Business Entity Name Reservation (50-State Guide)

So let’s suppose you have zeroed on an amazing business name and it’s available for registration.  But you or your business partner are not prepared for registering the business yet.

Maybe you have not decided on the business type you are going to register or have not worked out the capital contribution or are yet to decide on the equity split.

And we all know, good business names are hard to come by. And there are chances till the time you figure it out, the business name may have been picked up by someone else.

When in Doubt, File for Name Reservation:

For such cases, there is a provision to temporarily reserve the business name you have chosen. All you need to do is file for business name reservation with your state secretary of state and the business name gets temporarily reserved.

You can file for name reservation for LLC, Corporation, and Partnership business entity type.

Depending on the state you are filing in, the name reservation can last from 120 days to 6 months. And it’s mostly renewable and transferable.

This can give you enough buffer time to prepare for business filing.

How to file for business name reservation?

Although each state has different set of requirement,  but broadly it involves 4 steps:

  1. Choose a legal and unique business name. It must comply state’s business name requirements.
  2. Fill the name reservation form. It can be either online, mail or in-person.
  3. Pay the requisite fees.
  4. Submit the form.

Note: For online filing, the name gets reserved instantly. Forms sent via mail and In-person usually take one to two weeks.


To view the name filing instructions, select the state where you are looking to form your business.


Last Updated: 10/10/2018