Last updated October 31, 2020
Alabama LLC Name Search
& LLC Name Reservation
How to form an LLC in Alabama
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Alabama.
Alabama LLC Costs:
Alabama LLC filing fee: approximately $183 (varies by county)
Alabama LLC annual report fee: $100 minimum
★ Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom
Searching your Alabama LLC Name
The first step to forming an LLC in Alabama is to search your desired LLC name and file a Name Reservation.
Most states don’t require a Name Reservation be filed before an LLC is formed, but Alabama does. It is mandatory.
Alabama LLC Name Requirements
Before searching your LLC name in Alabama, there are requirements you need to follow:
1. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.
2. Because an LLC is not a Corporation, your desired name cannot use the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.”, “Inc.”).
3. Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable. This means it must be different and unique from all other businesses registered in Alabama.
Differences in designators (identifiers at the end of a business name) and differences in grammar do not create distinguishability.
• LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
• singular, plural, and possessive
• A, An, The
• and, or, &
• hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
• three vs. 3
The following examples are NOT distinguishable:
– Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
– Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC
– Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC
– Night & Day, LLC vs. Night and Day, LLC
– Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
– Three Teachers Consulting, LLC vs. 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
How to lookup an Alabama LLC name
To make sure your LLC name is distinguishable and available for use, you’ll need to search it in the Alabama Name Database.
- Visit Alabama’s Business Entity Search page:
AL Secretary of State: Business Entity Search By Entity Name
- Name: enter your desired LLC name. Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation. Capitalization doesn’t matter. Enter the first few words or the start of the word of your name for best results (unless you have a single word for your name, then just enter that).
- Type: leave on “All Records”
- Place of Formation: leave on “All Records”
- Principal City: leave blank
- Status: leave on “All Records”
- Click “Search” button
- Browse the list of existing Alabama businesses and make sure your name is unique.
- If your desired LLC name is not unique you’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a variation.
- If you see “No matches found”, then your desired LLC name is unique and available to use.
- If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired LLC name is available for use.
Once you find a unique/distinguishable LLC name, you’re ready to file your Name Reservation.
Alabama LLC Name Reservation
Filing a Name Reservation is required when forming an LLC in Alabama.
The Name Reservation can be filed online or filed by mail.
LLC University® recommendation: online filing
We recommend the online filing for name reservation because it’s easier and has an instant approval time.
Alabama LLC Name Reservation (mail filing)
The LLC Name Reservation mail filing used to be $10, however, the Alabama Secretary of State changed that in 2020 and the fee is now $25.
- Mail filing – fee: $25
- Mail filing – approval time: 4-7 days
- Download: Name Reservation Request Form for Domestic Entities
- The Name Reservation form cannot be handwritten; it must be typed
Alabama LLC Name Reservation (online filing)
- Online filing – fee: $28 ($25 fee + $3 service charge)
- Online filing – approval time: instant
LLC Name Reservation: online filing instructions
Here are instructions for how to reserve your Alabama LLC name online:
2. Click “Name Reservation Menu”.
3. Click “Name Reservation”.
4. Click “Non-Subscriber”.
5. Fill in your contact info (name, phone, email) and your address, then click the “Continue” button.
6. Under the “New Name Reservation” section, enter your desired LLC name (enter the full name with the “LLC” ending), then click “Continue”.
7. Under “Type of Reservation”, select “Domestic”. Under “Type of Entity”, select “Limited Liability Company (LLC)”. Then click “Continue at the bottom.
8. Click the “Name Reservation Only” button.
9. Under “Requestor is an”, choose “Individual”. Enter your name and address, then click “Continue”.
10. On the Summary Page, review all the information, check off the box at the bottom, then click “Continue”.
11. Enter your credit/debit card information and billing address and pay the $28 fee.
12. You will then be taken to a Download Page when you can download your Name Reservation Approval. Note: you will also receive an email with the download link. You have 15 days to print/save your Name Reservation Approval before that link expires.
How long does an Alabama LLC Name Reservation last?
An Alabama LLC Name Reservation lasts for 1 year. So you have 1 year (from the date the Name Reservation was approved) to file your LLC’s Certificate of Formation. The Certificate of Formation is the document that creates your Alabama LLC.
Said another way, an Alabama LLC Name Reservation expires after 1 year.
Restricted LLC Names in Alabama
LLC names containing the words “bank,” “banking,” “banker,” “trust,” (or any abbreviation) cannot be used unless you get a letter of approval from the Alabama State Banking Department.
LLC names containing the words “insurance” or “insurer” (or any abbreviation) cannot be used unless you get a letter of approval from Alabama Department of Insurance.
LLC names containing the words “engineer” or “engineering” (or any abbreviation) cannot be used unless you are an actual engineer licensed by the Alabama Board of Engineers & Land Surveyors.
Proof of Alabama State License: Any LLC name using a professional designation (ex: doctor, attorney, veterinarian, etc.) requires a copy of the license of one of the officers/members.
Next Step: Choosing your Registered Agent
Once you have your Name Reservation Approval, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Alabama LLC Registered Agent.
Alabama Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Alabama Secretary of State:
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.01
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.02
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.03
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.06
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.09
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.11
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.12
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.13
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.14
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.15
Code of Alabama: Section 10A-1-5.16
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entities – LLCs
Alabama Secretary of State: Domestic LLC Certificate of Formation