How to Change Your Virginia Business Name

To complete a business name change in Virginia, you need to file a form such as an Amendment to Certificate of Incorporation (for corporations), or a Certificate of Amendment (for LLCs). We can handle the heavy lifting for you with our Amendment Filing Service.

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There are a lot of good reasons to change your company’s name. Whatever the purpose, your business name is your brand’s first impression, so you want to make a good one. If you’re thinking about how to change your business name in Virginia and you’re here, you’re off to a great start!

Your first step on the road to changing a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation name is filing paperwork with the State of Virginia. Filing name change paperwork will ensure that your business is legally compliant.

To properly finalize a business name change in Virginia, you’ll need to submit specific business formation documents, including an Articles of Amendment form. We can file those for you with our Amendment Filing Service. 

Here are some other helpful steps to changing your business name in Virginia.

How to Get a New Business Name

If you want to change a business name in Virginia, you need to do some prep work. We break down the general steps for you below. 

1.) Choose a new business name

The first thing to consider is Virginia’s many rules regarding business names. In Virginia, all LLCs and corporations are subject to specific naming guidelines.

A business name must be distinguishable from other businesses recorded by the Office of the Clerk. In other words, it must differ from the name of all other active businesses in Virginia, except general partnerships. You can use the State Corporation Commission Clerk’s name checker to verify that your new name is distinguishable.

The name of a corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership may not include any word, abbreviation, or combination of characters that suggests it’s a different type of business entity. For example, a limited liability company’s name may not include “corporation,” “incorporated,” or the designation “Corp.” or “Inc.”

A business’s name may not include “bank” or “trust” unless it engages in the banking or trust company business or it’s contextually clear from the remaining words that the company doesn’t engage in such business.

The business name must not include the words “United States,” “national,” “Federal,” or “reserve” if the business engages in the banking, loan, building and loan, brokerage, factorage, insurance, indemnity, savings, or trust business.

Once you familiarize yourself with Virginia’s rules, other things to consider are:

  • Whether your business name avoids generic words or words that are forgettable or fail to represent your business’s services or product
  • Whether your business name sounds catchy when you say it out loud
  • Whether you can trademark your new name—check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to see whether someone else has already registered it

2.) Gather information for filing your amendment

LLC and corporation owners in Virginia will need the following information to change a business name: 

  • Your business’s current name as it appears on the Records of Commission
  • The proposed new company name
  • If a limited liability corporation, which designation you’re using (e.g., Limited Company, Limited Liability Company, L.C., LC, L.L.C, or LLC)
  • Proof of name change approval by all company members unless the business operating agreement provides otherwise
  • A signature from an official with the right and power to manage the company’s business affairs

Once you gather your information, you may submit it to Virginia’s Clerks Information System (CIS) to get started.

3.) File your Virginia amendment 

Now that you know how to change a business name in Virginia, you’re ready for step three. To file your amendment, download an amendment form, fill it out, and register a CIS account. Once you set up an account, follow the proper link and file your amendment.

You may also mail the document to the State Corporation Commission, Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 1197, Richmond, VA 23218-1197 or deliver the amendment by courier to 1300 East Main Street, 1st Floor, Richmond, VA 23219.

Are you filing a fictitious name? You can file a fictitious name online through CIS or submit a paper form. Just be sure to choose the correct form. If you have a business on the records of the Commission, use the following form: Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name – Business Conducted by an Entity. If you’re conducting business as an individual, you’ll use the following form: Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name – Business Conducted by an Individual.

All businesses require a filing fee to amend a business name.

We can also file your Virginia Articles of Amendment for you. We’re happy to take care of your name change documents so you can focus on growing your business.

After You Change Your Business Name

Once you know how to change a business name in Virginia, remember to follow up with other important revisions.

Notify the IRS about your business name change. Be sure to visit the IRS website for specific business name change requirements. 

Change your business’s branding to reflect its new name and logo. Remember to include all business forms, signage, and your website.

Contact your website administrators and ask them to redirect your site to your new domain if you use one.

Change your Virginia licenses and permits.Nearly all businesses have licenses and permits registered with various local and federal government branches. Be sure to contact the offices associated with those permits to learn how to change your business name on their forms.

We can help

We’re here to help with several housekeeping tasks for your business, such as registering your new domain name and helping you ensure that your business is legally compliant with our Worry-Free Compliance Service. If you’re just getting started, we can help with our Virginia LLC Formation Service and Virginia Corporation Formation Service.

We want to help you elevate your business. Whatever your business needs, we can be there every step of the way.

Virginia Business Name Change FAQs

  • A business name is the legal name of your business. On the other hand, a DBA name, also known as a trade name, is a name you use to operate your business that isn’t its legal name. DBAs aren’t subject to the same restrictions as business names. For example, you don’t have to include a designator like Corp, LLC, Inc., etc.

  • No. Under Virginia law, you don’t have to change your business name to have a DBA. You must, however, link the two names with the Virginia State Corporation Commission Clerk’s information system (CIS). If your fictitious name isn’t associated with a business on record, then the fictitious name is related to the applicant for the certificate.

  • In Virginia, you can register your business online on the State Corporation Commission’s Start a New Business page. Virginia’s State Corporation Commission can walk you through the steps and help you navigate your business setup.

  • Numerous reasons exist for filing an amendment; for instance, you may want to change your business type or contact information. You can file as many amendments as you need.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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