Kansas Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)

Last updated: March 19th, 2024
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If you’re planning on starting a new business in Kansas, then you’ll need to conduct a business entity search. The purpose of the search is to ensure that no other existing business is currently using your preferred name.

The Business Entity Search State or BESS is an online tool offered by the Secretary of State to allow the public to perform searches in thE entity database. The database allows you to retrieve information on various business structures such as limited liability companies, corporations, limited liability partnerships, general partnerships as well as limited partnerships.

While there are many reasons to conduct a search in the entity database, if you’re starting a new business in the state, you’ll need to conduct a business search to make sure that the name is available for business registration.

The following step-by-step guide will show you how to conduct a Kansas business entity search.

Kansas search tips

The following helpful hints will ensure that you get the best results during your name search:

  • If the name of a specific business is too long, you’ll get better results by only entering a part of the name, that is, just the first one or two words that the name starts with.
  • When performing the keyword search, try to use less common words as words that are too common may cause the search to return too many results.
  • A keyword search is best if you don’t know the full name of the business or the order that the words should appear.
  • Avoid dashes and spaces when searching using an entity ID number. Additionally, the ID number is different from the FEIN or Federal Employer Identification Number. The business ID number is assigned by the Secretary of State’s office and not the Internal Revenue Service.
  • The business search database is not intended to be a name availability search. Therefore, you’ll need to apply a specific process of elimination when searching online for the availability of a name. Therefore, trying to determine that the name is available by searching the entity database will not give you a confirmation of name availability. Instead, you must conduct a true name availability search.
  • In the event that a specific name does not appear in the search results, it could mean that they’ve not filed in Kansas or that they have filed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, assumed, DBA, fictitious, or trade name. These types of entities do not file in the state.

There are a number of different search criteria and search types that you may use to find your Kansas-based business. These options include:

Business search by entity name

To begin your name search, refer to the State of Kansas Business Entity Database Search tool.

Enter the entity name

Enter the desired name while keeping the guidelines mentioned in the helpful tips section in mind.

Click on “Search,” or hit Enter on your keyboard.

Review the results

If matching entries are found, then the following information will be available to you:

  • Name
  • ID Number
  • Status

Review additional business information

If you’d like to access further information on any existing entity from the list, simply click on the “View Record” button.

Once you’ve clicked on the “View Records” button, you’ll have access to the business summary page, which includes detailed business information such as entity ID number, mailing address, entity type, date of formation, etc.

Business search using additional search options

When conducting the database search using the entity ID number, keyword, or registered agent’s name (also known as the service of process agent’s name), you’ll need to follow the exact same steps as you when searching using the entity name. The process is exactly the same, and to access detailed information, you’ll need to click on the “View Records” button as before.

When searching for a business using the company’s ID number, there should only be one result or an exact match, if you entered the ID number correctly.

Please also note that the database search returns a maximum of 400 results, and for additional assistance, you’ll need to contact the Secretary of State’s office.

Kansas search results

When clicking on the “View Records” button, you’ll have access to the following information:

  • Name
  • ID Number
  • Status
  • Previous names
  • Current mailing address
  • Date of formation in Kansas
  • Entity type
  • State of organization
  • Registered agent’s name and office address (not po box address)
  • Annual reports information.

Additionally, you’ll have access to view history and documents with regard to business filings.

You may also request a Certificate of Good Standing.

Copies of documents and certificates

After you’ve conducted your name search, you may want to obtain copies of business documents.

To view or print documents available online, adhere to the following steps:

  • Visit the business entity name search page
  • Enter the name of the business or the business’s ID number
  • Click on the “View Records” button from the search results displayed and select the “View history and documents” tab
  • Click the icon on the documents to view and print the relevant business documents

Alternatively, you may order copies of business documents via mail. The fee is $1 per page when requested by mail.

When it comes to certified copies, the fee is $15 plus the additional $1 per page fee. You’ll need to complete the Copy Order Form and have it mailed along with the necessary fees to:

Office of the Secretary of State
Business Services Division
120 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, KS 66612

Fax: 785-296-4570

You may also request a Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of State. The certificate verifies that a business is in good standing due to meeting its filing requirements with the state.

The Certificate of Good Standing is available directly from the Department of State’s office and may be printed from their website. The certificate includes an authentication code that verifies that the certificate is indeed true and valid. The fee for a Certificate of Good Standing is $10.

