California Secretary of State Business Search (Step-By-Step)

Are you forming a corporation, LLC, or business entity in California?

How do you do a California Secretary of State Business Search?

Looking for an awesome step-by-step guide?

We are super excited to begin!

Let’s search in the California Secretary of State Business Search database!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Business Search Registry

In California, the state offers an online database to the public allowing anyone to perform a search to locate any business entity registered in the state.

To search for a business entity, you’ll need to access the California Secretary of State Business Search registry.

It looks like this:

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 1 Business Search Registry

Once you access the online business database, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Database search methods

You can search for different types of business registered with the state, such as:

  • Domestic General Stock Corporation
  • Domestic Professional Corporation
  • Domestic Close Corporation
  • Domestic Non-Profit Religious Corporation
  • Domestic Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation
  • Domestic Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation
  • Domestic Common Interest Development Association
  • Foreign General Corporation
  • Foreign Non-Profit Corporation
  • Foreign Professional Corporation
  • Foreign Insurer Corporation
  • Domestic Limited Liability Company
  • Foreign Limited Liability Company
  • Domestic Limited Partnership
  • Domestic General Partnership
  • Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
  • Foreign Limited Partnership
  • Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
  • Foreign General Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship

Also, there are different methods that you can use to search for business entities, such as:

  • Search by Corporation Name
  • Searcy by LLP/LLC Name
  • Search by Entity Number
California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 2 Database search methods

Let’s look at each of these search methods one by one.

Method 1: Search by Corporation Name

The search by Corporation Name function is a widely used type of business entity lookup.

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 2 Method 1 Search by Corporation Name

All you have to do is to enter the name of the business entity you are searching for to see if there is a match in the database or not.

Once you enter the corporation name, you can add an additional search filter by selecting either “Exact” or “Begins With” from the “Keyword” drop-down menu.

Once you have entered the required fields, click the button “Search”.

Method 2: Search by LP/LLC Name

The next possibility is to search for a limited partnership (LP) or a limited liability company (LLC).

Just like for a corporation name search, you can add an additional search filter by specifying if your keyword should be an “Exact” match or “Begins With”.

Once you’re done, you hit the “Search” button.

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 2 Method 2 Search by LP LLC Name

Method 3: Search by Entity Number

The next option is to search for an entity using the “Entity Number” attributed to it by the state of California.

This type of search is possible if you already have the entity number and it allows you to narrow your search specifically to that single entity.

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 2 Method 3 Search by Entity Number

Step 3: Search results 

Once you’ve performed your desired search, you will then be presented with the business entity search results.

If you did a search using a corporation, LLC, or entity name, you will see the following search results page:

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 3 Search results

The search results page presents to you the following information:

  • Entity Number
  • Registration Date
  • Status
  • Entity Name
  • Jurisdiction
  • Agent for Service of Process 

If there is a company or business having a name that matches your search query, you will see it on the search results page.

Step 4: Select entity 

If you have found a business matching your query or a business entity that you would like to get further information on, you should click on the hyperlinked business entity name from the search results page.

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 4 Select entity

Step 5: Business entity information

To complete your business entity search in California, you’ll end up getting the business entity records or information made available publicly by the state.

The entity information page looks like this:

California Secretary of State Business Search  - Step 5 Business entity information

The business entity information provides some valuable information about the business entity selected.

Here is a quick overview:

Business Entity Information:

  • Registration Date
  • Jurisdiction 
  • Entity Type
  • Status
  • Agent for Service of Process
  • Entity Address
  • Entity Mailing Address 

In addition to that, you’ll find additional information given about the business entity.

In our example, there is a note that says that a Statement of Information is due every year beginning five months before and through the end of October.

Business Entity Filing Information: 

You also have a table showing some of the company filings, in our case we have:

  • Statement of Information No Change
  • Statement of Information 
  • Company registration 

Additional Information:

Last, at the bottom of the page, you have a statement about what’s not included in the California Secretary of State’s database:

  • Corporations with a status of “Surrender”
  • Information on name reservation and name verification 
  • If the image of a filing document is not found online, it can be ordered 
  • Any certificate, status reports, certified copies of documents or copies of documents can be ordered 

Certificate of status:

Another aspect of the business entity information page is that you can order a Certificate of Status directly from there by clicking on the “Certificate of Status” button.


There you have it!

You have now performed a California Secretary of State Business Search?

Let’s look at a summary of the process.

  • Step 1: Go to the California business registry website
  • Step 2: Do a search by entity name or other search options offered by the state
  • Step 3: Assess the search results 
  • Step 4: Select the matching company in your search result
  • Step 5: View the business entity information made available by the state 
How to start a business in California
How to incorporate in California 
How to form a California LLC
How to register a trade name in California 
California business license 
California Certificate of compliance
How to register for an EIN
Registered agent services 
Incorporation services
LLC formation services 
Document filing services 
California name reservation


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