Illinois LLC Name Reservation: Secure a Business Name

Last updated on: October 6, 2021

Just like there is no person without a name, there is no legal entity without a name too. Yet, unlike persons, companies are not allowed to have similar names. Hence, business registration and legalization starts from naming your company, no matter if you open a limited liability company or a corporation. At this stage, you need to perform a name search to check the existing database of company names and see if the name you have in mind is used by some other entity. If the name is free but you are not quite ready yet to initiate business formation, you can book your company name for use in the near future. In our article below, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on the LLC name reservation for those who start an LLC in Illinois

Is It a Necessity to Place a Business Name in Illinois on Hold?

In contrast to many other US states that do require you to reserve a company name before you launch your business, in Illinois, it’s not an obligatory primary step. However, reserving an Illinois business name is a really nice idea for a number of reasons. Creating a unique company name is not an easy task, given how many business entities are formed on a daily basis. For many entrepreneurs, it takes time and effort to generate a memorable LLC name that won’t resemble any existing one. So, when you come up with a good business name that you like, it might be reasonable to put it on hold before filing your application with the state.

To reserve a company name in Illinois will cost you $25. Though it’s not a lot, you can still lock in your business name simply by starting the LLC formation process. Besides, if the name you’ve invented contains any family names or some specific characters, there may be no need to secure it in advance. However, if due to some circumstances, you can’t initiate the LLC filing process yet and want to rest assured you have the exclusive right for your preferred company name, name reservation is sure a way out. 

Those who have some plans to do business in the state of Illinois can book a legal entity name for a period of 90 days. Within this time frame, you need to file your Articles of Organization that will automatically legalize your company name and make it yours for good. You can also transfer the name to somebody else who conducts business in the state or cancel your reservation at a $5 rate. Yet remember, once those 90 days run out, there will be no possibility to renew your name reservation in Illinois. But we believe three months are quite enough to settle all paperwork or some minor issues and register your business. 

State Regulations on Illinois Company Names

As mentioned above, your Illinois company name should not be similar to or even sound like any already registered or reserved business name. The chosen wording or acronym should somehow relate to your business objective and the products your company manufactures or services it delivers. At the same time, it should be clearly distinguishable from the name of other entities in this or any other industry. The business name search and check are performed by the Illinois Secretary of State who is eligible to approve and book or reject the name you choose for your new entity. To hit the spot from the start, simply stick to the general guidelines below:

  • Only English letters and Roman numbers are allowed in Illinois business names, with no other signs or characters in the wording.
  • Punctuation marks won’t make your LLC name unique, so skip commas and full stops. The same is true for plural forms, derivatives, and suffixes. 
  • Abbreviated words are regarded as similar to their full forms. Likewise, phonetic similarity when words sound similar while written differently is also prohibited.
  • Opening an LLC, add the words “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company” to your company name.

Noteworthy, to change the registered name, you’ll have to file amendments for all your formation documents with the Secretary of State that will incur added costs. So, treat the company name choice diligently to avoid any added expenses afterward. 

Reservation of Business Name in Illinois: Stage-by-Stage Process

If you decidedly want to reserve your future company name so that nobody else could claim it before you proceed with filing the LLC application, follow our quick and brief guide to complete the process fast and without any problem.

  1. The very first step to complete before you can even set a name reservation application is to check if the selected name is not occupied. By filling in and sending the Name Availability Inquiry Form to the Illinois Secretary of State, you can check three name versions at a time. However, remember to consider other valid name restrictions in advance.
  2. Once the name availability check is complete and the preferred name is appropriate and available, go to the LLC Forms page on the Secretary of State official website to discover the Form LLC-1.15 that will let you secure the name, transfer the reservation, or cancel it if necessary. Completing the form, you need to specify the business name to be reserved, the applicant’s full name and address, title and signatures, and the payment info (a reservation fee payment check).
  3. To put the business name on hold, send two application copies by mail or deliver it by hand to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office at the following address: Secretary of State, Department of Business Services, Limited Liability Division, 501 S. Second St., Rm. 351, Springfield, IL 62756

To consider and process your application on a regular basis, it will take the Secretary of State from 7 to 10 working days or so. Expedited processing is also available, cutting down the processing time to a single day. However, to make use of this option, you’ll have to personally deliver all documents and payment checks to the Secretary’s office and pay $50 instead of $25.

Going for LLC Service: Time and Effort Saving Solution

Still wonder whether you really need to book a legal name or not? By and large, it totally depends on your current situation and future business scenario. If you need some time to prepare for a business start-up and want to rest assured your desired business name won’t be used by another entity, name reservation is an answer for you. And if you are about to launch your LLC, it is more reasonable to think about online LLC services that will save you the trouble of paying for the name reservation and take care of the paperwork routines for you. 
Forming an LLC in Illinois, you’ll have a wide choice of professional legal providers. To ease your choice and cut down the need to search high and low, we recommend setting your eyes on ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent. These two are among the most well-known LLC formation services highly valued by customers and standing strong against competitors. They have a lot to offer to different business situations and will make Illinois LLC registration a breeze for you. 

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

In this IncFile vs ZenBusiness review, we're going to compare two of the most popular LLC formation services based on pricing, features, and drawing out differences and similarities to let you see which is most suitable for you and your business.

You can learn more about @Mike here.

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