How to search your desired Hawaii LLC name in the state’s database
The first step to forming an LLC in Hawaii is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it’s available for use.
Your Hawaii LLC name must be unique and must follow certain state requirements.
Hawaii LLC Name Requirements
Before searching your LLC name in Hawaii, there are a few requirements you need to know:
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 Hawaii.
Differences in designators (the 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
Searching the Hawaii Name Database
1. Begin Search
Go to the “Search for Business Entity & Documents” page:
Hawaii.gov: Search for Business Entity & Documents
You’ll see a confusing message on the search page (“The results of this search should not be used as a definitive method to determine…”). You can ignore this message and just follow our distinguishability tips when searching your name.
They also provide a phone number and make it sound like you can check name availability by phone. Unfortunately, you cannot. Again, just follow our distinguishability tips.
2. Search Your LLC Name
Enter your desired LLC name in the search box. Leave the drop down menu set to “begins with”.
- Leave out the designator “LLC” and any punctuation.
- Capitalization doesn’t matter.
- To be thorough, just enter the first word or two of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. (Ex: if your desired Hawaii LLC name is “Johnny Apple Farm LLC”, just enter “johnny apple”).
- To be even more thorough, just enter a part of the first word. (Ex: if your desired Hawaii LLC name is “Printing Solutions LLC”, just enter “print”).
3. Review the Results
Click the “Search” button and browse the list of existing Hawaii businesses:
- If “There are no businesses for this search term” appears, that means your desired LLC name is available for 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.
- If your desired LLC name appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
- If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to your desired LLC name, your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
You’ll see different statuses on the results page. While some of these names sound like they are available for use, we recommend avoiding them and coming up with something unique.
Tip: And don’t worry, if you’re not 100% sure that your desired LLC name is distinguishable, just file your paperwork with Hawaii. If your name is not available, the state will send back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.
Once you find an LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Hawaii LLC Registered Agent.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
State of Hawaii Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the State of Hawaii:
808-586-2727 (7:45am – 4:30pm)