Verify Your Business Name With a North Dakota Business Name Search

Conduct an entity search to check the availability of your desired North Dakota business name. This search will save you time and money in the incorporation process.
North Dakota Fargo

Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Catherine Cohen
Written by Catherine Cohen
Written byCatherine Cohen
Updated December 05, 2023
Edited by Zachary Ace Aiuppa
Share this guide

You’re preparing to form a limited liability company (LLC) in North Dakota and have most of the pieces in place. You know who you’ll use as a registered agent, and you’ve even come up with a business plan. Now, you just need a business name. This is where things can get tricky.

The North Dakota Secretary of State will hold the name of your LLC on file, and that name needs to be unique to your business. Swyft Filings makes that easy to check with our North Dakota business name search tool, which you can use in three simple steps:

  1. Tell us your desired business name (along with some basic personal details).

  2. Wait to receive an email from us (it takes up to one hour) to tell you if the name is available.

  3. Move forward with your formation documents.

Free North Dakota Business Name Search

See if your company name is available in North Dakota with our free business name search service. There is no cost or commitment on your part. We will email you within 1 hour to let you know if your name is available Alaska and how to reserve it today.

The tool is free and will save you from wasting time trying to register a business under a name already in use. To save you even more time, this article examines North Dakota’s entity name conventions and the steps your small business should take after it confirms name availability.

Key Takeaways

  • The abbreviations you use in your business name must match your entity type in North Dakota.

  • A business name search can save you time and money, especially when it comes to filing fees for formation documents.

  • North Dakota’s FirstStop online service allows you to submit almost any form related to your business.

  • Your LLC can operate under a trade (or fictitious) name in North Dakota if you file the appropriate forms.

North Dakota’s Business Name Conventions

Thankfully, you’re not left to navigate the murky waters of naming your LLC alone, as these North Dakota Secretary of State rules should give you a good idea of what conventions to follow when running a business name search.

Rule 1 — Sole proprietorships and partnerships often don’t need to worry about names

According to the Chamber of Commerce website,[1] the state of North Dakota doesn’t require you to file your name with the state’s Department of Commerce if you have a sole proprietorship business entity. The same often goes for partnerships, though this isn’t a hard rule in this entity’s case.

There’s no need to file because most of these business entities use the owners’ names as their business names. For example, you may be a freelance content writer named “John Smith” who forms a sole proprietorship under your name. As that name likely isn’t unique (and it’s your given name), you don’t need to make it distinguishable from other business names.

Rule 2 — LLCs and corporations must use appropriate naming conventions

Assuming you’re forming a corporation or LLC, you must assign an appropriate suffix to your business name.

For LLCs, these suffixes are as follows:

  • Limited liability company

  • LLC

  • L.L.C.

Corporations must use one of the following:

  • Corporation

  • Corp

  • Limited

  • Inc

  • Company

It’s crucial to note that you can’t misrepresent the nature of your business entity in your name. For instance, a North Dakota corporation can’t call itself “North Dakota Real Estate, LLC” because the use of “LLC” makes the reader assume that the business is a limited liability company.

Similarly, a North Dakota LLC can’t call itself “North Dakota Real Estate, Inc.” because the name implies a corporation.

Assuming you meet the requirements in the above two rules, your next task is to make sure your business name is distinguishable. In other words, the name has to be unique to your company and can’t be the same (or deceptively similar) as the name of another business operating in North Dakota.[2]

The state also has rules related to the filing of trade names and fictitious names. Both are allowable, though neither can be an official business name. Instead, you must file for these names using separate forms, as detailed below in the “DBA” section.

Finally, you can’t choose a name that implies your business has a purpose other than what’s stated in your Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation. For example, you can’t call your company “North Dakota Real Estate, LLC” and start trading under that name to work in another industry, such as manufacturing. Failing to follow these naming rules may make it impossible for you to achieve good standing in the state.

With naming conventions being so strict (and essential to follow if you want to incorporate your business successfully), it’s crucial that you conduct a North Dakota business entity search. That simple search will help you to get your LLC in good standing with the state. But it offers additional benefits you may not recognize, at least at first.

1 — Saves you time and money

As part of your business registration, you file forms with the Secretary of State to define your company’s name, purpose, and primary personnel. These business records require you to pay a filing fee (i.e., $135 for an LLC’s Articles of Organization[3]).

Imagine trying to file under a business name already used in the state. Your attempted registration gets denied, and you’ve just poured money down the drain. You’ll then have to complete the form all over again, which takes time that an entrepreneur may not have when trying to form a business.

A quick business name search allows you to check name availability, so you don’t waste time and repeatedly pay state fees.

2 — Confirms your name matches your business structure

As mentioned above, North Dakota has rules about the suffixes used in a business name. Those suffixes must match your company’s entity type. Otherwise, your attempted registration gets rejected. In other words, if you use the wrong abbreviations, you end up wasting your money on formation documents that aren’t viable.

A good entity search should alert you to problems with your business name beyond matching another company’s. Ideally, it also tells you if you’re attempting to use a name only viable for a corporation when you have an LLC or vice-versa.

3 — Keeps you away from similar names

Sometimes, a name similar to yours may be as much of a problem as one that exactly matches it. Similarity creates the risk of confusion, which can be a problem when branding or if the other business is involved in something with which you want no association.

