Delaware Business Name Search (LLC lookup) - 2024 Guide

Home » Delaware LLC » Delaware Business Name Search (LLC lookup) - 2024 Guide

LLC names
A unique business name is important for branding, but it’s easy to get lost in all the Delaware business name rules.

This page will teach you how to look up your LLC name and make sure it’s available to use.

Delaware LLC name

If you file your Delaware LLC paperwork with a name that is already used by another Delaware business entity – or that doesn’t meet the Delaware name rules – your filing may be rejected.

The first step to checking if your LLC name passes is to make sure your name is not already taken by another business.

You can do this using the Business Name Availability Search or General Information Business Name Search. And you need to do this because two business entities in the state can’t have the same name or be too similar.

The second step is to make sure your LLC name follows the Delaware Division of Corporations’s rules, which we’ve broken down below.

How do I search the Delaware business entity name database?

You can use the business entity search to search your business name against the existing business entities registered in Delaware.

The Delaware Secretary of State offers 2 tools you can use to search and make sure your LLC name is distinguishable and available for use.

1. You can use the Name Availability Search, which gives you a yes/no answer whether the name is available.

Note: This tool is actually the first step in the Name Reservation process. But a Name Reservation isn’t required to start an LLC in Delaware. So you can just use this tool to check your name. And then close the window without completing a Name Reservation filing.

2. Alternatively, you can use the General Information Name Search to browse existing businesses. This can be helpful to show you all possible similar business names. That way you can be certain your name is unique.

Search tips:

These tips apply to both business name search tools.

  • Leave out “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “Limited Liability Company”, etc., when doing your searches.
  • Leave out any commas, periods, apostrophes, etc.
  • You can search using uppercase or lowercase letters.

Delaware Name Availability Search

  1. Go to the Delaware Division of Corporations: Name Availability Search
  2. Check the disclaimer box to agree to the terms.
  3. In the “Entity Kind” drop down list, select “Limited Liability Company (LLC)”.
  4. In the “Entity Ending” drop down list, select your desired ending. (“LLC” is the most common.)
  5. Enter your desired LLC name. (Don’t enter “LLC” or another ending, just the name itself.)
  6. Complete the Captcha challenge to confirm you’re human.
  7. Click the “Search” button. (Do not press the “Enter” button on your keyboard as it will take you to the wrong page).

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the Delaware Business Name Availability Search

You’ll see one of two results messages:

  • “The name ‘(your name) LLC’ is available. The cost for this reservation is $75.00”. This message means your desired LLC name is available for use. You can just click “No” after the “Do you want to reserve this name?” question. Then you can use this name on your LLC paperwork like normal.
  • “The name is not available for reservation”. This message means your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or come up with a unique variation.

Delaware General Information Name Search

  1. Go to the Delaware Division of Corporations: General Information Name Search
  2. Enter your desired LLC name in the “Entity Name” box. Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation. Capitalization doesn’t matter.
  3. Leave the “File Number” box blank.
  4. Click “Search” and browse the list of existing Delaware businesses

Screenshot with instructions on how to use the Delaware Business Entity Search

How to interpret the General Information Name Search results

While the Name Availability Search gives you a clear “available” or “not available” message, the General Information Name Search requires you to examine the search results on your own.

Screenshot of sample results from the Delaware Business Entity Search
Example of Delaware Business Entity Search results

Here’s how to interpret what you see:

If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your Limited Liability Company name is available for use.

  • Let’s keep using the example above. If your desired name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, and the only similar names you saw were “Riverwalk Rentals” and “Riverwalk Studio Starters”, then your name should be available.

If no results show up, that means your LLC name is unique and it should be available for use. To be safe, run your search again using only part of your LLC name (to double-check that there are no similar names).

  • For example, search just the word “Riverwalk” instead of Riverwalk Studios.

If your exact LLC name appears in the list of search records, your LLC name is not available for use because another Delaware business entity is already using it.

If the results show a name that is very similar to yours, your LLC name may not be available for use.

  • If your desired name is Riverwalk Studios LLC, and the search results show a “Riverwalk Studio”, then your name is not available.

What if my desired LLC name isn’t available?

If your name is not unique, you’ll need to come up with a variation or a different name for your LLC.

Tip: Wait until your LLC is approved before you apply for your LLC EIN Number or purchase any other marketing materials. This way you don’t spend money on business supplies you can’t use because your business name isn’t available.

Delaware Division of Corporations Contact Information

You can call the Delaware Division of Corporations to ask questions about whether your LLC name is available.

Representatives at the Delaware Division of Corporations can help you use the Delaware Business Name Search. They can’t guarantee that your LLC name will be available when you file, however.

