Assumed & Fictitious Names (Business Names)


No person, partnership, limited liability company or corporation shall conduct or transact business in the Commonwealth under any assumed or fictitious name, until they file a certificate in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the county or city in which their business is conducted, pursuant to VA Code Section 59.1-69. A fictitious trade name is required if a business is conducted in Virginia under a name other than the owner’s legal name. An assumed or fictitious name certificate must be filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in each county or city where business is to be conducted.

Businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission may file a Trade Name at the local level if it is conducting business under a different name other than the name that is registered with the State Corporation Commission. If you are conducting business under the name registered with the State Corporation Commission, you are not required to file a trade name on the county level. The types of businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission are corporations, limited liability companies, general partnerships, limited partnerships, and foreign limited partnerships.

Businesses registered with the Foreign State Corporation Commission must register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond as a foreign corporation before registering a trade name on the county level. All persons who register a trade name who do not reside in the Commonwealth are required to provide the name, address and phone number of a Virginia registered agent for purposes of service of process.

To avoid duplication of a trade name, it is recommended that the owner review the General Miscellaneous Index in the Record Room for names already recorded. The index may be researched on the public computer terminals in the Circuit Court Record Room.

How to Register an Assumed or Fictitious Name

Complete the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name form

The signature must be notarized by a notary OR deputy clerk in the Clerk’s Office
  1. The Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name must be signed by the owner or owners of the business before the notary or deputy clerk.
  2. A certificate of registration of a partnership must be signed by all of the partners.
  3. A certificate for registration for a business registered with the State Corporation Commission must be signed by an officer of the Corporation, Limited Liability Company, General Partnership, or Limited Partnership.
The cost to file an Assumed or Fictitious Name is $15 and includes 2 certified copes. Cash, certified check, money order, business checks or credit card are acceptable forms of payment. Checks should be payable to the Clerk of Court. Please include your telephone number on your check or money order.

If you file by mail, you must enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your copy or certified copy of your registered trade name.

Mail completed forms, payment, and return envelope to the Williamsburg/James City County Circuit Court Clerk's Office.

Dissolution of a Business Name

For a dissolution of a business name, please complete the Certificate of Dissolution of a Business Name form, specifying whether it is a dissolution of a business for an individual or partnership, or a dissolution of a corporation, general partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability company.

Useful Names and Contact Information for New Businesses in Virginia

The Virginia State Corporation Commission: 1-804-371-9733, 1300 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Virginia Department of Taxation: 1-804-367-8031, 1957 Westmoreland Street, Richmond, VA 23230

Internal Revenue Service: 1-800-829-1040, 400 North 8th Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Disclaimer: Please note that this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.