Georgia Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
Irrespective of the new business type you are forming, the first step in registering a business is conducting a business entity search via the Georgia Secretary of State website.
The search will help you determine whether the name is available for use or is already used by an existing business. The following step-by-step guide will show you how to conduct a business name search in Georgia.
Georgia search tips
The following tips will ensure that your Georgia limited liability company, limited partnership, or corporation search provides the most accurate results:
- Whether you use upper or lowercase in the search bar is relevant as all letters are treated as uppercase during the search.
- You should not add extra words to a business name as it will alter the name and give you inaccurate search results.
- If you’re searching for a company or corporation name that contains many words, punch in only the first one or two words into the search bar to ensure you get broader search results.
- Try to avoid the use of punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and apostrophes.
- Try to avoid the use of identifiers such as Corp., LLC, LP, etc.
- Do not add or remove spaces in the names.
Business search by name
One of the most frequently used search methods to find a business in Georgia is to search by business name. To do this, you need to visit the Georgia Corporations Division website and gain access to the business search page.
Enter the business name
Start by entering the business name you’re looking up. You may enter only a partial name or a full name of the company.
You can refine the search by selecting business names that:
- Contain the words you’ve entered
- Start with the words you’ve entered
- Are the exact match of the words you’ve entered
Then click on the “Search” button.
Review the results
If no records are found, a window with a message that says, “No data found” will pop up.
However, if relevant records are available, a list of all companies in Georgia with matching words will be displayed. You’ll see the business’s name, the status, control number, type, and principal office address of each business entity, and the registered or designated agent name.
Access detailed business info
If you’d like to access detailed information about a relevant business, all you need to do is click on the name of the business.
By doing so, you’ll have access to the following information:
- Date of formation or registration date
- NAICS code and sub-code
- Last annual registration year
Additional information about the registered agent or officer
You’re also free to go through the name change history, filing history, etc. All you need to do is click on the corresponding button.
Business search by control number
The next way to find a Georgia-based business is by using the control number in the search criteria. Visit the exact same business search page on the Georgia Corporations Division website to begin.
Enter the control number
Click on the search bar next to the Control Number
Enter the control number to lookup
Click “Search” or hit Enter on your keyboard
Review the results
In this case, there’s only going to be one search result if the control number you entered is correct. This is because the Secretary of State’s office assigns that specific number to business entities in Georgia as a form of identification.
Business search by registered agent name
Another way to research business entities in Georgia is by registered agent’s name.
Enter the agent’s name
Enter the name to search for into the corresponding search box and click “Search.”
You can use the same search methods as before and look for the name that starts with, contains, or is the exact match to the words you’ve entered.
Review the results
Just like before, if you want to see additional information about one of the businesses, you should click on its name and it’ll lead you to the business page.
Business search by officer name
The last method to perform a business search in Georgia is by officer’s name.
Enter the officer’s name
Enter the name into the search box next to the Officer Name.
You can enter the full name or just a part of it.
Select whether you’re looking for:
Names that start with, contain, or are an exact match to the name you’ve entered.
Review the results
Once you get the list of businesses, you’ll be able to see some key information about each of the businesses that meet your search criteria. However, if you want to see more, you should click on the company name.
Business search results
The basic search will give you the following information:
- Name of the Business
- Name of the Registered Agent
- Type of the Business
- Control Number
- Principal Office Address
However, the detailed information you’ll find when selecting individual entities is as follows:
- Registered Agent Information (name, physical address, county)
- Officer Information (name, title, business address)
- NAICS Code
- Date of Formation/Registration Date
- NAICS Sub Code (if there’s one)
- Last Annual Registration Year
- Dissolved Date (if the business is dissolved)
You can also see the filing history (and the PDFs of available documents), as well as the name history if there are any records.
Copies of documents and certificates
After conducting your Georgia business name search, you may want to obtain certified or uncertified copies of business filings and documents. Some of the documents that you may request from the Georgia Secretary of State include the Articles of Incorporation, annual reports, and Articles of Amendment.
Additionally, certified copies are issued with an endorsement, certificate, or stamp.
The Secretary of State is the only State Department that is allowed to issue these certified copies, and you may put in a request for the required documentation using the following details:
Georgia Secretary of State
2 MLK, Jr. Dr., Suite 313, Floyd West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334-1530
Business name availability
After conducting the company name search on the Department of State’s website, you’ll be able to confirm whether or not you can use that name to register your business. If the name is taken, you may need to go back to the drawing board or perhaps use a business name generator to give you additional options.
Alternatively, if the business name is still available and hasn’t been claimed by another existing business in the state, you’re free to go ahead and begin the business registration process.
However, if you are not quite ready to begin the process yet, you do have the option of reserving the organization name with the state of Georgia.
The best way to reserve the name in the state is to file a name reservation application either online, in person, or via mail.
To file online, follow this link.
Alternatively, download and complete the Name Reservation Application Form, and send it to this mailing address:
Office of Secretary of State
Corporations Division, Name Reservation Request
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
The application should be mailed along with the filing fee of $35.
Domain name availability
A domain name is just as important as a suitable business name. While the business name you’re considering will help to establish your company’s brand and identity, a domain name will establish your company’s online presence.
One of the best ways to check whether your desired domain name is available for use is to perform a domain name search on namechk.com. This is a professional service that helps to filter the results and provide suggestions using available domain names.
Fictitious business name search
If you’d like to do business under both your legal entity name and a fictitious name, then you need to register that fictitious name with the state. This will allow you to legally operate under your fictitious name, which is also known as an assumed trade or DBA, and “doing business as” name.
The process starts with searching the state’s records and county records to ensure that no one else has already registered the fictitious name or reserved it.
Thereafter, you should ensure that the name does not contain a business entity suffix and does not imply that it is affiliated with any financial or government agency.
Additionally, the fictitious name should not imply that it is organized for unlawful purposes or contain obscene language.
A Georgia DBA must be filed in the county where the majority of business activities are conducted and where the business’s offices are located.
Feel free to contact your county’s office and request further instructions on how to go about filing a Georgia DBA.
What are the hours of the Georgia Secretary of State office?
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office operates between 8 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday to Friday, and is closed on the weekend.
What are the steps to search for a business?
The best way to find a business is to go to the Secretary of State’s website and then perform a name search using various search criteria.
What type of information can be found in the Georgia Secretary of State’s business search?
When conducting a business search on the State Department’s website, the search results will display various details about a business entity, such as the business’s name, registered agent’s name, type of business, business address, and status.
What is the Georgia Secretary of State?
The Georgia Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing and tracking annual corporate filings, voting, the state securities market as well as granting professional and business licenses. Ultimately, it is an elected official with a range of responsibilities.
What is the name of the secretary of state for Georgia?
The name of the Secretary of State for Georgia is Brad Raffensperger.
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