Last updated June 7, 2020

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Alabama 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.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Alabama LLC Costs:
Alabama LLC filing fee: approximately $183 (varies by county)
Alabama LLC annual report fee: $100 minimum

Need to save time?
Hire a professional to form your LLC in Alabama:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

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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.

For example:
• 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

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Alabama:
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.

  1. 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

alabama llc search

  1. Browse the list of existing Alabama businesses and make sure your name is unique.

Note:

  • 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.

Note: If you’re forming a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) you must reserve your PLLC name by mail. You cannot file online.

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:

1. Got to Alabama Secretary of State: Online Services

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:

334-242-5324 (phone)
334-240-3138 (fax)
[email protected] (email)
Alabama Secretary of State: Business Services

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

12 comments on “Alabama Name Reservation”

  1. Can I use a copyrighted name to help get the LLC Certificate of Formation, instead of a Name Reservation?

    • Hey Supreme, there is no such thing as a copyrighted name, so I’m not 100% sure what you mean. There is no way to avoid the Name Reservation. It’s a required component of the Alabama Certificate of Formation. If you can re-phrase your question and add some more details, I can help clarify. Thanks.

      • My apologies, I meant can I use a name that I already have trademarked before I filed the LLC Formation?

        • I believe you are asking if you can use an existing trademark as your LLC name. The answer is yes. After your LLC is formed, you may also want to consider an Assignment of Trademark, transferring ownership of the trademark from yourself personally to the LLC.

  2. Can I change the name I reserved for my LLC if I have not filed the paperwork? I found a different name that I like better

    • Hey Brian, yes, you can change your name reservation. You have two options. You can either file a ‘Correction to Name Certificate Request Form’ (by mail or online), or you can just abandon the existing name reservation and file a new one. There may be a small difference in price depending on how you originally filed the Alabama LLC name reservation. Which method did you use to file and how much did you pay?

  3. The name I would like to use is:
    Fine Lines
    But I would like the advertisement and on cards be
    Fine Lines
    Permanent Cosmetic Artistry by Ramona

    My question is do I have to put the whole thing as my business name or do I just use the Fine Lines.

    What do you recommend?
    Thank you,
    Ramona

    • Hi Ramona, apologies for the slow reply. In this case, I’d treat the LLC name (“Fine Lines LLC”) different than the tagline you’ll use in marketing (“Permanent Cosmetic Artistry by Ramona”). Making your LLC name “Fine Lines Permanent Cosmetic Artistry by Romona LLC” will drive you crazy every time you need to enter it down or explain it via phone. Hope that helps :)

  4. If I missed the 15 day window for downloading my name verification, what can I do to get that document?

  5. Regarding registration of an engineering LLC in Alabama:
    I have received a COA for my company from ABELS. Does this step replace the name reservation? I attempted to reserve a name but cannot due to “engineering” in the name.

    • Hi Laura, in your case, use of the word “engineering” is allowed, but since you’re forming a Professional LLC (PLLC), you have to file your name reservation through mail instead of online. You likely filed online the first time and that’s why you had an issue. You can find the paper form on this page. Just mail that along with your COA from ABELS. Hope that helps!

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