County of San Diego

ASSESSOR | RECORDER | COUNTY CLERK

Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.

Fictitious Business Name


Any person who regularly transacts business for profit under a fictitious name in the County of San Diego is required to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County Clerk within 40 days of first transacting business.

An FBN Statement can only be filed in person or by mail because an original, wet-ink signature is required. Because of its importance, we strongly recommend registrants file IN PERSON.


What is an FBN?

A Fictitious Business Name (FBN) is a business name that does not include the surname of the individual owner and/or EACH of the partners, or the nature of the business is not clearly evident by the name. For example, doing business under a name like:

“Eisenberg & Yandall Associates” or “Eisenberg & Yandall Sons”

would require an FBN to be registered. Even though the surname of the owner is stated, the words following the surname suggest other owners that are not specifically named.

However, doing business under a name like:

“Teresa Fiske Plumbing”

would not require an FBN to be registered because the owner (Teresa Fiske) is conducting business under her legal name.

For Corporations or Limited Liability Corporations, a Fictitious Business Name is ANY name OTHER than the EXACT corporate name as stated in the Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State.

Instructions before you file: 

  • The registrant is responsible for searching the business name availability before filing an FBN Statement. 

  • When filling out the form, print clearly in BLACK or BLUE INK with NO WHITEOUT. Strikeouts are acceptable if accompanied with initials.

  • Our office cannot provide advice regarding a name that can or cannot be used, except as provided in B&P Code 17910.5(a) and (c).

  • Our office cannot provide assistance in determining how a business is to be conducted. 

  • After the FBN Statement has been filed with the County Clerk, the registrant is required to publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation within 30 days from the filing date. The notice is to appear once a week for four consecutive weeks. Please give the newspaper adequate time to prepare the notice. We will provide a newspaper list. 

  • After the FBN Statement has been filed, we cannot give refunds. 

  • After the FBN Statement has been filed, no changes can be made to the filing. Any changes or corrections will require a new filing and filing fee. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Keep in mind: 

Although registration of an FBN is required, the County Clerk’s office serves ONLY as the central depository of these names, neither approving nor disapproving a particular name, and CANNOT accept responsibility for omissions, similarities, or duplications among the FBNs on file.

FBNs are filed only in the county where the business is located. Statewide registries do not exist. All prospective registrants are cautioned that registration of a fictitious name DOES NOT guarantee exclusive use of that name.

To determine if a particular business name is currently registered or to research the name of the owner(s) of a particular business, you may conduct an FBN Records Search in person or online, or request the information by mail for a fee. 

How to file:

Conduct an FBN Records Search to ensure the name you intend to file is not already registered. 

Review the instructions before filing. (See General Info tab)

Complete the FBN Statement application:

  • Online (Recommended)
    Submit electronically and take note of your Transaction Summary information, such as Kiosk number, for your office visit.

  • Printable
    Print and sign the FBN Statement to bring to your office visit.

  • In person
    Applications are available at our offices to complete and submit.

Valid government-issued photo ID is required for all in-person submissions, including for third parties and authorized agents filing on behalf of the registrant.

Fees:

  • $42 for the first business name and registrant
  • $5 for each additional business name or registrant 

Fees are payable by cash, check or money order, or credit/debit card.
An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Locations:

You can register an FBN at any of our available office locations linked below. Appointments are not necessary.

How to file:

Conduct an FBN Records Search to ensure the name you intend to file is not already registered. 

Review the instructions before filing. (See General Info tab)

Complete the FBN Statement:

  • Online (Recommended)
    Complete electronically and print to provide an original, wet-ink signature before mailing.

  • Printable
    Print to complete and sign for mailing.

Mail to: 

Send completed application with check or money order to:

San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
ATTN: FBN
P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112-1750 

Fees: 

  • $42 for the first business name and registrant
  • $5 for each additional business name or registrant

Fees are payable by check or money order only, when requesting by mail.

Payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Do not send cash by mail.

Order copies of filed FBN Statements online:

Conduct an FBN Records Search online, then add selected filings to the cart. This service requires the creation of an account. Be sure the address on your account profile (not just the billing page) is the correct shipping address you wish to receive the copy. Online orders are printed the following business day and sent via regular mail. Please allow 3 to 5 business days for delivery.

Order copies of filed FBN Statements by mail:

Submit a request by mail and provide the EXACT business name and, if applicable, the registrant name. Payment must be made by check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk. Do not send cash by mail. Please allow 7 to 10 business days to receive the copy.

Mail your request with check or money order to:

San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
ATTN: FBN
P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112-1750

Order copies of filed FBN Statements in person: 

You can request copies at any of our available office locations linked below. Appointments are not necessary.

Fees: 

  • $2 for the first page and $0.05 for each additional page
  • $1 for certification of copies, per filing

Fees are payable by cash (in person only), check or money order (in person or by mail), or credit/debit card (in person or online). An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Search online:

Conduct an FBN Records Search to ensure the name you intend to file is not already registered. 

You may also use the site to order copies of FBN Statements to be mailed to you.

Request a search by mail:

County Clerk staff can conduct an FBN Records Search on your behalf for a fee. Submit a request by mail and provide the EXACT business name and, if applicable, the registrant name. Please allow 7 to 10 business days to receive the search results.

Mail your request with check or money order to:

San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
ATTN: Vital Records
P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112-1750 

Fees:

$8 for staff-conducted FBN Records Search.

Fee is payable by check or money order only, when requesting by mail.

Payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Do not send cash by mail.

Appointments are not necessary. See our available office locations for hours of operation. 

The process to renew a Fictitious Business Name is the same as filing a new one. 

If there are no changes to the original filing and it is renewed within 40 days of the expiration date, there is no need to publish.

If there are any changes to the original filing, publication will be required. 

Updating, changing, or correcting any information on an active FBN Statement would require you to file a new statement, pay the appropriate fees, and publish in the newspaper.

Any person who regularly transacts business for profit under a fictitious business name must file a Fictitious Business Name Statement.​

All new filings must be published. A list of approved newspapers will be provided at the time of filing, or you can find this in the Forms tab.

For renewals only: If there are no changes to the original filing and it is renewed within 40 days of the expiration date, there is no need to publish.

Yes, a fictitious business name expires in 5 years. Additionally, if a business address or the ownership changes, the statement expires and a new one with the current information must be filed. 

Upon ceasing to transact business under a fictitious business name that was filed in the previous five years, the registrant shall file an FBN Statement of Abandonment. (B&P Code 17922)

When filing an FBN Statement of Abandonment, you must pay the appropriate fees and publish in the newspaper. 

If the FBN Statement has already expired (reached its 5-year expiration), there is no need to file an FBN Statement of Abandonment.

Upon withdrawing as a general partner of a partnership that conducts business under a fictitious business name, the registrant may file an FBN Statement of Withdrawal from Partnership. (B&P Code 17923)

When filing an FBN Statement of Withdrawal, you must pay the appropriate fees and publish in the newspaper.

The withdrawal of a general partner does not cause an FBN Statement to expire if the withdrawing partner files a Statement of Withdrawal meeting the requirements of B&P Code 17923.

Conduct an FBN Records Search by name or filing number. If the POP was filed, it will show in Document Details under "Proofs of Publication" with a hyperlink to the filing.

An Affidavit of Identity is no longer required. 

If filing in person, valid government-issued photo ID is required. If a third party or authorized agent is filing, they must present their own valid government-issued photo ID. A copy of the registrant's ID is not required. 

If filing by mail, a copy of the ID is not required. A notary acknowledgement is also not required. We need the original FBN Statement with an original, wet-ink signature and payment.