An advanced search may reveal names that sound like yours and provide evidence of whether those other companies are in good standing. Use that information to choose a business name that isn’t likely to get confused with another entity.

Barn and field on a North Dakota farm | Swyft Filings

Next Steps

Your North Dakota entity search reveals whether the business name you’ve chosen for your LLC is viable. Finding a name and getting it ready to use for your North Dakota business are two different things. Follow these three steps after confirming availability to secure your name.

Complete Your Name Reservation

As great as it is to confirm the name availability for your LLC, that thrill can quickly dissipate if you wait too long and allow another company to take the name. That’s a common problem for businesses, which often settle on a name several months before they complete their formation documents.

Name reservation is the solution to this problem. In return for a $10 fee (and form completion), you can reserve your business name for up to one year under North Dakota’s state laws.[4]

You can file a name reservation form (along with most other business-related documents) online using North Dakota’s FirstStop service. This service also allows you to carry out a North Dakota business name search if you want to confirm your Swyft Filings search results.

If you wish to file by mail, you can download the form from FirstStop and send it, with a check for $10, to the following address:

Secretary of State

State of North Dakota

600 E Boulevard Ave, Dept 108

Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0500

Choose a Domain Name

Your North Dakota entity search reveals name availability, and your name reservation secures the name for a year. That gives you plenty of time to set up the other aspects of your business, such as your website.

Before building a website for your North Dakota business, you must check if a suitable domain name is available. This name is like a web user’s portal into your site because it’s the URL they’ll type to reach your company online.

Squarespace’s easy-to-use domain search tool can help you quickly find and register a domain name that matches your North Dakota business. You can then choose from Squarespace’s flexible website templates, pre-designed layouts, and curated design elements to build a website — no coding required. Start your business with Swyft Filings and receive a free domain from SquareSpace for one year.

Once you’ve found a name, buy it (either using Squarespace or a similar hosting service) and work with a web developer to get your website up and running.

Consider a DBA

A “doing business as” (DBA) name, also referred to as a “Trade Name,” is like a pseudonym for your business. It allows you to operate under a separate name you create, even if it doesn’t match your company’s official business name.

For example, you have a North Dakota LLC for an online record store that you’ve officially named “North Dakota Music Holdings, LLC.”

North Dakota Music Holdings, LLC, isn’t the most branding-ready name globally. You can use a trade name to get around that fact, allowing your online record store to operate under a different name associated with your official name, even if it doesn’t match.

You must file a form for each fictitious name you use (available via FirstStop and the North website), where you offer the following details:

  • The name you wish to use

  • Whether the trade name is associated with a franchise

  • Who’ll use the name

  • The names, Social Security numbers, and addresses of all of your company’s owners

The form costs $25 to file,[5] with that fee being payable for each name you want to use. You can send it via mail to the following address, assuming you don’t submit it online:

Secretary of State

State of North Dakota

600 E Boulevard Ave, Dept 108

Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0500

File Your LLC Online

Following those steps, you’ve successfully found an available business name using a North Dakota entity search and reserved that name for your LLC. You’re now one step closer to forming your new North Dakota LLC.

If you’re ready to take the next step — submitting formation documents — Swyft Filings is here to help. We offer an LLC filing service that costs $0 (plus state fees) and will have you up and running quickly. Existing business owners aren’t left out; we can help with other filing requirements, such as annual reports and business name changes.

Free North Dakota Business Name Search

Enter your desired North Dakota company name to see if it is available with our free business name search.


How do I find out if a business name is available in North Dakota?

Use Swyft Filings’ free online business name search or the state of North Dakota’s business entity search tool.

How to apply for a business name in North Dakota?

You can apply to reserve a business name through the Secretary of State for up to a year. To take official ownership of that name, you must complete formation documents for your company.

How do I find a business entity in North Dakota?

North Dakota’s Business Search tool helps you find any business entity in the state.[6]

How much does a North Dakota business entity search cost?

It costs nothing to search for a business entity in North Dakota using the Business Search tool or Swyft Filings’ entity search tool.

How do I start an LLC in North Dakota?

You must submit Articles of Organization with the North Dakota Secretary of State to start an LLC in North Dakota or trust an online filing service to send the necessary forms off for you.

Is there a cost to get a business license in North Dakota?

You don’t need a general business license to transact in North Dakota, meaning most companies don’t have to pay anything. However, those operating in regulated industries (such as childcare) may need to purchase a license.

How do I file a trademark in North Dakota?

You can file for a trademark or service mark registration using the FirstStop service.[7]


  1. Chamber of Commerce. “North Dakota Business Name Search.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  2. North Dakota Legislature. “Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  3. Secretary of State North Dakota. “LLC Fees.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  4. Official Portal for North Dakota State Government. “Name Availability and Disclaimer.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  5. Secretary of State North Dakota. “Trade Name Registration or Franchise Name Disclosure.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  6. Secretary of State North Dakota. “Business Search.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  7. Secretary of State North Dakota. “Trademark/Service Mark.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

Originally published on July 12, 2023, and last edited on December 05, 2023.
business types

Learn more about each type of business

No matter the business type, Swyft Filings can help you form your new company.