A DBA, short for "doing business as," is known as a fictitious name in Virginia. Using a fictitious name allows you to operate your business using something other than your given name. For example, if you'd rather call your grocery store "Family Friendly Foods" than use your name, you must register "Family Friendly Foods" as a fictitious name. Virginia law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by fines and up to a year in jail if you use a fictitious name without registering.
Go to the Circuit Court Forms page of the Virginia's Judicial System website and download the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name (link in Resources). You can print a blank form and fill it out by hand or fill it out on the computer before printing it.
Read More: How to Add DBA to an LLC
Complete the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name form. In general, you must provide your name and contact information, the name of your company and contact information, and the desired fictitious name. Your signature must be notarized. If you have a partnership, all of the partners need to sign the form in the presence of a notary.
Submit the completed form and the required filing fee to the local circuit court clerk's office to complete your local registration. Though state law requires that you register, the local circuit court handles the registrations for each area. You can find the particulars for your local circuit court on the "Individual Circuit Court Homepages" page on the Virginia Judicial System website.
Request a certified copy of the registration from the clerk and file it with the State Corporation Commission to complete the process if your business is a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership. Sole proprietors and general partnerships do not need to file with the State Corporation Commission.
The State Corporation Commission is located at Tyler Building, First Floor, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond VA 23219. You can also mail the certified registration form and the fee to: Post Office Box 1197, Richmond VA 23218-1197.
- Virginia State Corporation Commission: Frequently Asked Questions - Fictitious Names
- Virginia's Judicial System: Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name Instructions
- Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission: Fictitious Trade Name
- City of Alexandria Virginia: Clerk of the Court
- Hanover County: Trade Or Fictitious Name Information
- Virginia Department of Transportation: Introduction
Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."