How to Look Up an LLC in California

By Salvatore Jackson

All businesses -- including limited liability companies -- that wish to engage in significant business within the state of California must register with the California secretary of state. The Business Entities Division of the California secretary of state maintains a free online database that contains details about all LLCs registered in California. In addition, for a small fee the Business Entities Division allows individuals to obtain certified or uncertified copies of records detailing more extensive information about an LLC.

Step 1

Navigate to the Business Search database on the California secretary of state’s website (see Resources). Check the radio button for “Limited Liability Company/Limited Partnership Name” to search for a California LLC. Alternatively, you may check the radio button for “Entity Number” to search for a California LLC by entity number. In the search box, enter part of the LLC’s name or its entity number. If searching by entity name, omit any punctuation and use distinctive words. The search algorithm will ignore common words, such as “California,” “LLC” and “Limited.”

Step 2

Click on the entity name for the LLC you want to look up. The results page will list the entity number, filing date, status, entity name and agent for service of process of all LLCs that match your search term. Clicking on the entity name will display the record for the LLC you want to look up. The record includes the entity name, entity number, filing date, status, jurisdiction, entity address, agent for service of process and the address for the agent for service of process. If you wish to obtain a certified copy of the LLC record, copy the entity number.

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Step 3

If you need a certified copy, download and fill out the Business Entities Records Order Form (see Resources). Provide your name and address, the name of the LLC you want to look up and its filing number. Indicate on the form if you would like a copy of the initial formation documents, amendment documents, statements of information or all documents on record about the LLC. Indicate whether you require certified or uncertified records.

Step 4

File your request and payment. As of 2010, the cost of obtaining an uncertified copy of LLC records is $1 for the first page and $0.50 for each additional page. The cost of obtaining a certified copy is $1 for the first page, $0.50 for each additional page and a $5 certification charge for each document. You may file your request by mail (with a self-addressed return envelope) or in person. The mailing address is Secretary of State, Certification and Records, P.O. Box 944260, Sacramento, CA 94244-2600. If applying for records in person, the address is 1500 11th St., 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. Making a records request in person costs an additional $10.

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