California Corporation Search (Guide: All You Need To Know)

What is a California corporation search?

How can you look up a California company?

What are the steps to do a California entity search?

We will look at how you can do a California business search, LLC lookup, search California corporations, registered agent search for service of process, limited partnership search or find out information about any business entity registered in California.

Be sure to read this entire post as we have fantastic content, links and resources for you!

We are so excited to show you the California business entity search process.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

The State of California’s Secretary of State maintains a business registry (BizFile California) allowing individuals and organizations to search and lookup business entities such as corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships or other types of business entities.

With the California business entity search, you can answer the following questions:

  • How can I do a California corporation search?
  • How do I check the status of my LLC in California? 
  • How do I look up a California corporation?
  • How do I find out if a company is in good standing in California?
  • How do I do a California corporations lookup?
  • How do I find out who owns an LLC in California?
  • What is the named registered agent for a California business entity?
  • What type of business entity is registered in California?
  • What business entity was formed or incorporated in California?
  • What are the steps to look up a business in California?
  • How do I do a California business name search?

The State of California offers a convenient online tool allowing you to perform a corporation search as needed.

Here is the link to the California business entity search tool.

There are many ways people refer to the process of searching for a business entity in California, such as:

  • Business entity search California
  • Entity search California 
  • California entity search
  • Secretary of State corporation search
  • Secretary of State business entity search
  • California SOS business entity search
  • Search business entity California
  • State of California business entity search
  • California Secretary of State business search
  • State of California corporation lookup
  • LLC lookup California 
  • CA corporation search
  • CA corp search
  • CA entity search
  • CA business lookup
  • California business registration search
  • Search California business
  • Search corporation California
  • Corporation register search California

All these phrases mean the same thing and refer to the process of searching, finding or looking up information about a registered business in the State of California.

In addition to looking up business entities registered in California, you can use the company search tool to determine if a business name is available for use.

For instance, if you want to do business in California as a sole proprietor using a DBA or using a business entity, you must make sure that you do not operate under the same business name as another.

As a result, California’s company search allows you to:

  • Verify the California entity name availability 
  • Ensure that no other entity or individual has registered the same business name or one similar to the one that you intend to use
  • If the California business name is available, you can then proceed to California’s online business formation services to register the business name or business entity 

Keep in mind that doing a corporation search in California can give you a preliminary indication of whether a business entity name is available or not.

To reserve a business entity name, you must follow the name reservation process.

You can consult the name reservation guideline published by the State of California for more information.

What types of business entities are registered in California

A business entity located in the State of California or doing business in California must be registered with the California Secretary of State.

California business entities could be:

  • Corporation (profit corporation)
  • Doing business as or DBA (sole proprietorships and partnerships)
  • Partnerships
  • Non-profit corporation
  • Charitable organization
  • Professional services corporation 
  • Foreign corporation 
  • Limited liability company or LLC 
  • Limited liability partnership or LLP 
  • Limited liability limited partnership or LLLP
  • Limited partnerships or LP 

As such, by using the CA business search tool or by submitting a Business Entities Records Request Form, you can look up the following in California:

  • Corporation search
  • DBA search
  • LLC search 
  • LLP search
  • LLLP search
  • LP search
  • Trust search
  • Partnership search

As of this post’s writing, if information about limited liability partnerships such as law firms, engineering firms, public accountants and land surveyors, general partnerships, associations, and other entity types are not in the Business Search tool.

As a result, the only option is to download and complete a Business Entities Records Request Form and request copies of the filings with the State of California.

What information is registered in California

You can access the following information, free of charge, on the California business registry:

  • Business entity name
  • Business entity number 
  • Business registration date
  • Jurisdiction 
  • Business entity type 
  • Status of the entity (active or not)
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Registered mailing address 
  • PDF copy of the latest entity documents filed 

There are a few ways you can do a State of California entity search:

  • Search by entity name
  • Search by identification number

Let’s look at how each of these search methods works.

