New York Business Entity Search Process and Methods Explained

Planning a new start-up in NYC? Know that naming it isn’t as easy as you may think. Whether it be an LLC, corporation, or some other business, you need to follow certain guidelines and find a valid name – more accurately, a name that’s available to use. Performing a New York business entity search is the only way for ensuring this. Follow this guide to name your business in NYC along with necessary LLC/Corporation naming rules.

Why Do New York Business Entity Search?

As a simple rule, You cannot register your business with a name that’s currently acquired by another business in New York. This is one of the main reasons for doing a New York business entity search. This simply involves checking business records on the New York secretary of state’s website. Thus’ you can check for name availability for your desired names and finalize a unique name. You risk refusal of your business registration if you try to use the same or similar name.

New York secretary of state

New York LLC Naming Guidelines

Knowing the following key points will make your New York LLC search a little easy.

  • You must use a name that’s distinguishable from other NYC LLC/Corp./Inc./Co-op businesses including NYC reserved names.
  • Adding articles (a, an, or the) doesn’t make two names different.
  • You shouldn’t use words that imply that the LLC is a government organization. Such as – New York Police, FBI, FDA, Treasury, etc.
  • The name shouldn’t imply any unlawful business in the state/U.S.

New York Corporation Naming Guidelines

You need to be aware of the following rules before doing a New York corporation search.

  • The name should be unique from other registered Corp./LLC/Inc./Co-op businesses including reserved names in New York.
  • Adding conjunctions (and, &, or) or articles (a, an, the). doesn’t make two names different.
  • Singular, plural, and possessive forms of a word are considered the same.
  • Using symbols, punctuation, abbreviations, and typefaces doesn’t differentiate two names.

New York Business Entity Search Methods

Just like every other state, New York also has records of all registered businesses on its SOS website. There are a few different ways you can search for New York business details.

New York business entity search tool

  1. Search By Name – The name search is generally used to check for name availability to find a unique business name. You are also free to search existing businesses (such as – Dunkin’ Donuts) to get more info. such as  – Status (active/inactive), DOS id, assumed name id, etc.
  2. Search the DOS ID – All businesses in New York have a unique dos id. So, searching dos Id will show a result of a single name associated with it and the above-mentioned details.
  3. Search Assumed Name/Name ID – Many businesses operate with an assumed name also known as fictitious name or doing business as. For instance – Bonny’s Food can also operate as Bonny’s catering. You can search these assumed names/name IDs to know more about a business.

How to Run a New York Business Entity Search?

Now that you’re aware of the various methods of doing a business search in NYC, let us explain how to check for name availability and register a unique name for your business.

  1. Think of names – Think of names that would suit your business. List these names so that you can search fast.
  2. Search the Names – Simply, search all names one by one on the New York SOS name search page.
  3. Review and Finalize a name – You should avoid using names that show results with similar names whether the business is active or inactive. You may use names that are inactive but then you’ll have to figure out if the entity has been dissolved or not. If a name search doesn’t show any business with a similar name, then you are free to use it.
  4. Reserve the name (optional) – Reserving a name is only recommended if you’re not immediately ready to register the business. File an application with New York SOS to reserve your name. This will cost $20 to reserve the name for 60 days.
  5. Register the name – Once you find your desired unique name, you can register your business with the New York secretary of state. After successful registration and formation of documents, the name becomes yours.

Other Considerations For Naming Your Business

There are a few more points that you should keep in mind before finalizing a business name.USPTO

  1. Trademark search – You need to do the U.S. trademark search to ensure your business name isn’t associated with a federal trademark if you have plans to expand the business nationally.
  2. Domain name – It is also good to have a domain name that’s exactly similar to your business name. So make sure that a similar domain name is available.
  3. Social media accounts – Your social media accounts should have a similar name to your business so that customers can easily find you online.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What if my preferred business name is taken in New York?

If a name you are planning to use (or something similar) is currently used by a registered business in New York then you can’t register your business with the same name in the state. You need to come up with a new and unique name.

2. How do I know if a business name is available in New York?

You may contact the New York SOS at (518) 473-2492 and ask for a business name availability check. You can also perform a name availability search online on New York’s corporation and business database page. If the name or similar name is taken then you’ll need to find a new name.

3. Do I need to register an assumed name for my New York business?

If you want to operate your business with a name that's not your legal (registered) business name then you’ll need an official assumed name certificate issued by the New York Department of State. This certificate is also called doing business as (DBA) certificate.

4. How much does it cost to reserve a business name in New York?

You’ll have to pay a $20 application filing fee to reserve a business name in New York. The amount is payable to the New York Department of State and it’ll reserve a name for 60 days.


Along with using a name that’s relatable to your business, you must make certain that it’s available to use by conducting a New York business entity search. To find a unique name you need to do a name search for your desired names and then finalize a unique name. Don’t miss out on the NYC Corp. and LLC naming rules.

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