Verify Your Business Name With a West Virginia Business Name Search

Creating a unique yet compliant name is essential to the success of your West Virginia incorporation. Verify your name is available with a business entity search.
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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
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Creating a distinguishable name for your upcoming business is essential for incorporation. However, it’s not as easy as running with the first name that comes to mind. At Swyft Filings, we offer a free search tool that allows you to check whether the entity name you want for your limited liability company (LLC) is already in use in the state of West Virginia. It’s simple to use thanks to our three-step process:

  1. Answer questions — Tell us who you are, your location, and what business name you want to check for your LLC.

  2. Get results — Within an hour, we’ll conduct an advanced search of business names on file with the West Virginia Secretary of State to see if your desired name is available. Then, we send the result via email.

  3. Reserve your name— If your desired business name is available, we’ll help you reserve it so it’s ready to use when you file your Articles of Organization.

Free West Virginia Business Name Search

See if your company name is available in West Virginia 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.

A West Virginia business name search is simple enough (with our help), but you need to follow some rules before choosing your company name. This article digs into those rules and explains the steps to follow when finding an appropriate business entity name.

Key Takeaways

  • Your West Virginia business name must be distinguishable to complete business registration.

  • You can reserve a business name in West Virginia for up to 120 days.

  • You must apply for DBA/trade names separately under West Virginia law.

  • Your official business name must contain a suffix denoting the business entity in West Virginia.

West Virginia’s Business Name Conventions

When filing for an organization name, you must follow specific rules that ensure your name is unique to your company. There are also rules associated with your entity type to keep in mind.

Let’s dig into those rules.

Rule 1 — Your name must be distinguishable

The West Virginia One Stop Business Portal[1] says that the most common reason for rejecting a business name is that another company already uses the name.

That reason for rejection brings us to the most crucial rule - your company name must be distinguishable from any other registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State. A new business will always come second to an established business with the same name in the eyes of the law.

This requirement extends further than you may think because the state doesn’t allow you to make minor changes to existing names to be “distinguishable.” Per the naming requirements, your name isn’t distinguishable based on the following:

  • The corporate name endings all West Virginia businesses must use (more on those in the following rule)

  • Singular and plural words (e.g., “House” and “Houses”)

  • Word separators and articles, such as “&” and “The”

  • Separated and combined words for the name (e.g., “Cool Cutz” and “CoolCutz”)

  • Using apostrophes, such as “Joe’s Plaice” versus “Joes Plaice”

You can ask the Secretary of State for permission to use an indistinguishable name in certain circumstances. You may get approval if the company that’s already using the name allows your business to use it or if you’re claiming the name as part of a merger or acquisition.[2]

Rule 2 — Add the appropriate name ending

A name ending is a suffix (usually an abbreviation) that all West Virginia companies must place at the end of their business name. This suffix has to match your entity type.

For example, your LLC can’t use the “Corp” suffix because it’s reserved for West Virginia corporations. However, a corporation can still use “Ltd” as a suffix, though it can’t use “LLC” to end its name.

The specific allowed name enders for each entity type are as follows:[1]

  • West Virginia LLC

    • Limited Liability Company

    • L.L.C

    • LLC

    • LC

    • L.C

    • Ltd. Co.

  • West Virginia Corporation

    • Corporation or Corp.

    • Limited or Ltd.

    • Company or Co.

    • Incorporated or Inc.

    • Foundation - Only for non-profit corporations

  • Limited Partnership

    • Limited Partnership

    • L.P.

    • LP

  • Limited Liability Partnership

    • Limited Liability Partnership

    • LLP

    • L.L.P

  • Professional Limited Liability Company

    • Professional Limited Liability Company

    • P.L.L.C

    • PLLC

    • Professional LLC

    • Professional L.L.C.

Rule 3 — The name can’t mislead the public

The West Virginia Legislature[2] clarifies that you can’t pick a business name that makes it appear that the business engages in or implies a purpose other than the one it serves.

For example, you can’t name your business “West Virginia Car Insurers” if you sell cars and don’t have the appropriate licenses to offer insurance. Similar rules exist for financial institutions, such as using words like “Bank” in your name without the proper permits and permissions.

It can all get very convoluted, which is why a West Virginia business name search is so valuable. With the Swyft Filings’ new business name search service, you can see if your name is unique (i.e., distinguishable) and confirm that it contains no banned or restricted terms.

It’s easy enough to understand the concept of using a unique business name for your LLC. You’d likely want to do that anyway, even without regulations in place, because you want your company to be its own standout entity.

The danger comes if you assume your chosen name isn’t in use because you’ve never seen it before. Avoiding that assumption by using a West Virginia business entity search service, such as Swyft Filings, delivers three key benefits.

Benefit 1 — Saves you money

When forming your business, you’ll declare your intended business name on your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization.

Both forms go to the Secretary of State’s office in Charleston to be examined. That examination costs a filing fee — $100 for Articles of Incorporation and the same for Articles or Organization. The fees can climb as high as $500 if you’re registering a foreign limited liability partnership.[3]

If you haven’t confirmed your name is available before filing, you’ve just thrown at least $100 down the drain. A name search keeps that from happening.

