Before applying for a business license through the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue , business owners must register the business name with the Circuit Court Clerk if the business will be operating under an assumed or fictitious name. Trade names that include the sole proprietor's last name do not need to be recorded. Trade names using only an individual's initials or any other fictitious names that differ from the actual sole proprietor, partnership, or corporate name must be recorded in the Clerk's Office. It is unnecessary to register the business name if the business will be incorporated and business will be conducted under the corporate name.
Fictitious names are recorded in the Record Room of the Circuit Court Clerk's Office. Search the existing database to see if the business name that you would like to use has already been registered.
Before registering a fictitious name, business owners are encouraged to research names already registered to ensure that the name to be registered is available. Indexes of all fictitious names on record are available in the Circuit Court Record Room.
The Clerk's Office has forms that can be used to register a business name. Although use of the Clerk's Office's form is optional, business owners preparing their own document must ensure that they provide all information required by Virginia law. Forms must be signed by the appropriate parties in the presence of a Notary Public or a Deputy Clerk. Parties appearing in the Clerk’s Office to have their signature acknowledged must present a driver’s license or comparable photo I.D. Please note that forms that are not properly executed and acknowledged cannot be recorded.
The filing fee for the fictitious name certificate is $10.00. Certified copies of the recorded certificate can be provided for an additional $2.50 each (add $.50 for each additional page if the document is more than one page in length). When submitting a fictitious name certificate through the mail, please enclose payment by check or money order and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of the recordation receipt and any copies requested.
See payment types accepted.
The Clerk's Office will issue a receipt that can then be presented to the Commissioner of the Revenue as proof that the business name has been registered.
For additional information regarding fictitious names, please call the Clerk's Office at (804) 748-1241 and ask to speak to a staff member in the Record Room.