How to Get an Illinois DBA Name

Be sure to follow state-specific guidelines when filing for an Illinois DBA. Obtaining this fictitious name can allow you to market your business in a new way.
Chicago Bean

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 January 18, 2024
Edited by Zachary Ace Aiuppa
Share this guide

Whether you want to rebrand your LLC (limited liability company) or protect your privacy as a sole proprietor, you’ll need a DBA (Doing Business As). Also known as an assumed business name in the state of Illinois, A DBA name can be filed at the state or county level, depending on your business structure type. Keep reading to learn more about the requirements and benefits of the Illinois DBA filing process.

DBA in Illinois: Key Takeaways

  • A DBA is an alternative name your Illinois business is authorized to operate under.

  • The exact DBA registration process depends on the type of business entity involved.

  • A DBA is beneficial in several situations, including opening a business bank account and branching out business offerings.

Elevate Your Business Branding With an Illinois DBA

Protect your privacy and gain a new business name with our all-in-one DBA filing service.

Secure My DBA

What Is a DBA?

A DBA goes by many names: a trade name, an assumed name, and a fictitious business name. Whatever you call it, its definition remains the same. A DBA is an alternative name used by Illinois business owners who want to operate their businesses under a name different from their legal name.  

It’s important to remember that that’s all a DBA is — a name. It’s not a business structure like a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, a limited liability partnership (LLP), or an LLC. As such, it can’t give you any of the professional and personal asset protection (and other benefits) business structures offer. It just gives you an additional name for your business needs, allowing you to avoid changing your original name.

Let’s say you run a flower shop called Blooming Buds Boutique. If you want to branch out and sell cards, you can do so under the DBA, Blooming Buds Cards. However, if you leave the flower industry and enter an entirely unrelated field, like electronics, a business name change is the best way to go.

View of downtown Chicago by the water | Swyft Filings

How to File a DBA in Illinois

The exact steps for filing an Illinois DBA slightly differ based on your business structure type. Your business structure dictates whether your name registration must go through the Illinois Secretary of State or your local county clerk’s office.

Sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and professional service corporations will only need to file the Assumed Business Name Application form at the county level under Illinois law.[1] The remaining business structures (e.g., LLCs, LLPs, and non-profit organizations) will have to go through the state. Let’s break this down in more detail.

Before moving to the DBA name registration for your existing or new business, you must ensure your desired name is available. Some states allow businesses to share DBAs, but Illinois isn’t one of them.

To ensure your chosen DBA name is unique, visit our free Business Name Search tool. Insert the necessary information, and you’ll soon know whether your desired assumed name is available.

At this point, a trademark search might also be a good idea. Contrary to a common misconception, a DBA isn’t the same as a trademark. Only by trademarking your chosen name can you be confident you’ll have exclusive rights to use it in Arkansas and nationwide.

Step 2 — File a Fictitious Business Statement

The Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement is a legal document some states require when registering a DBA with the appropriate government agency. Illinois isn’t one of these states. Still, there is a document that must be filed at the state level for the following business structure types:

  • LLCs

  • Corporations

  • Non-profit organizations

  • Limited partnerships

  • Limited liability partnerships

This document is called the Application to Adopt an Assumed Name. You can complete it entirely online (provided your business is in good standing).[2] All you need to do is pay the state fee ($30-$150; the pricing depends on the calendar year) via a credit card and follow the on-screen instructions.

Suppose you prefer to handle these tasks offline. In that case, you can also mail your application or deliver it in person to the following address:

  • Secretary of State

  • Department of Business Services

  • Limited Liability Division

  • 501 S. Second St., Rm. 351

  • Springfield, IL, 62756

If you run a corporation, the only difference will be the room number (351).

Step 3 — File Your DBA With the County Clerk’s Office

Your assumed name application should be directed to the local county clerk’s office if you run a professional service corporation, a sole proprietorship, or a general partnership. 

The exact steps vary from county to county but generally involve:

  • Completing the application

  • Submitting it to the appropriate body online or offline

  • Moving on to the publication requirement

Here’s an example of the DBA filing process for Cook County to get a better idea. If your business operates in this county, you can file a DBA online by following the on-screen instructions and paying a $50 filing fee. Alternatively, you can print out the Assumed Business Name Application, fill it out, and deliver it by mail or in-person to the following address:

  • Cook County Clerk

  • Vital Statistics P.O. Box 641070

  • Chicago IL, 60664-1070

  • Attn. Assumed Name Unit

Remember that a notary must verify forms submitted offline (in person or via mail).

Consider entrusting professionals with this process if you need help with all the DBA paperwork and requirements. Our DBA filing service makes this process hassle and stress-free for the business owner.

Step 4 — Publish Your DBA Name

Illinois is one of the states that require entrepreneurs to publish their DBA name in specific counties. What does this mean? It means you must run an ad in a local newspaper stating you’ve registered a DBA. You have 15 days to do so, starting with the original DBA filing date.

