This guide will outline everything you need to know about reserving an LLC name in Virginia and how to get started when you’re ready.
Your company name is important. It’s your first impression, and it’s how people will remember you. You don’t want to be the business with a forgettable name. So, when you’ve got that perfect name in mind, that clever alliteration or meaningful acronym, you might think about reserving it before someone else does.
Naming your company is one of the first official steps when starting an LLC in Virginia. In certain situations, it may be beneficial to reserve a business name while you’re preparing to bring your business idea to life.
In this article, we’ll explain when reserving a business name can be helpful and guide you through all the steps involved.
Nope, there’s no Virginia law that says you need to reserve a name before forming your LLC. You have the option to file for a reservation, but there’s no obligation involved. Ready to start your business? Skip this step and go straight to the Articles of Organization.
Maybe it took you sleepless nights of brainstorming, or maybe you thought of it while sitting at a traffic light. No matter how you came up with your memorable LLC name, you’ll want to make sure that it’s available and ready to use when you file your Virginia LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $10 fee. Overall, it’s cheaper to skip this fee and simply start your business, which will lock in your name.
However, there are cases where you may not be ready to officially start your business. Filing an application to reserve your business name gives you “dibs” and ensures that competitors aren’t able to snag it while you’re preparing for launch.
If your business name is unique, including unusual spellings or characters and/or family names, it may not be necessary to reserve a Virginia business name ahead of time. Plus, paying the extra state fee to reserve your business name could be a waste of resources if you’re planning to launch your business soon after.
Anyone planning to do business within the Commonwealth of Virginia can reserve an entity name. Filing your name registration prevents another entity from using that name to conduct business in the Commonwealth during the time of your hold. An entity name reservation in the Commonwealth of Virginia lasts for 120 days, during which you have exclusive ownership of that name.
During the last 45 days of your reservation, you can renew it by filing another application and paying an additional $10 fee. You can renew it as many times as you’d like, but to avoid accumulating a bunch of $10 fees, it’s a good idea to form your LLC within the first 120-day period.
And if you decide to hand off your reservation to someone else, just send the State Corporation Commission a notice of the transfer that includes your signature and the transferee’s name and address.
Got a name in mind? Perfect. Follow these steps to reserve it.
Before submitting your application to reserve your business name, you first need to check name availability. The State Corporation Commission offers a database for exactly this purpose. Head over to the “Check Name Distinguishability” page and enter your desired name to see if it’s being used. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the Commonwealth of Virginia (find them all here). All good? Then check to see if your LLC name is available. If it is, let out a sigh of relief—you’re ready to reserve it.
On the SCC’s Limited Liability Company Forms page, you’ll find Form SCC631: Application for Reservation or for Renewal of Reservation of a Business Entity Name. The title lacks brevity, but the form itself doesn’t. It only asks for four things:
When you’re done, include a check (payable to “State Corporation Commission”) for $10 and mail it off to:
State Corporation Commission, Office of the Clerk
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1197
Mailed documents are usually processed within 6-9 business days. But if you can’t wait that long, you can file an “Expedited Service Request Form” and pay $50 for next day service or $200 for same day service.
That all you have to do! The next step is to get your business off the ground by filing the Articles of Organization.
Your LLC name is an important part of the business. If you’re not ready to launch your business, but you’ve got a perfect name and you think someone else might claim it, consider reserving it.
However if your business is ready for takeoff, use our comprehensive guide to forming an LLC in Virginia to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $10 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $100 Virginia LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $10 isn’t a fortune by any means, but this will at least save you the hassle of reserving a name and registering an LLC separately.
As a business owner, you have a lot to think about. Pile on the responsibility of handling state correspondence, LLC tax information, and more while keeping your LLC compliant, and you’ve got yourself a pretty full plate.
Sometimes the best move is to let someone else take care of the paperwork for you. This way, you can sleep easy knowing you’ll never miss a deadline or compliance requirement with the state. While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, ZenBusiness is an entrepreneur favorite. Other than that, IncFile and Northwest are two other popular options with appeals of their own.
$0 + state fee and takes 5-10 minutes
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.
How to Reserve an LLC Name in all 50 States
We break down the LLC Name Reservation process for all 50 states. View all of our guides below.
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