Virginia Business Name Reservation

Virginia State MapIn this article, we will be discussing steps involved to reserve a business name in Virginia. Name reservation requests must be filed with the with the Secretary of State. Generally, Name Reservation is done to protect the business name from being registered by someone else till the time business is officially registered.

The business name can be reserved for the period of 120 days. The reservation can further be renewed for 120 days within 45 days before the expiry. The business name reservation can also be transferred.

Virginia Business Name Requirement

Virginia 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 contain either “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of such words.
  • For LLC
    Must contain either “Limited liability company”, “Limited company”, “LLC”, “LC”, “L.L.C.” or “L.C.”

Prohibited words:

  • Special businesses such as bank, insurance, trust etc need prior permission from the certifying body.
  • Corporations can not use the word ‘Redevelopment‘ in the name unless it is an urban redevelopment corporation.

Checking the Availability of a Business Name

Virginia SOS provides an online tool to check the availability of any business name. You can use this tool to find and research name for your business. We have written an in-depth tutorial on how to search for a business name in Virginia.

How to Reserve Business Name

Business name reservation can be done either Online or by Mail. Filing for name reservation online is recommended as its more convenient and business name can be reserved instantly.

By Mail

Download FormLink
AddressState Corporation Commission
Office of the Clerk
P.O. Box 1197 – Richmond, Virginia 23218
Processing TimeAround 3 days after the receipt

  1. Download the Virginia Name reservation form – Link.
  2. Fill the form with the requested details.
  3. Include the money order/check/credit card payment ($10 for normal and $25 for 24 hours processing).
    Check/money order must be drawn in name of “Secretary of State“.
  4. Send the filled form to:
    State Corporation Commission
    Office of the Clerk
    P.O. Box 1197 – Richmond,
    Virginia 23218

Virginia Secretary of State Contact

For any queries, you can contact the SOS at 804-371-9733 during business hours.


Last Updated: 24/08/2018

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