the business in next few months but are not ready yet. Name reservation can protect your PERFECT business name, till the time you are ready for filing.

In California, the business name can be reserved for the period of 120 days which can be further renewed. The reservation can also be transferred to any third party.

California Business Name Requirement

California Secretary of State has mandated certain requirements which you must keep in mind while selecting a business name.

The business name must be unique and distinguishable from any existing business entity name registered with Secretary of State. Also any difference in grammar, similarly sounding business name, or using stop words does not make the business name unique and it will lead to the name being rejected.

For example following names are not distinguishable:

  • Justin Plumber LLC vs The Justin Plumber LLC
  • Mango Farm LLC vs Mango Farms LLC
  • Jake & Mary Corporation vs Jake and Mary Corporation

Required suffix in the business name:

  • For Corporations:
    Must end with either “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of such words.
  • For LLC
    Must end with either “Limited Liability Company”, “L.L.C.” or “LLC”.

Prohibited words:

  • Using special words such as “Bank“, “Trust“, “University” etc. in the name would require special permission from concerned authorities.
  • Corporation name cannot contain words such as “Limited Liability“, “LLC” etc.

Checking the Availability of a Business Name

Now that you know the specifics of selecting a business name. You can head onto the SOS website to check the name availability search. We have written an in-depth tutorial on how to search for a business name in California (CA).

How to Reserve Business Name

Business name reservation can be done over mail or in-person.

Download FormLink
AddressSecretary of State,
Name Availability Unit,
1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor,
Sacramento, CA 95814
Processing TimeRefer this link for current processing time
  1. Download the Pennsylvania Name reservation form – Link.
  2. Fill the form with the requested details.
  3. Include the check of $10 drawn in favor of “Secretary of State”.
  4. Send the filled form to:
    Secretary of State,
    Name Availability Unit,
    1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor,
    Sacramento, CA 95814


Name reservation form can be dropped off in person as the SOS Office. Here is the address:
1500 11th St, Sacramento,
CA 95814, USA
Forms must be deposited between 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

An additional deposit of $10 is required for the in-person drop. So the total cost of the name reservation would be $20.


For any queries, you can contact the SOS at (916) 653-6814 during business hours.


Last Updated: 18/09/2018

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