West Virginia Business Entity Search offers a wealth of information on entities registered in the state. It makes it convenient to find all publicly available information on these entities. Existing businesses can use this to check their filings, file some documents, or order and/or validate a certificate of good standing.
Another very popular purpose is to check for name availability. When setting up a new business entity, like a West Virginia LLC, the first step is to find a suitable name for your business. The chosen name should be unique and not be confusingly similar to existing entities. Using entity search makes it possible to check if the desired name is available.
Using The West Virginia Secretary Of State Business Search
Since the database for entities is maintained by the WV SOS, it’s also called the West Virginia Secretary Of State Business Search. The search function is freely available online and provides excellent information. It has the following options available:
- Agent/Officer Name
- Advanced Options
Here’s how each of these options works.
Conducting A WV Business Entity Search Using Organization Name
This is a straightforward option that enables searching entities using their name. It’s intuitive, simply because we’re more likely to know entities by their business name rather than through other characteristics.
Additionally, the search is quite extensive and the results have relevant sections for organization names, fictitious names, reserved names, and name changes.
To search, you can enter the name of the company in the search query box and click on the “search” button. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a full entity business name. You can use a partial name of the entity.
Refining the search is possible through the use of wildcards. The “%” symbol represents a wildcard. You’re free to use this before and/or after the desired query, thus enabling a wider and more easily managed search.
Search Using Agent Or Officer Name
Business entities file information about their West Virginia Registered Agent and officers. A search query can use the name of an officer/registered agent rather than using the business name. It is possible to use wildcards or to enter only a partial name.
Remember that the agent or officer name search isn’t necessarily exact. An agent or officer can be related to several businesses. Additionally, there might be several people with the same name.
Advanced Search Options
West Virginia offers an overwhelming number of advanced search options. Used correctly, they can make searching very easy and quick. On the other hand, the sheer number of options available can be quite perplexing.
The Advanced Search has several options. Some of the noteworthy ones allow filtering the results by organization type, business type, business purpose, and city. If any of the advanced options are chosen, the results are limited to the chosen filter.
Working With Entity Search Results
Any available results for your West Virginia corporate search are displayed with some relevant information. These include sections like entity name, Organization ID, type, charter, class, and dates for termination and establishment of the business.
Clicking on the name of an entity will take you to a page with more details on the chosen business. Apart from the details already mentioned, other available information includes RA name and address, officer(s) name and address, addresses of the business (where relevant), filing history, and an option to file annual reports.
If your primary goal is to get the Certificate of Existence, it’s better to use a different tool. It works as a simple business name search. It can also work as a West Virginia Business Entity Search. Currently, it only has the “search by name” function.
How To Reserve A Business Name In West Virginia
What if you’ve thought of a nice name for your business, but aren’t prepared to launch your company just yet. Attractive and memorable names are very important for any business. A name forms the first impression on your clients/customers. So, there’s no incentive to risk losing an attractive name.
You can work on setting up your business requirements while you hold the name reservation. This removes the risk of losing the name while you handle logistics, administration, or other necessities of setting off on your entrepreneurial journey.
Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Business Name In West Virginia?
No. Reserving a business name in West Virginia is purely optional. There are several benefits to choosing a name reservation. However, if you don’t feel like choosing this option, it’s okay to skip this part. Similarly, if you’re not bothered about name availability, there isn’t much use in spending time and resources on reservation.
How Long Does A WV Name Reservation Last And What Does It Cost?
Once the secretary of state approves your name reservation request, it remains valid for 120 days. There is no option to renew the reservation, so plan the timeline carefully and strategically. Ideally, you should be able to form your business within this time.
The cost of filing a name reservation application is $15.
Reserving A Business Name In West Virginia
Filings for name reservation are submitted to the WV Secretary of State. You will need Form NR-1: Application for Name Reservation. Once you’ve downloaded and completed the application, you can mail it with the $15 filing fee to:
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311.
West Virginia also offers expedited service for quick processing of the application. Using this service requires a fee, which is charged in addition to the filing fee of the form. The standard processing time is 5-10 business days. So expedited filing can appear quite attractive.
There are three tiers for expedited service.
- If you prefer processing in 24 hours, the form is delivered via email and $25 fee.
- A 2-hour expedited service can be availed via Fax. The charges are $250.
- To get 1-hour expedited service, you’ll have to submit the form by walking into an office. The cost is $500.
Apart from the address mentioned above, you can submit the form via fax or email. The contact information is:
Before you file, be sure to run a West Virginia business entity search. This way, you can remove the possibility of running into trouble with the same or confusingly similar names. Another important part is to comply with naming restrictions in West Virginia. Assuming you’ve handled both these requirements, getting a name reservation should be convenient.