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North Dakota DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

North Dakota DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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North Dakota DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in North Dakota under a name other than your own, you will need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a North Dakota DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called a Trade Name. 

To see if you need to register for a North Dakota Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in North Dakota

Who needs to register for a North Dakota Trade Name?

The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary depending on the type of business structure, and more information is provided in North Dakota state statutes.1

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common business structures to register for a North Dakota DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name, but if the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Trade Name registration.

The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering. For example, if Shelia Smith starts a business sharpening knives but doesn’t use a business name, she doesn’t have to register. However, if Shelia decides to name her business Shelia’s Sharpening Services, she will need to register.

Related: How to start a sole proprietorship in North Dakota

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for a North Dakota DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a North Dakota corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a North Dakota Trade Name?

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another business in North Dakota unless the current name holder agrees. If the name is being used or is similar to another registered name, a “consent to use of name” can be requested from the currently registered business.  There is a $10 filing fee that applies.

To find out if the name you want is available, you can do a North Dakota business name search on the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website. 

Step 2: Fill out the Trade Name Form

To register, file online through the Secretary of State’s FirstStop website or download the Trade Name Registration Form (SFN-13401).

Questions on the form ask for:

  • Trade Name to be registered
  • Address of the principal place of business
  • What the business does
  • Type of business entity
  • The name, Social Security Number, and address of the owner(s)

Step 3: Submit the Form

Submit the filing fee and form. If filing by mail, send to:

Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
606 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108
Bismarck, ND 58505-0500

or by fax to: 701-328-2992

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at 800-352-0867 (option 3)

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

North Dakota DBA FAQs

How much does a North Dakota Trade Name cost?

The filing fee to register a Trade Name in North Dakota is $25.

To keep a Trade Name active, it must be renewed every five years from the initial date of registration.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a North Dakota DBA?

DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking unless the business is licensed to provide those services.  

Also, a name can’t include entity designators such as Incorporation, Corp, Limited Liability Company, LLC, etc.

Can someone use my business name after I register the Trade Name?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in the state of North Dakota, it does very little to stop someone else from operating that business name in other states. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.

Related: How to trademark a business name

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in North Dakota

What is the difference between a North Dakota Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the North Dakota Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in North Dakota?


  1. North Dakota Century Code Section 47-25-01. ↩︎


  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

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North Dakota DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

North Dakota DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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