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Delaware DBA

DBA stands for a “doing business as” name. You register DBAs in Delaware at the county level to legally do business under a different name than your legal one. Delaware calls DBAs fictitious names or trade names. DBAs in Delaware must be filed with the county by submitting a Registration of Trade, Business, & Fictitious Name Certificate for $25. Here’s what you need to know.

In this article, we'll cover:

How to Get a DBA in Delaware

In Delaware, to register your trade name or DBA with the state, you must do it at the county level where you plan on doing business. Rather than registering your DBA in the county of your business address (as is the norm for many states), you’ll have to register in each county where you do business. Luckily for you, Delaware only has three counties: Kent, New Castle, and Sussex. They all use the same form, called the Registration of Trade, Business, & Fictitious Name Certificate. If you do business in each county, you’ll need to register in each county. It costs $25 for each county you want to register your trade name in. Here are the steps to filing your Delaware trade name.

See if Your Trade Name is Available

Before attempting to register your trade name in Delaware, you’ll first need to make sure no other businesses are using your desired name. While Delaware doesn’t have a state-wide trade name certificate, they do have a state-wide business name search called the Delaware Trade, Business & Fictitious Name database. You’ll want to search for your potential trade name in the database to check its availability.

Along with being available, you’ll also need to follow Delaware’s requirements for trade names:

  • Do not use business identifiers like “LLC” or “Corp.” unless your business is one.
  • Do not include potentially misleading words like “bank” or “federal.”
Complete an Application to Register a Trade Name

To file your Registration of Trade, Business, & Fictitious Name Certificate with the county, you’ll need to provide your:

  • Trade name
  • County
  • Business address
  • Phone number
  • Parent company (if applicable)
  • Names of all owners, members, or partners
  • Date you started doing business
  • A brief description of your business activity

Your application must be notarized by a public notary, and the information you list will be made public on the Delaware name search database.

File the Form and Pay the Filing Fee

When you’re ready to file your trade name application in Delaware, you’ll submit the Registration of Trade, Business, & Fictitious Name Certificate and a check or money order of $25 per county to the counties where you plan on doing business. You can submit a paper form to:

Kent County:
Kent County Courthouse
Superior Court
38 The Green
Dover, DE 19901

New Castle:
Leonard L. Williams Justice Center
Superior Court
500 North King Street, Suite 500, LL1
Wilmington, DE 19801-3746

Sussex County Courthouse
Superior Court
1 The Circle, Suite 2
Georgetown, DE 19947

If you’re submitting your Registration of Trade, Business, & Fictitious Name Certificate for DBA registration in multiple counties, you’ll need to submit three forms for each county and pay $25 each (total of $75). You’ll need to submit a new application per county and per name registered in that county. For example, if you originally registered Tabby’s Cat Cafe in New Castle, then later want to register the name plus a different name in Kent County, you’ll need to submit two applications and pay $50. That’s one application for Tabby’s Cat Cafe in Kent County and another application to register Tabby’s Cuddle Corner in Kent County.

In Delaware, your trade name lasts until you terminate it with the county or counties you have it registered in by filing the Termination of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name form, which has no fee. To update or change your trade name(s), you’ll file the Registration of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name Supplemental Certificate form for $25.

Delaware DBA Vs Delaware LLC

When registering a DBA or trade name, some people think doing so is the same as starting a business, though they couldn’t be further from the truth. A trade name is simply an alternate name you do business under. An LLC is a business entity you register with the Secretary of State. Registering a DBA doesn’t form your business with the state. A DBA also doesn’t give your business liability protection. Read on to learn more.

Delaware DBA

A Delaware trade name, fictitious name, or DBA is a business name and not an actual business. Business owners register a trade name with their county in Delaware for marketing reasons or to do business under more than one name. Sole proprietors who don’t register with the state have a business name that is their first and last name, like Michael Keaton.

LLCs and corporations that do register with the state must put down a legal name with a business identifier, like Keaton’s Mask Emporium LLC. When you want to use a name other than the legal name of your business, you must register a DBA with your county.

Delaware LLC

A Delaware LLC is a business entity registered with the Secretary of State. An LLC provides liability protection and legal separation between you and your business. If an LLC is sued, your personal assets are protected and only the LLC’s assets are up for grabs.

If you have an LLC and want to use a different name than their its legal one, you can file a DBA. However, if you want liability protection, you’ll need to form a separate entity (like an LLC). We can help you form your Delaware LLC and maintain it for years to come.

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Delaware DBA FAQs

How long does it take to get a Delaware DBA?

Delaware’s average processing time for trade names is 4-5 weeks from the time the county receives the form.

What’s a fictitious business name in Delaware?

A fictitious name in Delaware is the same thing as a trade name or DBA. This isn’t the case in most states, but Delaware is just one of those states that likes to keep you on your toes.

Is getting a DBA required in Delaware?

Yes. If you are doing business under a name other than the one you filed with the state or your first and last name (if you’re a sole proprietor), you must register the name with the counties where you are using your trade name or DBA. Using a trade name in Delaware is not required, but registering one if you want to use it is required by Delaware law.

Do I need a separate bank account for my DBA?

No. Since your trade name is not a separate entity from your business, you can still use the same bank account you do for your regular business transactions. There is, however, no rule against opening a separate bank account for your DBA if you deem it necessary for your finances.

Here’s what you need to know to open a bank account with a DBA.

Do I need a separate EIN for my DBA?

No. EINs are for business entities and not business names. Multi-member LLCs, corporations, and businesses with employees all need to get an EIN. But if your business already has an EIN and you register a DBA, you don’t need a separate or new EIN.

How long does trade name registration last in Delaware?

Forever. You can cancel it by filing a Termination of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name form, which has no fee.

Can I change or update my trade name in Delaware?

Yes! Delaware allows you to file the Registration of Trade, Business & Fictitious Name Supplemental Certificate form for $25 to update a trade name registered with the county.

What’s the difference between a trade name and a trademarked name?

A trade name is another title for a DBA or fictitious name and allows businesses to do business under another name besides the one they filed on their formation documents. A trademarked name is a name you trademark with the state or federal government, which gives you legal rights to the name. Registering a trade name only prevents other businesses in Delaware from registering the same name.

While all trade names and business names registered in Delaware must be unique, registering your trade name does not legally protect it from being used by other businesses. Trade names and trademarked names are different. To legally protect your business or trade name, you’ll need to apply for a trademark in Delaware or at the federal level.

Here’s how to apply for a trademark.

How can I keep my personal information off the public record?

By hiring a Delaware registered agent to form your LLC, the registered agent will list their information on your filings instead of yours when applicable. For example, Northwest lists our name and address on the public record, shielding your personal information from the public in Delaware.

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