Benefit 2 — Confirms name availability

In the excitement of getting your business up and running, you may start spending money on branding and promotions using your intended name. If you later find out that name is already in use, you have to throw away all that work (and absorb the monetary loss) and potentially face trademark issues if you release any of those materials to the public.

A one-hour name search via Swyft Filings confirms name availability, so you don’t waste time or work hours.

Benefit 3 — Gives you time back

This benefit is as simple as the process of checking a business name — A Swyft Filings name search takes no more than an hour.

We only ask for four details from you — your intended business name, location, name, and email address. After submitting those details online, you just wait for the result before moving forward.

Winding road in West Virginia forest in the fall | Swyft Filings

Next Steps

You’ve completed your West Virginia entity search and are confident you’ve picked a unique West Virginia business name for your LLC. Once you have that name, there are a few more steps to follow.

Complete Your Name Reservation

Picking a unique name doesn’t mean a thing if somebody else files their company’s formation documents with your intended name before you can. Thankfully, you don’t have to leave registering your LLC name up to chance because West Virginia allows you to reserve your name for a set period before you file your formation documents.

To reserve your business name for 120 days, you must download, complete and submit Form NR-1 Application for Name Reservation.[4] The form asks for several details, including:

The form has a $15 filing fee, which you can pay via check, credit card, or debit card. After completing the form, you can fax it to (304) 558-8381, email it to [email protected], or send it physically (along with any e-payment authorization necessary) to the following address:

One-Stop Business Center

1615 Washington Street East,

Charleston, WV 25311

It usually takes five to ten business days to process the form, though you can pay additional fees ranging from $25 to $500 for expedited service.

Assuming the Secretary of State accepts your reservation request, you have 120 days to get your ducks in a row and form your business before the reservation expires. To do that, you’ll submit your formation documents, which Swyft Filings can help you to do with our LLC formation service.

Choose a Domain Name

With your name reserved, you have 120 days to set up and file your formation documents. Part of that process involves getting your marketing materials ready, which includes choosing a domain name for your website.

Squarespace’s easy-to-use domain search tool can help you quickly find and register a domain name that matches your West Virginia 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.

The alternative is to contact the owner of the domain you wish to register with an offer to buy that domain from them. Remember that this approach rarely works, usually because the owner uses the domain for business themselves.

Once you’ve found a domain name for your LLC that matches the one you’ve secured through name reservation, you can register that domain with many providers. This process is simple, usually requiring you to pay a fee in exchange for possession of the domain name for a specific period.

Consider a DBA (Doing Business As) Name

Your chosen business name may not necessarily be the name you’d like to use for the public-facing side of your business. That’s okay because you can do business under a fictitious name, often called a DBA name.

In West Virginia, DBA names are called “Trade Names,” and you have to file to use this alternative name for your West Virginia LLC.

The process is much like the one you used to choose your real name — conduct a West Virginia Secretary of State business search to check the names availability before submitting a form to register the name.

The critical difference lies in the form you submit. You must complete Form NR-3 Application for a Trade Name (DBA).[5] The form asks for general details about your current business name, address, and the trade name youd like to use.

As for why you’d use a trade name, imagine this scenario. You’re running a real estate business that you’ve named “Parker’s Real Estate Holdings, LLC,” but you want to use the name “Parker’s Real Estate” when dealing with customers and in your marketing.

That’s where a trade name comes in, as you’ll need to register “Parker’s Real Estate” as a separate trade name, despite it being similar to your business name. The trade name lacks the “L.L.C” suffix that West Virginia law requires for a primary business name.

File Your LLC Online

You have to submit several forms to the West Virginia Secretary of State when finally forming your West Virginia LLC. That process starts with finding an appropriate business name for your LLC.

Once you’ve reached a unique name, we can help you to form your LLC in a matter of minutes by handling the filing needs on your behalf. Our service is free (plus state filing fees), and all it requires is that you complete an online form, which takes 10 minutes or less.

Free West Virginia Business Name Search

Enter your desired West Virginia 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 West Virginia?

Use Swyft Filings’ free business name search to determine if your intended name is available.

It’s a tool that allows you to search for existing businesses in West Virginia, making it helpful in determining if your desired name is already taken. The tool also allows you to check a company’s Certificate of Good Standing.

How do I find a business entity in West Virginia?

You can use the West Virginia Secretary of State Business Entity Search or Swyft Filing’s free business name search.

How much does a West Virginia business entity search cost?

There are no fees to pay when using the West Virginia business entity search.[6]

Benefits include confirming that your desired name is available, which saves you time and money in the formation process.

How do I find out who owns a business in West Virginia?

An entity search can provide this information. You can also check the company’s website and similar marketing materials, which may reveal the answer.


  1. West Virginia One Stop Business Portal. “Name Availability and Requirements.” Accessed May 15, 2023.

  2. West Virginia Legislature. “§31E-4-401. Corporate name.” Accessed May 15, 2023.

  3. West Virginia Secretary of State. “Fee Schedule for Services and Registration with the West Virginia Secretary of State.” Accessed May 15, 2023.

  4. West Virginia Secretary of State. “Application for Name Reservation.” Accessed May 15, 2023.

  5. West Virginia Secretary of State. “Application for Trade Name (DBA).” Accessed May 16, 2023.

  6. West Virginia Secretary of State. “Business Entity Search and/or Request for Certificates of Existence.” Accessed May 16, 2023.

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