West Virginia business search

Last updated on October 28, 2022

You can search for business entities registered and operating in the state of West Virginia by using the official business search tool. It is the West Virginia Business Entity Search Tool. Read how to access the free tool below.

Official West Virginia Business Entity Search Tool

Search for business entities on the Secretary of State’s website. It’s free.

Visit West Virginia business search tool
Tool screenshot

Why search for names?

Benefits of entity search tool

Checking entities in a state helps you as a business owner and a concerned citizen

Brand protection

You can check if your brand name is used by another company in a state.

Business expansion

To expand your business to another state, you can see check if your name is taken.

Find the people behind

As a concerned citizen, you can see the individuals and entities behind local businesses.

Trademark research

Before you file for trademarks, it is important to conduct thorough research into existing entity names.

Actions in Washington

View step-by-step instructions on certain tasks you can do in the state.

How to form an LLC in West Virginia?

Follow these 7 steps:

1. Name your LLC

Think of a list of names for your business that your customers would find appealing. Show it to your friends and some customers and get their feedback. If you already have a few names in mind, great.

To check if those names are available in the state of West Virginia, go to the official entity search tool on the Secretary of State website. It’s free to search.

You can reserve a name with the state, by paying reservation fees. The reserved name will be expired after a specified duration. If you are filing Articles of Organization, you need not reserve a name separately.

Reservation fees


Reservation duration


Every LLC needs to be identified with a designator. Must contain "limited liability company" or "limited company" or the abbreviation "L.L.C.", "LLC", "L.C." or "LC". "Limited" may be abbreviated as "Ltd." and "company" may be abbreviated as "Co.".

Make sure you follow LLC naming guidelines specified by West Virginia state as per West Virginia Code §31B-1-105. This includes not using names similar to existing companies, etc.

2. Get a mailing address

If you have an office or factory in West Virginia, you can use that as your official company address. Note that this address will be made public. You can even use your home address as your official company address. But that may not give you privacy.

Alternatively, pick a virtual office address. This way, you pay a company for a street address and they handle all your mailing. You can then give this address to the state.

3. Hire a registered agent

Every West Virginia LLC requires a registered agent in the state. If you are a resident of West Virginia, you can be the registered agent for your LLC. However, your details will be made public and you must be available during all business hours to receive service of process.

Alternatively, there are companies that provide registered agent services for a fee. Pay for their service and you get to keep your privacy and ability to freely move around without worrying about compliance.

4. File Articles of Organization

Once you have a registered agent and an official office address, you can go ahead with filing your Articles of Organization. You can file it online on West Virginia Secretary of State website.

Filing fees


Processing time



One-Stop Business Center

1615 Washington St. E.

Charleston, WV 25311

5. Create an Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are not mandatory in West Virginia, but it is highly recommended. There are websites where you can customize operating agreements to your needs. Create and get it signed by your LLC members.

6. Get Employer Identification Number (EIN)

EIN is used by IRS to identify business entities. You create an EIN for free at IRS website.

7. Open a business bank account

It is important to separate your business and personal transactions. There are several ways to create business bank accounts. You can definitely open business checking accounts at traditional banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, etc. There are several other modern banking solutions that offer plenty of benefits to entrepreneurs.

Entity name

Every LLC should have a unique name in West Virginia. West Virginia maintains a list of names of entities in the state. Go through it to check if your chosen name is available.

Search for names

Go to the official website of the West Virginia business entity search tool to see if the name you want is available.

Searching fee



You can reserve a name for your LLC for a specific duration by paying reservation fees to the West Virginia business division. You will have to file your LLC formation documents within this period to keep the name. Alternatively, you can directly go ahead with the LLC formation without any reservation. That's fine too.

Reservation fee


Reservation period

120 days

LLC naming guidelines

The name you choose for your LLC must the official naming guidelines.

  • West Virginia Code §31B-1-105


Here are some of the guidelines in simple language:

  • 1

    Must contain "limited liability company" or "limited company" or the abbreviation "L.L.C.", "LLC", "L.C." or "LC". "Limited" may be abbreviated as "Ltd." and "company" may be abbreviated as "Co.".

  • 2

    Don’t include terms that indicate that you are doing an activity that you are not authorised to do.

  • 3

    Your name should be ‘distinguishable’ in the Secretary of State records. Adding a punctuation or ‘the’ does not make it distinguishable.

  • 4

    Don’t use words that makes it seems like you are a governmental entity or has an affiliation.

Operating agreement

Operating agreement is an internal business document that outlines the general rules and policies of the LLC.


It is not a legally mandatory document. However, it is recommended to have one since many courts, banks and financial institutions use it for verification. It is also nice to clearly outline the duties and relations between multiple members of an LLC—so you avoid any confusion in the future.


There is no ‘required’ format for an operating agreement. You can include anything reasonable in it. In general, it has the following sections:

Basic Business information

Contains name, address, names and details of members, purpose

Member relationship

Contains membership interest, decision making process, powers, duties.

Membership transfer

Contains details on how to add or remove members and managers.

Accounting and tax

Contains details on how company records and distributions are maintained.


How to dissolve, wind up and terminate, due process to follow and exceptions.

Frequently asked questions

Business in West Virginia

Knowing the entity names that are available in West Virginia helps you run your business better. Read our guides to learn how to get started with these entities in West Virginia.

West Virginia LLC

West Virginia C-Corp

West Virginia S-Corp

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