Fictitious Names

Do you want to file a fictitious name? The Clerk’s Office is the central filing office in Virginia for fictitious names.

File online through the Clerk's Information System (CIS).

A fictitious name is a name that a person or business uses instead of their legal name.  

Fictitious names are also referred to as assumed names, “t/a” (trading as), “dba” (doing business as) or “aka” (also known as”).
Fictitious names, unlike business entity names, do not have to be unique, nor do they have any wording restrictions.

Your fictitious name does not have to include a designator such as: Corp, LLC, Inc.
Using a fictitious name without making the required filing could cause you to be convicted of a misdemeanor, a fine not more than $2500, jail time or both. Also, you may not maintain an action in any courts of the Commonwealth.
Requirements for filing a fictitious name:
Is your business on file with the Commission? If it is, CIS will link the fictitious name to your business.

If your fictitious name is not associated with a business on record (like a sole proprietorship) then the fictitious name is associated with the applicant for the certificate.

The fee for filing a copy of the certificate with the Commission is $10.  


You will receive a Fictitious Name receipt once you’ve filed your Fictitious Name.

You may request a certified copy of your Fictitious Name receipt online using the Clerk's Information System (CIS) or request a Certificate of Fact of Fictitious Name in writing from the Office of the Clerk. The filing fee is $6.

Office of the Clerk
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, Virginia 23218

Physical Address
Office of the Clerk
1st floor
1300 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Yes. The Clerk’s Office is the central filing office for all certificates of assumed or fictitious names. This includes sole proprietorships, general partnerships or trusts and registered businesses.
Yes. The Commission does not have the authority to decide who has the right to use a fictitious name.

If you have questions about who has the right to use a fictitious name, or if a fictitious name conflicts with another, we advise that you speak with an attorney.

For information regarding the availability of a business entity name, see Business Entity Names FAQs.

Yes. You may release the name by filing a certificate of release in the Office of the Clerk.  The filing can be made online through the CIS, or via paper form, which can be found on the SCC’s Forms & Fees page.

When you no longer want to do business in Virginia under an assumed or fictitious name that is on file with a circuit court, the name may be released by filing a certificate of release with the Clerk of Court.  This filing is not available online. You may complete the “Certificate of Release of Assumed or Fictitious Name on File in a Circuit Court” form and file the form at the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

The fee to file the certificate of release with the clerk’s Office of the Commission or Clerk of the Circuit Court is $10.