Method 1: Search with entity name

To search by business name, you will need to know the exact business name or keywords or phrases used in the business name.

Step 1: California corporation lookup tool online 

The first step is to access the California corporation search tool.

California corporation search - 1 Business search tool

Step 2: Search for the business entity name

To search for a business entity or corporation, you should enter the actual company name or a word or phrase included in the company name.

You should also select if you are looking for a “Corporation Name” or “LP/LLC Name”.

In our example, we are searching for an entity having the term “Apple” in its name and here are the results that we get:

California corporation search - 2 search for entity name

Step 3: Look for the business entity 

Once you perform a search, you will then access the “Business Search – Results” page.

The search results will provide you with a list of;

  • Matching company names
  • Entity Number
  • Registration Date
  • Status
  • Entity Name
  • Jurisdiction
  • Agent for Service of Process
California corporation search - 3 entity search results page

Step 4: Select the business entity 

From the Business Search Results page, select the company that you were looking for by clicking on the company name appearing with a hyperlink.

California corporation search - 4 select the business entity matching your search

Step 5: View business entity details

When you click on the company name, you will see the “Business Search Entity Detail” page where you will have access to free information made available by the State of California.

On the entity details page, you will see the following information:

  • Entity name
  • Entity number
  • Entity registration date
  • Entity jurisdiction 
  • Entity type 
  • Agent for Service of Process
  • Entity address
  • Entity mailing address 
  • Entity documents 
California corporation search - 5 business entity details

Method 2: Search with business entity number

You can also search with a Business Entity Number.

If you have a business entity number, you can accelerate your search by targeting the specific company you are looking for.

The first step is to access the California entity search tool.

California corporation search - 6 business entity number search

Step 2: Search using business entity number

To search for a company, you can enter the business entity number. 

Considering that each registered corporation or business entity will have its unique ID number when you do a business ID search, you will see only one result on the Business Search Results page.

California corporation search - 7 business entity number search result

Step 3: View business entity details

When you search using a business ID number, you will see the matching business entity on the search results page. 

Click on that business entity to view the business entity details.

California corporation search - 8 select business entity matching search

State of California services

The State of California provides services to individuals and companies dealing with business entities, partnerships, LLCs, corporations or any other legal entity type.

California offers:

  • Filing of LLC Statement of Information
  • File Corporation Statement of Information
  • California business search
  • Name reservations 
  • Request for information on business entities 
  • LLF formations
  • Corporation formation
  • Trademark registrations and modifications
  • UCC online 

We have included useful links and resources for you to access below.

California business search service providers

There are different ways you can manage your company.

Some prefer to handle their own business entity search while others may want to hire an online service provider or attorney.

The choice comes down to what you prefer and how comfortable you manage your company’s affairs.

There are law firms, lawyers and attorneys who can provide you with legal services.

They can get the job done the right way.

The downside is that they may be pricey. 

When you select a lawyer or attorney, you are paying for the job’s quality, the strategic advice and proper legal compliance.

You can also select a service provider that may not necessarily be a law firm but a company specialized in business name searches, company filings, company registration and incorporations.

Many business service providers provide business search services and other business services at a reasonable cost.

You can have service providers that offer any of the following services:

  • Business incorporation services 
  • LLC formation services
  • Annual report filing services
  • Name search services
  • DBA filing services (fictitious name)
  • Company dissolution services
  • Starting a business guide 
  • Business name search
  • Business consultation services
  • Business name reservation 
  • LLC formation
  • Business incorporation 
  • Sole proprietor registration
  • Partnership registration
  • Professional corporation registration
  • Nonprofit company incorporation
  • Tax ID Number requests
  • Registered agent services
  • Business licenses
  • Register for Sales and Use Tax
  • Trademark search services
  • Secretary of State filings

At the end of the day, you need to select a service provider with a good track record, who has worked with many businesses and offers quality services at an affordable price.

California corporation search links

To help you in your California business entity search process, we’ve compiled a short list of links to information and resources to help you quickly navigate to what you need.

California contact details

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