If you’d like to order the Certificate of Good Standing via mail, then complete the Copy Order Request Form available at Filings and Forms – Business Entities. The fee when requesting the certificate by mail is $15.

So you’ll need to mail the Copy Order Form along with payment to:

Office of the Secretary of State
Business Services Division
120 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, KS 66612

Fax: 785-296-4570

Business name availability

The name search database is not intended to verify whether a specific entity name is available or not. However, it will give you an indication of how many businesses are registered with your preferred name.

Therefore, the search is also useful for generating ideas and sparking your creativity when it comes to considering alternative names.

However, when it comes to “name availability status,” you should refer to the Kansas Business Filing Center at https://www.kansas.gov/businesscenter/index.html.

Enter your preferred business name and click “Search.”

If the name is already registered, you’ll see a notice stating that the name is “not available.”

If the name is available for business registration, you’ll see a notice in green stating that the name ” is available.”

If you’re not quite ready to go ahead or complete the business registration process, then you can reserve the name for a $30 fee. A name reservation is not a state requirement for forming a new business; however, it’s an option that’s available to the public who need additional time to complete the necessary paperwork.

When it comes to name reservations, they are valid for 120 days thereafter; if you have not filed the name, it will be released for public use.

While on the same page, you have the option to reserve the available name by clicking on the “Reserve this Name” button.

You may also click on the name availability guidelines link for additional tips and guidance on choosing a name for your Kansas-based business.

Domain name availability

After confirming the availability of your preferred company name, you’ll still need to decide on a domain name. Domain names are priceless when it comes to establishing your brand online.

A domain name is a tool that points people to your website, where they can view your products and services. So it is a valuable marketing tool in the age of the Internet.

In days gone by, it was much easier to register the domain name of your choice. However, nowadays, billions of websites exist, so it’s much harder to find an available domain name.

One of the best ways to search for available domain names is to use a professional domain checking service like namechk.com. Not only will the service filter available domain names, but it will also offer suggestions and alternatives in the event that your preferred domain name is not available.

However, the instant you come across an available domain name, it is recommended that you register it immediately, or else there’s a possibility that it may be gone when you search the next time around.

Fictitious business name search

If you are planning on forming a business but would like to operate under various other names aside from your legal entity name, then it’s advisable to register a DBA. DBA is an abbreviation for “doing business as” name.

This doesn’t necessarily apply to partnerships and sole proprietorships, as the entity name is the actual name of the partners or owners. However, if you are forming a corporation or limited liability company, then this option is recommended.

However, unlike other states, Kansas has no formal process for registering an assumed, fictitious, or trade name at the state level. Therefore, this process usually occurs at the county or local level. It is also up to each county to determine whether or not a DBA filing is indeed required.

So you should consult the government authorities in your county or the county clerk to confirm if filing an assumed name is beneficial to your business or even necessary for your business.

As mentioned earlier, you can conduct a DBA name search on the Department of state business database to determine whether or not the proposed DBA is available.

As mentioned earlier, there are no specific forms you need to complete, and for further information on the registration process, you must contact your local county clerk.


How should I keep my business in good standing?

Some of the things you can do to keep your business in good standing with the state are to file your annual reports o time and pay the relevant fees and taxes. Additionally, you must regularly update changes to your registered agent’s details and keep accurate financial and corporate records.

What is the meaning of “doing business as”?

A “doing business as” name is often referred to as a DBA, trade, assumed, or fictitious name. Companies or organizations that plan on conducting business under any other name aside from the legal entity name will need to register “doing business as” names to transact under the fictitious names legally.

What is the Uniform Commercial Code and why is it necessary?

The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC establishes the purpose, general outline, and objectives of the code. It is more of state law and not federal law; however, it’s essential for regulating interstate transactions of a business. It’s also responsible for regulating the sale or transfer of property between states.

Can I use the Kansas entity search database to look up for-profit corporations and nonprofits?

Yes, you may use the business registry to look up various types of business structures, including for-profit corporations and nonprofit corporations. However, the database cannot be used to look up sole proprietorships or fictitious, trade, and assumed names.

How do I check if my preferred business name is available in Kansas?

The best way to find out if your preferred name is still available in the state is to conduct a quick entity search on the Kansas Business Center website. The box that you see on the right-hand side of the webpage may be used to get a quick answer. Simply enter the name you want to look up and click on the search button.

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