In this lesson we will discuss searching your New Mexico LLC name. This is the first step to forming an LLC in New Mexico.
You need to compare your desired LLC name against existing businesses registered in the state to make sure no other company is using the name. This is referred to as an LLC name being “distinguishable upon the records“. You can use the Secretary of State Business Search to do this.
The New Mexico business name database is maintained by the New Mexico Secretary of State.
Your New Mexico LLC name must also comply with the requirements of the New Mexico LLC Act, in addition to other rules.
New Mexico LLC Name Requirements
The rules that govern New Mexico LLC names are spelled out in Section 53-19-3 of the New Mexico LLC Act.
We’ve made them a bit easier to read below.
Comma in your LLC Name
Your New Mexico LLC name can include a comma, but it’s not required. The state will accept both variations, so it’s up to whichever you like best.
For example, if the “base” name of your LLC is ABC Management, your LLC name can be either of the following:
- ABC Management, LLC
- ABC Management LLC
Note: Instead of your LLC name ending with the designator “LLC”, there are other options.
New Mexico LLC Designator
Your New Mexico LLC name must include a designator (“ending”). The state allows for the following designators:
- Ltd. Co.
- Limited Co.
- Ltd. Company
- Limited Liability
- Limited Liability Co.
- Limited Liability Company
Tip: If you’re not sure which designator to select, “LLC” is the most common.
Words and abbreviations not allowed in your New Mexico LLC name
Your New Mexico LLC name cannot imply that it is a Corporation or any other type of business entity that is not an LLC.
You cannot use the following words or designators anywhere in your New Mexico LLC name:
- Inc. or Incorporated
- Corp. or Corporation
- LP or L.P.
- LLP or L.L.P.
You also cannot use the following words in your LLC name:
- Insurance Company
Additionally, don’t make your New Mexico LLC name sound like it’s a government agency. Don’t use words like Police, Fire Department, Federal, Government, United States of America, City, Town, County, or anything else that will mislead the public.
If you have any questions about your LLC name, you can contact the New Mexico Secretary of State at 505-827-3600. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8am – 5pm Mountain Time.
Your New Mexico LLC name must be distinguishable
Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable (unique) upon the records of the New Mexico Secretary of State.
LLC name distinguishability has many components.
For example, when the LLC examiners (the people who review LLC documents) are looking at your LLC name, they will be comparing the “core” of your LLC name to existing businesses in New Mexico.
They will be ignoring:
- articles and conjunctions (the, and, &, a, an)
- certain special characters
- singular and plural words
- and certain abbreviations
As examples, the following names are NOT distinguishable:
- Smith Group, LLC vs. Smith Group, Inc.
- Apple Orchards, LLC vs. Apple Orchards, LLC
- Printing Shop, LLC vs. The Printing Shop, LLC
- Black & Yellow, LLC vs. Black and Yellow, LLC
- Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
- Tier Three Consulting, LLC vs. Tier 3 Consulting, LLC
Recommendation: We’ve created a helpful page that shows you how to make sure your desired LLC name is distinguishable. We recommend checking that out and then coming back here to search your LLC name. Please see LLC University: LLC name distinguishability.
Tip: If you are visiting the link below from outside the US, you will need to use a proxy service or a VPN.
- Go to the NM Secretary of State: Business Search page.
- Leave “Starts With” selected.
- In the “Entity Name” field, enter your desired LLC name.
- Leave out the designator (ex: “LLC”) when doing searches.
- Leave out punctuation like commas, periods, apostrophes, etc.
- Don’t worry about uppercase or lowercase letters. The database ignores capitalization.
- Enter the first 2 to 3 words of your LLC name. This will help make sure that you see everything that is potentially similar. For example, if your desired LLC name is “Fitness Studios & Health LLC“, just search “Fitness Studio“.
- Your web browser’s back button will not work on the New Mexico business search page. Use the “back” button at the bottom of the search results instead.
- If you’re not 100% sure that your desired LLC name is available, you can still file your LLC paperwork with the state. If the name is not available, the New Mexico Secretary of State will send you back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.
How to interpret the New Mexico LLC name search results
- If the results show business names that are not too similar to yours (meaning your LLC name is unique and distinguishable), then your New Mexico LLC name is most likely available for use.
- If you see a “no data found” message, your New Mexico LLC name is most likely available for use. This usually means your LLC name is very unique and/or specific; that’s why there’s no other business names that are showing up.
- If your desired New Mexico LLC name appears exactly as you want it, then you’ll need to come up with a different name. This one isn’t available.
- If the results show a business name that is deceptively similar to yours, then you’ll need to come up with a different LLC name. This one isn’t available. Remember, the Secretary of State doesn’t accept names that mislead the public.
Don’t do the following until your LLC is approved
- Don’t apply for your LLC’s EIN Number (aka Tax ID Number)
- Don’t purchase a domain name
- Don’t purchase business cards, letterhead, signs, marketing materials, etc.
You’ll want to wait until your LLC is approved (and therefore your LLC name is approved) before doing the above. This ensures you don’t spend money only to find out your LLC name isn’t available.
Do I have to file an LLC name reservation?
There’s a lot of incorrect information on the internet that makes it sound like an LLC name reservation is required. This is incorrect and usually just wastes people’s time and money.
Some people think that you first have to get your LLC name approved and then you form your LLC. That is also incorrect. By forming a New Mexico LLC (which happens by filing an Articles of Organization), the LLC’s name is automatically approved. Therefore, there is rarely a point to reserving an LLC name.
Again, an LLC name reservation is optional and most people don’t need to file one. If you thoroughly search for your desired LLC name, there is a 95% chance that your LLC name will be approved.
And if the New Mexico Secretary of State rejects your LLC filing because of its name, they aren’t going to steal your money. They’ll just send you an email letting you know the name was not approved and that you’ll need to re-file.
When would an LLC name reservation apply?
If you thought of an amazing LLC name months before you’re ready to form an LLC, you can reserve your LLC name and “lock it up” for 120 days. The cost to reserve an LLC name in New Mexico is $20.
Next Step: LLC Registered Agent
Once you find a New Mexico 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: New Mexico LLC Registered Agent.
New Mexico Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the New Mexico Secretary of State at 505-827-3600. Their hours are Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm (Mountain Time).