The Secretary of State phone number is 302-739-3073. Their hours are 8am to 4pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Delaware Limited Liability Company Name Requirements

As per Section 18-102 of the Delaware LLC Act and Section 102 of the Delaware Corporations Act, there are a few rules and requirements for naming a Delaware business entity that you need to know.

Prohibited Names & Naming Practices

A Delaware LLC name cannot:

  • cause harm to the public
  • cause harm to the State of Delaware
  • cause harm to Delaware’s business reputation
  • discriminate against a protected class (see below)
  • facilitate/inspire illegal activity (details below)
  • cause public deception or confusion
  • or be difficult for the Division to administer (like an LLC name with 500 characters)

The Delaware Division of Corporations may reject an LLC name if it discriminates against, disparages, or denigrates any protected class (as per Federal Law) for their:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • national origin
  • disability
  • age (40+)
  • marital status
  • genetic information

The Delaware Division of Corporations may also reject an LLC name if it facilitates, incites, or fosters:

  • acts of terrorism or terroristic threats
  • offensive touching
  • endangers the life or physical safety of an individual
  • threatens public safety
  • hate crimes, stalking, cyberstalking, bullying or cyberbullying
  • narcotic drugs, opioids, or controlled substances
  • fraud
  • deadly weapons or dangerous instruments
  • obscene language or libel
  • and any other criminal act/offense as prohibited under any section of Title 11

If an LLC examiner decides that your Delaware LLC name does not adhere to the rules above, your LLC filing will most likely be rejected.

If you have a desired LLC name that may be questionable, you can call the state and ask their opinion (although this is not an official response). You can also file your Certificate of Formation with the questionable LLC name. If the state rejects your filing, you’ll get a refund and be allowed to re-file using a different LLC name.

If a questionable LLC name is approved, however, please keep in mind that the state has the authority (as per Section 18-112(a) of the Delaware LLC Act) to cancel your Certificate of Formation at any time due to “abuse or misuse of its limited liability company powers, privileges or existence“. For this reason, we recommend creating a Delaware LLC name that clearly doesn’t break any of the rules listed above.

What words are not allowed in my Delaware LLC name?

Your Delaware LLC name can’t contain words and abbreviations that are restricted by law.

For example, you can’t make your LLC name sound like it’s a bank, part of the government or a government agency, or anything else that misleads the public.

You also can’t use words that are reserved for licensed professionals. These vary by state, but some common examples are accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, and engineers.

Do I have to use a comma in my LLC name?

No, you don’t have to. You can file your LLC name with or without a comma. Both versions are accepted by the Secretary of State.

For example: If your desired business name is Grandpa Joe’s, you can file it as:

  • Grandpa Joe’s LLC
  • Grandpa Joe’s, LLC

Or, instead of having “LLC” as your designator (ending), there are a few other options in Delaware.

What designators (endings) can I use in my LLC name?

Your Delaware LLC name must contain one of the following designators at the end:

  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Liability Company

The following designators are not allowed

Your Delaware LLC can’t make itself sound like a Delaware Corporation or any other business entity besides an LLC.

The following words and designators can’t be used anywhere in your LLC name:

  • Inc.
  • Corp.
  • Incorporated
  • Corporation

Your Delaware business name must be distinguishable (unique)

When you search the Delaware Division of Corporations business name tools, you will compare your desired LLC name to existing businesses in the state.

If your name is not unique, you’ll need to come up with a variation or a different business name.

Below are rules and examples of LLC names that are not distinguishable.


Differences in designators (endings) don’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Carl’s Crab Company LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found in the Delaware Business Name Search results:

  • Carl’s Crab Company, Inc.
  • Carl’s Crab Company, Corp.
  • Carl’s Crab Company, L.L.C.

Filler Words

Adding non-meaningful or filler words (the, a, an, and, &, to, of, or) won’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Lenape Farms LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • The Lenape Farms LLC
  • A Lenape Farm Inc.
  • Lenape and Farms L.L.C.
  • Lenape & Farms Corp
  • To Lenape Farms Inc.

Plural or Singular Words and Possessive Words

Adding a letter “s” to make a word plural or possessive doesn’t create distinguishability.

If your desired LLC name is Bethany’s Shells LLC, it’s not available to use if any of the following are found:

  • Bethanys Shells LLC
  • Bethany’s Shell Inc.
  • Bethanys Shell, L.L.C.

What if my Delaware business name is rejected?

If you file your Delaware Certificate of Formation (the document that creates your Delaware LLC) and the business name is not available, don’t panic. The state will notify you and tell you why your filing was rejected.

You will just need to file again with a variation of your LLC name or a different LLC name.

Delaware Business Name FAQs

Do I need a name reservation in Delaware?

No, a name reservation isn’t required to form an LLC in Delaware. It’s an unnecessary step and a waste of money.

