West Virginia Business Entity Search Process Explained with Other Considerations

Naming your new business is not only about selecting a name that suits your taste. It is more crucial than that. You must choose a valid name. If you reside in WV and don’t want to face issues with registering your LLC/Corporation then continue reading. We’ll explain how to do a West Virginia business entity search to finalize a name.

Why Do West Virginia Business Entity Search?

The thing is, you need to choose a unique name for your new business. If you want to start a business in WV then the only way of ensuring this is to do a West Virginia business entity search. This involves doing a simple name search on the West Virginia SOS website to know if a name is available to use. One should not avoid this because

  • Your business registration will be refused if the name is the same as another business.
  • You may face fines or legal action if the name has similarities with another registered business.

West Virginia Secretary of State

West Virginia LLC Naming Guidelines

Before you do the West Virginia LLC search, you should know whether your desired name is valid in the first place. These guidelines will make things easy.

  • At the end of your business name, you’ll have to include the phrase limited liability company, limited company, or their short forms.
  • The name shouldn’t suggest an Illegal activity.
  • Your name and purpose (that you’re going to mention in the LLC formation document) must co-relate with each other.
  • You are not allowed to use words like banking or insurance if the business is not about that.
  • The name shouldn’t have words that may confuse your LLC with a government agency.

West Virginia Corporation Naming Guidelines

Knowing about these Corporation naming guidelines will make your West Virginia Corporation search very easy.

  • After your business name, you need to include “corporation”, “limited”, “Company”, or “incorporated “.
  • You may also use abbreviations like Corp., Co., ltd., or Inc.
  • The name shouldn’t imply illegal activity and it shouldn’t reflect a purpose other than the one you’re going to mention information documents.
  • Your name should not include “911”

West Virginia Business Entity Search Methods

Factually, business entity search isn’t only about checking for name availability. It is also a way of doing thorough research about existing businesses. If you want to use a name that was previously associated with some other business, you need to know its reputation in the market. West Virginia SOS name search can be done by

West Virginia business entity search

Search By Name: Along with checking name availability for your favourite names, you can also search existing businesses (such as – Wendys). After searching a name, you’ll get a result page where clicking on details,  you’ll see that business’s status, mergers, annual report, etc.

West Virginia Business Entity Search Process

All states have a record of registered businesses on these SOS sites where business owners can make sure that their name is available to use.

1. List Business Names – One good piece of advice is to create a list of names that you like. This will make it easy to find a unique name.

2. Do the WV SOS name search – Once you have a list, search all names one by one on the West Virginia SOS business search page.

3. Check Results and Finalize a Name – If any of your searched terms shows other businesses associated with that name then you’ll have to choose from other names. Finalize a name that doesn’t show any results with similar businesses.

4. Reserve the Name (optional) – If you’ve finalized a name but are not yet ready to register the name with the WV Secretary of State, then reserving it is a wise choice. You can do this by filing a name reservation application. WV SOS will charge a $15 filing fee and your name will be reserved for 120 days.

5. Register the Name – If you are ready to start the business then register your business by visiting the West Virginia SOS website. Once your registration gets approved, no one can use that name.

Other Considerations Before Finalizing a Business Name

West Virginia trademark serch

  1. Trademark Search – Your name shouldn’t be trademarked by another business in West Virginia. So, you must do the WV trademark search first. Additionally, if you have plans for expanding the business in different states or countries then do research on federal and international trademarks for your business name.
  2. Domain Name – For your online website, it is recommended to have a domain name that’s similar to your business name. Your customers will be able to find your business easily. So you must make sure that a similar domain name is available or not. If it is, then buy it.
  3. Social Media – You may have plans to build an online presence through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. So you need to ensure that the name is not already associated with another account.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know if my preferred business name is taken in West Virginia?

The easy option is to call the WV business division at (304) 558-8000 or 1-866-767-8683 and request a name availability check. You may also perform a business name search on the WV SOS business search page.

2. What’s the cost of reserving a name for your business in West Virginia?

A business name reservation in WV costs a $15 filing fee to reserve a name for 120 days.

3. What of my preferred name is already taken by a registered business in West Virgina?

If the name is occupied by another business in WV then you won’t be able to register a business with that name in the state. Find other suitable names.

4. What’s the cost of trademarking a name in West Virginia?

A West Virginia trademark costs $50 per class and it lasts for 10 years.


Aside from selecting a name that suits your taste or business, it’s important to select a unique name by performing a West Virginia business entity search. All you have to do is perform a name search on the WV secretary of state website. You can either register your business directly and make the name your’s or reserve it for 120 days.

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