Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions website has the information you are looking for.
The Department of Financial Institutions Business Entity Database provides information on sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and LLCs registered in North Dakota.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Active & Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Other results include “Dissolved”, “Not Good Standing” and “Expired” among others. The names of these results may be available to register.
- Original File Date is when the Articles of Organization were filed with the Department of Financial Institutions. The Effective Date can be up to 90 days after the file date.
- Nature of the Business – Brief description of what the business does.
- Principal Office – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent in North Dakota is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
How to do a North Dakota Business Name Search
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Legendary Landscaping” and click “Search”. It is recommended to search by “with all the words”, “with at least one of the words”. “entity name starts with”, “partial match with at least one of the words” in the drop-down menu to search your name thoroughly.
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Legendary Landscaping”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in North Dakota, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about any of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Type – Status” column to see a detailed report. In this example, we will look up “Legendary Landscaping L.L.C.”.
While the name “Legendary Landscaping” by itself may not be available for an LLC, other variants are such as “Legendary Landscaping of North Dakota” or “of Legendary Landscaping of Fargo” are. Searching for those business names brings a result that says “No Entities were found matching your selection criteria”. While final approval is still with the Department of Financial Institutions, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in North Dakota. Even when the name of the business you want looks like it is available, the Department of Financial Institutions will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a North Dakota LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in North Dakota, an Operating Agreement, which contains the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, North Dakota business licenses and permits may still be necessary.