Fictitious Names

A Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name is required if a business is conducted in Virginia under a name other than the owner's legal name. This certificate must be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in each county or city where business is to be conducted. No person, partnership, limited liability company or corporation may conduct or transact business in the Commonwealth under any assumed or fictitious name until they file a certificate in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office in the county or city in which their business is conducted pursuant to §59.1-69 of the Code of Virginia.

Name Recording

Before applying for a business license through the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue, business owners must first obtain approval from Gloucester County Codes and Compliance and record 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 same corporate name.

Instructions for Filing Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name

  • Complete Certificate of Assumed Name (PDF).
  • All signatures must be acknowledged before a notary or deputy clerk. If there is a partnership, then all partners must sign a certificate of assumed name filed on behalf of a partnership.
  • Provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope so that the filed certificate and any certified copies requested can be returned to you.
  • The filing fee is $10. Checks and money orders should be made payable to Gloucester County Circuit Court Clerk. If you want a certified copy of the certificate for filing with the State Corporation Commission, add $2.50. Mail the complete certificate and payment along with a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the certificate to:
    Gloucester Circuit Court Clerk’s Office
    7400 Justice Drive
    Room 327
    Gloucester, VA 23061
  • Hand deliveries are made at the same location on the 3rd floor.

Note: Prior to filing your certificate, you may wish to check the assumed or fictitious name index in the Public Record’s Room of the Clerk’s Office to determine if the trade name that you selected is already in use.