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How to Find Business Records in Virginia

Searching for Business Records in Virginia

In the State of Virginia, business records are maintained by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, but made accessible online by the Office of the Clerk. Below are a few tips on how to access this information.

What Records Are Maintained by the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth?

The Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth maintains records pertaining to the formation of corporations and similar business entities, as well as information pertaining to changes to these entities and current status. This information may be accessed in person or by telephone. Additionally, the Office of the Clerk offers a searchable information system through which some of this information can be accessed.

Additionally, UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings are maintained and some of this information is available online. UCC filings document security interests that one party may have in another party’s collateral.

How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth?

Virginia is one of the few states that does not yet offer a searchable online database through its Secretary of the Commonwealth website to search for information about business entities within that state. However, the business records maintained by the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth are considered to be matters of public record and will be provided for viewing to those who visit the Secretary of Commonwealth’s office, at 1111 East Broad Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219. You can also address questions to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by using an inquiry form found online at http://www.soc.state.va.us/SecInfo/InquiryForm.cfm.

Additionally, if you wish to investigate name availability in the State of Virginia or request other business entity information, you can do this by contacting the Call Center of the Clerk’s Office by telephone. The telephone number for this office is 804-371-9733. You can also call toll-free in Virginia by dialing 866-722-2551.

Both UCC filings and business entity information can be accessed online, but not through the Secretary of the Commonwealth website. Instead, begin at the website for the Office of the Clerk, Virginia State Corporation Commission, located at http://www.scc.virginia.gov/division/clk/. From this web page, select the option marked “Uniform Commercial Code.” This will take you to a page by the same title, from which you can select the option “Search Clerk’s Information System (CIS) for UCC Filings.” This will take you to a page providing information about the CIS system. Toward the bottom of the page is a button marked “Clerk’s Information System” which may be clicked to proceed to the search page.

The search page will open in a new window and provides a number of search options. Note that the searches for corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and business trusts are all separate searches. Additionally, there are separate search options for history inquiries, limited liability company (LLC) history inquiries, and business trust history inquiries. If you are not certain what category the searched-for business entity falls into, you can select the option “Name Search of All Entities” to find the business entity by name. Note that the searching system is a bit unusual. It is not possible to simply click on options you desire. Instead, after clicking on the search option, it is necessary to press the Enter key in order to proceed. If you get stuck, the F2 key may be used to return to the main menu, and the F4 key may be used as a “back button” to return to the previous screen. If you come upon a screen showing a list of items, you may use F8 to move forward through the list, and F7 to move backward through the list. Also note that there is a “Help” button to the left. Clicking this button will open up a pdf file providing additional assistance using the CIS system.

By first clicking in the box before the name of the desired business entity, and then hitting Enter, you will be taken to a page where you may choose to see a data summary for that entity, information about stock, the registered agent, officers and directors, fictitious names, registered names, old names and activity pertaining to the business entity. To view this information, first select the box in front of the name using the mouse, then hit the Enter key on the keyboard.

The search page main menu provides an option to search for UCC forms as well. This will take you to a page where you can enter a great deal of information to limit your search if you choose, including debtor name, address, dates, type and whether or not the file is active. It is not necessary to input all of this information, however. If you input only the name of the debtor and the filing type (“T” for tax liens, “F” for financial liens or “A” for all liens), the search will be performed. You will be able to view matching debtor names and the microfilm location of the image of the file. You may also use F10 and F11 to scroll left and right to view additional information, including the file date, expiration date, purge date, status, and type of lien.

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