Before applying for a business license through the city of Richmond Finance Department, 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, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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. Please note that forms that are not properly executed and acknowledged cannot be recorded.
There is a $10.00 filing fee. Certified copies are $2.50 for a one page certificate. Additional pages are fifty cents each.