How to File an Alabama DBA (Doing Business As) – DBA AL Guide [2022]

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Whether you are acquiring a trading name/DBA for branding purposes, or wish to separate your personal name from your sole proprietorship, filing a DBA in Alabama is very easy. We make this process easier with our 3-step DBA guide.

Important! Please keep in mind that DBA is not a business structure, so it won’t protect you from liabilities, lawsuits, or any other unforeseen situations. DBA stands for Doing Business As. – often precedes the name under which a business operates, which is not the legal name of the business.

Therefore, before starting, make sure you understand the difference between informal business structures such as sole proprietorship and formal ones like corporations and LLCs.

To register or renew the trademark, trade name, or service mark for your company in Alabama you need to file the application to the Secretary of State. Here is what you need to do:

Alabama Business Entity Search

Your company’s trade name should be unique and have not been acquired by any other entity in Alabama. Moreover, this name must also meet the business name requirements of Alabama.

First, go to the Business Entity Search section of the Alabama Secretary of State’s website and search for the DBA that you wish to have for your business. Here, make sure, this name isn’t already in use.

Note: You can also find a complete guide on business name search here.

Once you are done searching, the next step is to review the naming requirements of the state of Alabama. Your DBA should not include:

  • Words that are commonly used by a government agency such as Treasury, FBI, State Department, etc.
  • Words related to banking or insurance. If your work is somewhat related to banking or insurance, you will be needing a letter from the Alabama Banking Commissioner’s Office or Alabama Insurance Commissioner’s Office respectively to use the related words in your trade name.
  • Words indicating or implying that your company is engaged in an unauthorized business by law to pursue.
  • Words related to professional designation (i.e., engineering, consultant, attorney). To include such prefixes or suffixes, you will need a copy of the license of one of your company’s officers or members. If not possible, you must acquire a letter from the governing agency allowing the use of such a name without licensing.

Specimen of DBA Usage in Alabama 

The state of Alabama made it mandatory that before you can register a trading name, you have already operated under that name. Therefore, to protect and register a DBA in Alabama, you must start using it right away.

Three of the following “specimens” of trade name usage will be required by the government of Alabama to process your trade name request:

  • Flyers
  • Business Cards
  • Labels
  • Brochures
  • Decals

Specimens must be readable and unaltered. In the trade name application, you will be asked when and where you used the trade name for the first time in any state and specifically in Alabama. Therefore, it is crucial to keep track of such things.

Register Your Alabama DBA ($30)

You can file Alabama DBA online or download the Alabama trade name form and submit it to the Secretary of State in-person or through mail at the following address: 

Mailing Address:

State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State,
Trademarks Division,
P.O. Box 5616.

Submit In-Person:

State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State,
Trademarks Division,
11 South Union St., Suite 224,
Montgomery, AL 36130.

The following information must include in the Alabama trade name form:

  • Trade name’s description
  • An explanation of how the trade name will be used
  • Description of the services or products that your company will offer under that trade name
  • Date when the trade name was used for the first time
  • Name any other entity that will be authorized to use the trade name (if applicable)

Top Tip:

Instead of doing it yourself, save some time by hiring a reliable formation service like ZenBusiness. You can see editors’ Review on ZenBusiness to decide if it’s the best choice for your company.

Editor’s Insight

Filing an Alabama fictitious business name, aka an Alabama DBA (doing business as), is an easy and straightforward process. If you want to save time and effort, LLC filing companies like LegalZoom and ZenBusiness can help you get that at a fraction of the cost.

However, if you are interested in DIY, you just need to follow the above-mentioned step-by-step guide or see how to Get a DBA in any of the 50 state.

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