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

Last updated: March 19th, 2024
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If you’re thinking of starting a business in the state of Minnesota, you’ll need to determine whether your desired business name is available.

The Minnesota Secretary of State Business Search Portal is a helpful tool when it comes to checking the availability of an entity name in the state, as well as looking up business information and ordering business documents.

This step-by-step guide will show you how to perform a Minnesota business entity search.

Minnesota search tips

When searching for a business in Minnesota, use the following tips to get the best results:

  • When adding spaces to names, each space counts as a character. Sorting is done by spaces, followed by numbers and then letters.
  • Punctuation is considered equivalent to spaces between letters
  • The search results may state that 500 records are found; however, not all may be displayed. To achieve better results, you may redefine your search criteria or search type. You may also place an order for bulk business data.
  • For best results, type in only the first portion that the name starts with.
  • The search is not case-sensitive.

The Minnesota Business Search Portal, also known as the business filings online page allows you to search for registered businesses via the following search types:

  • Business name
  • File number

Business search by name

Refer to the Minnesota Business Search page to begin searching for registered businesses in the state.

Enter the business entity name

Select the business name option and enter the name of the entity you are searching for.

Then click on the “Search” button.

You may narrow down your results by refining your search using the following options:

  • Begins with
  • Contains
  • Active
  • Inactive
  • Exclude
  • Include

Review the results

After entering the name of the business, and if matching results are found, it will be displayed under the search results.

On this page, you’ll have access to the business name, business status, business type, and name type.

Review additional business information

If further information is required, simply click on the “Details” button to take you to the summary page.

Here, you’ll have access to the organization name, type, file number and renewal date, etc.

Business search by file number

While on the same page, select the file number.

Enter the file number

Enter the file number into the search bar and click search.

Review the results

In this case, when using the search by file number option, there should only be one entry that comes up. This is primarily because every business has a unique file number.

Review additional business information

As with the business search by name, simply click on the “Details” button next to the business name to access more information about it. You’ll be able to view all of the same information you did when you searched using the name of the business.

Minnesota search results

When you click on the name of the entity, it will take you to the business summary page that will display the following information:

  • Entity name
  • Type
  • File number
  • Filing date
  • Renewal due date
  • Registered agent or service of process agent
  • Home jurisdiction
  • Status
  • Registered office address
  • Filing history

Additionally, you’ll find a few tabs at the top of the search results that allow you to complete a few tasks like:

  • Ordering certificates
  • Filing amendments or renewals
  • Ordering copies of business documents

Copies of documents and certificates

After completing your business entity search, you may want to order copies of business documents from the Minnesota SOS or Minnesota.gov.

Certificate copies are sent electronically, and certificates are issued promptly once payment is received. Some copies may, however, take between 7 to 10 days.

If you’d like to order copies of business documents, follow the steps below:

  • Go to the business filings online page to get started
  • Next, search the business database under the “Search business filings” section. The search may be performed using the business name or file number issued by the Department of State’s office.
  • When searching by file number, select the file number option prior to entering the file number.
  • It should also be noted that punctuation marks in company names are not required when searching for organization names.

Below the search bar, you’ll see some additional search tools to help you find the registration in the system. These tools include the following:

  1. Search scope
  2. Filing status
  3. Include prior names
  • Next, you need to go to “Business record details” once you locate the business registration you are looking up. When you click on the word “Details,” you’ll have access to the entity’s summary page.
  • Next, click the box that says “Order copies” found at the top of the page and go to the “Business filing” history.
  • Determine the filings that you’d like to order and check the box next to the corresponding business document.
  • Next, select the option that says “Order selected copies.”
  • You’ll then be required to select whether you want certified or uncertified copies.
  • Enter your delivery information.

You may also follow the steps above to order a Certificate of Status online.

All checks should be payable to the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Business name availability

You should note that even if a name does not appear in the search results, there’s no guarantee that it will be available when filing. Only the Secretary of State’s office will be able to determine if the chosen name can be registered or not.

Therefore, it is recommended that you have a few alternatives aside from your desired company name.

Additionally, like every other state, Minnesota has naming guidelines. So ensure that you read them to ensure that your name is approved or accepted at the time of business registration.

In the event that your chosen name is available for use, but you are not quite ready to begin the formation process, you may opt for a name reservation.

The state of Minnesota allows you to reserve a name until you’re ready to initiate the business registration process.

Once you’ve determined that the name is indeed available, you can go ahead and file a name reservation application by logging into the Business and Lien system. You may also reserve a name via mail or in person by using the Request for Name Reservation Form.

The form should contain the following information:

  • Name to be reserved
  • Signature of the authorized person or agent
  • Applicant’s name and street address
  • Contact information such as name, email address, and phone number

A Minnesota name reservation will cost $35 via mail, and when filing in-personal or online, you will need to pay a $45 filing fee.

Domain name availability

Domain names help the public remember websites and also act as a representation of your company and brand. Therefore, a web address is just as important as the company it is associated with. In a nutshell, domain names are highly valuable assets and an essential part of the business formation process.

With millions of websites online, it can be difficult to find and secure your preferred domain name.

This is why you should use a professional domain checking service like Namechk.com.

This professional service checks 36 different domain impossibilities and over 100 social media websites and online platforms. Some of the social networks that are checked include:

  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • PayPal
  • WordPress
  • YouTube
  • Yelp

Namechk.com checks against 36 domains and more than 90 social media platforms. Therefore, by using the service, you can check the availability of either a username or domain name within seconds.

Additionally, Namechk.com also filters your search options and recommends alternatives in the event that your preferred domain name is unavailable.

Fictitious business name search

If you plan on operating under any other name aside from your legal business name, it’s recommended that you register a DBA. A DBA is also known as a “doing business as,” fictitious, assumed, or trade name in the state.

You’ll need to conduct a search or business entity search to ensure that the DBA is available for registration.

Once you’ve determined that the name is available, you can go ahead and file online or via mail with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

You’ll need to complete and file the Certificate of Assumed Name Form. It needs to include the following information:

  • The assumed name
  • The address of the principal place of business
  • The names and addresses of all owners of the assumed name

If you’d prefer to submit the form via mail, you can do so to the following address:

Minnesota Secretary of State – Business Services
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN 55103


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