You can just file your LLC’s Certificate of Formation with your desired LLC name.

Does Delaware require LLC in the name?

Yes. Your Delaware LLC name must contain one of the allowable designators at the end. The most commonly used designators are:

  • LLC
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
Does my Delaware LLC need a DBA?

No, you’re not required to file a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for your business entity in Delaware.

A DBA (known as a Trade Name, Business Name or Fictitious Name in Delaware) lets your LLC conduct business under a name which is different from its true and legal name (the name on your Certificate of Formation).

If you want your LLC to do business under a name that’s different from its true and legal name, you have to file a Registration of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name Certificate in the county (or counties) where your business operates. Here’s the Registration Form used by all three Delaware counties.

If you are going to file a Trade Name for your Delaware LLC, it must also be distinguishable from existing business names in the state.

There is no limit to the number of Trade Names an LLC can have.

For more information, please see Does my LLC need a DBA?

When would my LLC use a DBA?

Let’s say you form an LLC called Blue Hen Bay Tours LLC, but you also want to use a friendlier, catchy name, like Blue Hen Tours. In this case, your LLC would need to file a Registration of Trade Name Certificate in your county to use the name Blue Hen Tours.

If you don’t file a Registration of Trade Name Certificate for a different name, you can only use your legal entity name of Blue Hen Bay Tours LLC.

Similarly, if you want to do business under the name Blue Hen Bay Tours, just without the letters “LLC” in the name, you will need to file a Registration of Trade Name for Blue Hen Bay Tours.

How do I get a business domain name?

Once you’ve found a business name that you like, it’s a good idea to check if your domain name is available before forming your LLC.

You can search for available domain names with GoDaddy:

What does “distinguishability” mean?

Each business entity name must be “distinguishable upon the records” of the Secretary of State.

This means that no two businesses can operate with the same exact name. Said another way, if a business already exists with your desired LLC name, you can’t register your LLC with that name.

For example, let’s say you want to form an LLC called Strawberry Landscapers LLC. But there is already a business in another town called Strawberry Landscapers, Inc. Because your desired LLC name is the same as that existing Delaware Corporation, it is not distinguishable. You can’t use it and must choose another name.

How do I come up with a business name?

Business names are important for branding and recognition. The name of your Delaware LLC can be your company’s brand name, but it doesn’t have to be (please see the FAQ about DBAs above). Either way, picking a good LLC name is an important decision.

Here are some quick tips for coming up with business names:

  1. First, write down the features of your company and things that you want to be associated with.
  2. Then list out as many business names as you can think of. Don’t edit or analyze them. Just get as many names on the page as you can.
  3. Now go back and read through them. Write down any variations that come to mind.
  4. Next, set the list aside. Do something else, like go for a walk or get groceries, or sleep on it for the night. Then come back and review the list of names. As you go through it, write down additional ideas and variations.
  5. Read the whole list out loud. If you want, get input from friends, business partners, and family.
  6. Repeat the process: sleep on the ideas, write down new variations, read them out loud again.
  7. The best business name will often “rise off the page” and present itself. If it doesn’t, you can try this trick: Close your eyes and count to 10. When you get to 10, you must choose a name. When you open your eyes, force yourself to make a decision. Sometimes we know the best name deep in our subconscious, and this trick can help it come out. Trust yourself and go with what feels best.

For more tips, please see How to Choose a Business Name or check out TRUIC’s Business Name Generator.

Can I use the name of another Delaware entity?

No. You can’t use the same name as another Delaware business.

And it doesn’t matter what entity type it is – your LLC can’t have the same entity name as another corporation, LLC, or any other entity type.

You can’t use another business’s name even if the entity is in “delinquent” status on the Delaware Division of Corporations website.

But if the business entity is dissolved, they no longer have rights to that name. This means you can form an LLC with the same name.

How do I change my LLC name?

You can change your LLC’s name later by filing an Amendment form with the Secretary of State.

We have step-by-step instructions on how to change an LLC name in Delaware.

How to start an LLC in Delaware?

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Delaware:

  1. Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
  2. Choose who will be your Delaware Registered Agent
  3. File the Delaware LLC Certificate of Formation
  4. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Get a Delaware business license from the Department of Revenue
  7. Open an LLC bank account

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

Want our free email course?

Get simple LLC lessons sent right to your inbox.

Thanks! You're subscribed √
Your email address is already subscribed.

2 comments on “Delaware Name Search”

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.

  1. Hi Matt, if the name of the LLC is available i have to pay for it or its free?
    BEST regards

    • Hi Ian, there is no extra fee for the name of the LLC. You can think of it as being “included” when you file your Certificate of Formation. Hope that helps.

Leave a comment or question

Comments are temporarily disabled.