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. Pursuant to §59.1-69 of the Code of Virginia, no person, partnership, limited liability company or corporation may 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.
Businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission may file a Trade Name at the local level if they are 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 General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Foreign Limited Partnership, Corporation or Limited Liability Company. You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney concerning the protection of your business trade name. A trade name filed at the local level does not have the same status as one filed with the State Corporation Commission.
Businesses registered with a 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 that 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 purpose of service of process.
To avoid duplication of a business name it is recommended that the owner review the Trade Name index in the Court Public Access Network (CPAN) for names already recorded. The index may be researched on public computer terminals at the Fairfax County Courthouse in the Public Service office on the 1st floor (Suite 116) or the Land Records Research Room on the 3rd floor. The Research Room is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Access to CPAN is also available via the web by paid subscription.
Important Names and Numbers for New Businesses in Virginia
The Virginia State Corporation Commission
Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration
Virginia Department of Taxation
Instructions to Register a Trade Name
- Complete the appropriate application in black ink only.
- Have all signatures notarized.
- The Fictitious Trade Name certificate must be signed by the owner(s) of the business before a Notary Public or Deputy Clerk.
- A certificate for registration of a partnership must be signed by all partners.
- A certificate for registration for a business registered with the State Corporation Commission must be signed by an officer of the Corporation, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, or Limited Liability Company.
- If filing by mail, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your certified copy. If a self addressed, stamped envelope is not enclosed you will not receive a certified copy of your registered Trade Name.
- The cost to file a Fictitious Trade Name is $10.00. Cash, in-state business check, certified check, or a money order is an acceptable form of payment. Make checks payable to the Clerk of the Court. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted (with a 4% processing fee) if filing in person. Please do not send cash through the mail. The Clerk's Office is not responsible for loss of any cash payment by mail.
- Please include your telephone number on your check or money order.
- Mail completed forms and payment to:
Fairfax Circuit Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road Suite 116
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
ATTN: Trade Names
Hours for filing a Trade Name are 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you have any questions call the Circuit Court Clerk's office at 703-691-7320. Press 3, 4 (TTY 711).
There are five types of Fictitious Trade Name Applications:
- Individual/Sole Proprietorship (one owner) - Individual Trade Name Application
- Partnership - Partnership Trade Name Application
- Corporation - Corporation Trade Name Application
- Limited Partnership - Limited Partnership Trade Name Application
- Limited Liability Company - LLC Trade Name Application
There are two types of dissolution of Fictitious Trade Name Applications:
- Dissolution of a business for an Individual or Partnership - Dissolution of Business Application CCR 154
- Dissolution of a Corporation, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, or Limited Liability Company - Dissolution of Business SCC Application
Virginia Code Sections Pertaining to Trade Names:
§59.1-69, §59.1-70, §59.1-74