This ad serves as a legal notice and should appear in the newspaper for at least three consecutive weeks.

After publishing your DBA name, saving the original newspaper clipping is essential. This clipping and a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper serve as proof of publication. You’ll need to submit this proof within 50 days of your original DBA application to receive your Certificate of Assumed Name.[3]

Step 5 — Follow Up

Depending on your business structure, you might follow up with your DBA periodically to ensure it’s still active.

We’ve got good news if you run a business needing a DBA registration at the state level. Your DBA doesn’t expire. Since you don’t need to renew it, you can only change it or withdraw it, both done using the Notification of Assumed Business Name Amendments form (available on your county’s website).

For other Illinois business owners, the renewal date will come in the next year, which is divisible by five. Once renewed, the DBA will last for five years.

Make sure to renew your DBA before the first day of the anniversary month of the initial DBA filing. Otherwise, you risk paying a $100 late renewal penalty. Even worse, you might lose the right to use your chosen assumed business name altogether if you don’t renew it within 60 days of the required date.

Illinois DBA Name Restrictions

We’ve already established that conducting a business name search is an essential first step in the DBA filing process. Just because any other organization doesn’t take a name, it doesn’t mean it’s usable in the state of Illinois. 

Your chosen DBA name must also adhere to specific Illinois name regulations to be approved by the appropriate authority. Mainly, this refers to ensuring your Illinois DBA name doesn’t include the following restricted words:

  • Words that can get your business confused with a government agency (FBI)

  • Words implying that your business is associated with the insurance industry (trust, trustee)

  • Words indicating that your business has to do with banking or insurance (unless explicitly authorized by the Commissioner of Banks and Real Estate)

  • Words implying your business engages in an activity it’s not licensed for (lawyer)

After ensuring your chosen name is both available and allowed in the state of Illinois, it doesn’t hurt to also perform a trademark search. Ensuring your DBA doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks will allow you to expand your business outside Illinois’s borders.

DBA Illinois Tax Considerations

Getting a DBA in the state of Illinois will in no way change how your business is taxed.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

Under Illinois law, any business that wants to operate under a different name than the name it initially registered must file for a DBA.[4] Why would a business owner want to operate under another name? Below are several reasons why:

  • Operating several businesses. You don’t have to launch a new LLC or corporation to run several related businesses simultaneously. Instead, establish a single business structure and use a DBA for each endeavor.

  • Protecting your privacy. Sole proprietors can start a business under their personal names. However, many aren’t fond of this route due to privacy concerns. With a DBA, their personal name won’t ever appear publicly with said business.

  • Creating a unique brand name. Whether you want to enter the market with a bang or rebrand your existing company, a DBA is all you need. Your business can have a distinct identity while remaining legally compliant.

  • Opening a business bank account. Many banks require sole proprietors and partnerships to have a DBA before opening a business account. If that’s your case, the Certificate of Assumed Name is all the proof you’ll need.

Register Your Illinois DBA in Minutes
  • Gain Privacy: Hide your personal name and details when marketing your business.

  • Improve Branding: Choose a DBA that easily informs your audience about what you have to offer.

  • Expand Services: Operate multiple businesses without creating separate entities for each one.

Secure My DBA


What’s the difference between an LLC and a DBA?

An LLC is a business structure that provides a significant scope of protection for its owner. A DBA, on the other hand, is only an alternative name for that business and has no separate legal entity status.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

The cost of getting an Illinois DBA depends on your business structure type. It generally ranges from $30 to $150.

Do I need a DBA for my Illinois business?

You don’t need a DBA for your Illinois business by default. You only need an assumed name if you plan to do business under a name other than your legal name.

What’s the difference between a trade name, assumed name, and DBA name?

There’s no difference between those terms. They all denote the same notion: an alternative name you can legally operate under.

How long does a DBA last?

An Illinois DBA lasts forever for sole proprietors, general partners, and professional service corporation owners. Other business entity owners will have to renew it. The first renewal date comes in the next year, ending in “0” or “5.” Afterward, you must renew your DBA every five years.

Is there a limit to the number of DBA names I can have?

There’s no limit to the number of DBA names you can have, provided you can pay all the necessary fees and follow the process correctly.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

No, a DBA isn’t the same as a trademark. You’ll still need to trademark your DBA to gain exclusive rights across state lines.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

No, a DBA doesn’t affect your business’s tax status in the state of Illinois.


  1. Cook County Clerk’s Office. “Assumed Business Name Registration.” Accessed September 11, 2023.

  2. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. “Adopting an Assumed LLC Name.” Accessed September 11, 2023.

  3. McLean County, Illinois. “Assumed Names/DBA” Accessed September 11, 2023.

  4. Illinois General Assembly. “Assumed Business Name Act.” Accessed September 11, 2023.

Originally published on November 16, 2023, and last edited on January 18, 2024.
business types

Learn more about each type of business

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