How to Get a Puerto Rico DBA Name

Although filing for a DBA is similar nationwide, there are specific rules to follow when getting a Puerto Rico DBA. Read on to learn more.
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Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated February 29, 2024
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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When creating your Puerto Rico business, you’ll file formation documents, choose a registered agent, and select a legal business name.

But what if your business name isn’t the name you wish to use for branding? A Puerto Rico DBA, called a “trade name,” comes in here. This fictitious business name can be used for branding purposes, but you must apply for it before your small business can use it. 

DBA in Puerto Rico: Key Takeaways

  • Puerto Rico treats DBAs (called “trade names”) the same way it treats trademarks.

  • You have to fulfill a publishing requirement after receiving your Puerto Rico DBA.

  • A Puerto Rico trade name lasts for ten years.

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What Is a DBA?

A “doing business as” or “DBA” name is a fictitious business name you can use in place of your company’s legal name. Dubbed a “trade name” in Puerto Rico, it doesn’t replace your official name — it’s simply an alternative that business owners can use in their branding.

DBAs are especially popular among sole proprietors and general partnerships because they allow these business owners to choose a name other than their own to represent their companies. This is useful for branding and professional purposes and when applying for a business bank account.

A DBA is not a type of business, such as a limited liability company (LLC) or a nonprofit. As such, applying for one does not impact how you structure your company or how you’re taxed. You simply receive permission to use an alternative name for your business.

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How to File a DBA in Puerto Rico

Whether you have a Puerto Rico corporation, LLC, nonprofit, or any other type of business entity, there are four steps to follow when applying for a DBA in the territory.

As you did when setting up your new business, you need to run a name search to confirm that no other company in Puerto Rico is using the name you intend to use as your DBA.

Interestingly, Puerto Rico is one of the few U.S. territories that links trade names and trademarks. So, to learn whether your intended name is already in use, you can run a search for a trademark on it via the Puerto Rico Trademark Office’s trademark database. This database allows you to search by name, trademark filing number, and filing date.

Once you confirm that there are no trademarks in place, you’re free to move to the next step.

2. Complete a Sworn Statement Form

As part of filing for your DBA, Puerto Rico requests that you complete and send a notarized copy of a Sworn Statement form. This form essentially acts as a fictitious business name statement, and you use it to demonstrate that you’ve applied for the relevant permits and licenses needed to operate your company.

You’ll submit this form alongside your DBA paperwork in the next step of the process.

3. File your DBA With the Trademark Office

Unlike many U.S. states, which require you to file trade name documents with the secretary of state or the county clerk’s office, all Puerto Rico trade name filings are handled online via the territory’s Trademark Office.

Head to the Online Trademark and Trade Name Registry system and create an account, which you can use to complete almost all forms related to your Puerto Rico business. Puerto Rico has no physical mailing address for applications, so there’s no office in San Juan to which you can send your forms.

Each Puerto Rico DBA comes with a filing fee of $150 and asks for several details, including the following:

  • Applicant name and contact details

  • Business mailing address (a P.O. box won’t suffice)

  • Trade name details and the nature of your business

  • Information about whether the name is already in use or intended for future use

You’ll then submit all of this information online, along with your Sworn Statement Form and one of the following documents:

  • Usage permit

  • Merchant registration certificate

  • Municipal license

4. Publish Your DBA Name

As Puerto Rico treats trade names similarly to trademarks, you’ll receive a receipt from the Department of State to confirm the registration of your “doing business name.”

Upon receiving that receipt, you are legally obligated to publish your intent to use your new trade name in a local periodical or newspaper, which can be a print or online publication.[1]

This publication should include your name, address, and the fictitious business name you’ve applied for, with the cost of publication varying depending on which avenue you choose. After you publish your DBA name, any Puerto Rico resident has 30 days to dispute your usage.

5. Follow Up

As nice as it would be for your new trade name to be permanent, you must maintain it if you intend to use it for many years. As with trademarks, Puerto Rico requires you to follow new DBA paperwork every ten years to maintain your trade name.[2]

That ten years begins from your filing date, not when you received approval for the name. Failure to refile leads to the name reentering the public domain, meaning any other business could snatch it up and start using it.

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Puerto Rico DBA Name Restrictions

Though your Puerto Rico DBA isn’t a business structure, you face the same naming restrictions you faced when you set up your company when choosing one.

These restrictions to your DBA name include the following:

  • Can’t be used by any other business in Puerto Rico

  • Can’t use any terminology that makes your business sound like it has a different structure than it actually has, such as LLC

  • Can’t imply that your company is part of any state or federal body, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • Can’t use words like “bank,” “trust,” or “university” unless those types of words are relevant to what your company does

DBA Puerto Rico Tax Considerations

Filing for a trade name in Puerto Rico does not impact the taxes you or your business pay because a DBA name is simply an alternative to your official business name. It’s not a business entity or business structure.

For instance, those with a Puerto Rico LLC benefit from liability protection on their personal assets and may benefit from pass-through taxation. Neither of those things change when you apply for a “doing business as” name. You’re not creating a new entity, so you have no new — or altered — tax considerations to consider

Why Should You Get a DBA?

You understand the five steps entrepreneurs must follow to get a DBA. But you may still be wondering why you should consider doing it in the first place. The reason often depends on the type of company you have.

Business Banking

Most business banking facilities require you to have an official-sounding name before you can open an account. That won’t be a problem for an LLC or corporation — you can use your legal business name — but it could be an issue for sole proprietors who’ve used their own names for their companies.

Creating a Puerto Rico DBA gives you a more official name, making it easier to open your bank account.


A suffix on the end of your name, such as “limited liability company” or “incorporated,” is often not great for branding. But you can’t simply eliminate that suffix — having it is a legal requirement.

By getting a DBA, you receive an alternative name in which you’re not required to state your business type, making building websites and creating marketing products much easier.


Returning to the issue of using your own name for a sole proprietorship, that approach raises privacy concerns. Everybody knows who you are because your name is literally on the business. 

Your Puerto Rico DBA can shield your actual name from public view, at least to a small extent.

Register Your Puerto Rico 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.

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

An LLC is a type of business structure, whereas a DBA is simply an alternative name for your company.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

It costs $150 to file for a DBA in Puerto Rico.

Do I need a DBA for my Puerto Rico business?

You don’t need a Puerto Rico trade name if you’re happy to keep using your official business name or your own name. But you must apply for your DBA if you wish to use an alternative name and create a legal claim to that name.

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

There is no difference, as the terms are usually synonyms.

How long does a DBA last?

Your Puerto Rico DBA lasts for ten years, after which you must reapply for it. You also have five years from the submission date to prove that the trade name has a legitimate commercial use.

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

There is no limit on the number of trade names you can have in Puerto Rico.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

In Puerto Rico, a trade name is treated similarly to a trademark. This isn’t the case in most other U.S. states.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

No, having a DBA doesn’t impact your tax status whatsoever.


  1. Casetext. “P.R. Laws tit. 10 § 223e.” Accessed November 8, 2023.

  2. Puerto Rico Department of State. “Registration of Trademarks and Commercial Names.” Accessed November 8, 2023.

Originally published on February 29, 2024, and last edited on February 29, 2024.
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