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How to File a North Dakota Trade Name [2022]

How to File a North Dakota DBA / Trade Name

In North Dakota, a business operating under a Fictitious Trade Name will need to register with the Secretary of State.  Learn more about what a Trade Name is, who needs one and how to register.

What is a Trade Name?

A Trade Name, also known as a DBA or “Doing Business As,” “Fictitious Business Name,” or “Assumed Name,” is a name used by a business that is different from the legal name of the business.

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of North Dakota, like most states, requires the business to register its business name.  The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.

Who needs to register for a Trade Name?

The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary depending on the type of business structure.  More information about the state statutes for Trade Names is provided in North Dakota Century Code Section 47-25-01.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA.

The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering.  For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers but doesn’t use a business name, he doesn’t have to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, then he will need to register.

Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process.  Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another entity.

What is a Trade Name good for?

A Trade Name is required for North Dakota businesses that want to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the owners or entity. The DBA registration provides information on the people operating a business, so if there is an issue, the owners of a business can be tracked down.  

In addition to the legal requirement, a Trade Name offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a business bank, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

How much does it cost to register a North Dakota Trade Name?

The filing fee to register a Trade Name in North Dakota is $25.

To keep a Trade Name active, it must be renewed every five years from the initial date of registration.

What are the steps to file a DBA in North Dakota?

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another business in North Dakota unless the current name holder agrees. If the name is being used or is similar to another registered name, a “consent to use of name” can be requested from the currently registered business.  There is a $10 filing fee that applies.

Names can be searched on the Secretary of State’s website. 

Learn how to do a business name search in North Dakota.

Step 2: Fill out the Trade Name Form

To register, file online through the Secretary of State’s FirstStop website or download the Trade Name Registration Form (SFN-13401).

The following information is requested on the form:
– Trade Name to be registered
– Address of the principal place of business
– What the business does
– Type of business entity
– The name, Social Security Number, and address of the owner(s)

Step 3: Submit the Form

Submit the filing fee and form. If filing by mail, send to:

Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
606 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck, ND 58505-0500

or by fax to: 701-328-2992

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at 800-352-0867 (option 3)


If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Swyft Filings, MyCompanyWorks, and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a North Dakota DBA?

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking unless the business is licensed to provide those services.  

Also, a name can’t include entity designators such as Incorporation, Corp, Limited Liability Company, LLC, etc.

Can someone use my business name after I register the Trade Name?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in North Dakota, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states.  If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in North Dakota, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name in other states.  If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Learn more about trademarks.

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in North Dakota