How to Look Up an LLC in California

By River Braun, J.D.

How to Look Up an LLC in California

By River Braun, J.D.

There could be any number of reasons you might want to look up a limited liability company (LLC) in California—whether it's because you want to start your own LLC and want to ensure your name isn't already taken or because you've got an issue with a company and want to know where to send legal correspondence. Regardless of the reason, the California Secretary of State has made it fairly easy to look up basic information on LLCs and other foreign or California companies online.

Woman in striped shirt leaning over desk and looking at computer

It's also possible to obtain detailed information on LLCs formed or operating in California. As long as the company has registered with the California Secretary of State, you should be able to find the information you need.

Step 1. Search the California Secretary of State's website.

On your computer or favorite mobile device, head over to the Business Entities section of the California Secretary of State's website. There, you should see an option for "Business Search." Here, you can run a search for any corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs registered in California.

The first thing you need to do is select the business entity type. Next, type into the box labeled "search criteria" the name of the LLC. Not sure of the exact company name? Fear not. Simply leave the drop-down box next to the text box on "Keyword" and the algorithm will bring back any California LLC with the keyword you search. If you're looking for a California LLC in Santa Cruz that has to do with surfing but are not sure what the exact name is, simply type in Santa Cruz Surf.

It's also often easier to leave out punctuation and unimportant words, such as "LLC" or "limited," in your search. The search algorithm will be much happier with you.

Step 2. Locate the desired LLC.

Once you've entered the LLC information, run the search. You should see a list of possible matches. This results page includes the company name, entity number, registration date, status, jurisdiction, and the agent for service of process. Here, you can click on the name of the LLC that you're looking for to bring up more information, including:

  • Registration date
  • Jurisdiction
  • Entity type
  • Status
  • Agent for service of process
  • Entity address
  • Entity mailing address

Step 3. Download LLC documents.

If your quest for information about this California LLC hasn't been satisfied here, you can now instantly download copies of official documents for many California LLCs, such as:

  • Registration documents
  • Statements of information
  • Any amendments filed
  • Termination documents, if applicable

In some cases, such as when an LLC has dissolved, you may not be able to access documents online, which means you need to request documents via mail or in person from the Secretary of State.

Step 4. Request certified LLC documents.

If the information on the California LLC is not available online or if you need certified copies of the documents, you can obtain those by heading to the Information Requests page. Here, you can find an overview on how to request documents, with a detailed set of instructions available on the actual Business Entities Records – Order Form.

You may request certified or uncertified copies of documents, certificates, and status reports for a fee by mailing in your form to the Secretary of State.

Are you ready to form your LLC? Be sure to check with the California Secretary of State or use the help of an online service provider to make sure your California LLC name isn't already taken.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.