how to look up a business license in california

Check California Business License Status Easily

Verifying a business license in California is important for customers, partners, or investors to ensure a business is legitimate. This guide will show you how to use the California State License Board (CSLB) and the California Secretary of State’s resources to check a business’s license.

Why Check a Business License?

Checking a business license confirms that a company is legally operating and following California’s regulations. This step helps protect you from engaging with fraudulent businesses.

Steps to Look Up a Business License

To confirm a business’s legitimacy in California, use the CSLB and the California Secretary of State’s websites. Here’s how:

Using the CSLB Website

  1. Go to the CSLB website.
  2. Use the search bar to enter the contractor’s license number or business name.
  3. Click ‘search’ to view the license status and other details.

The CSLB site provides information on license status, expiration, disciplinary actions, and complaints.

Using the California Secretary of State’s Website

  1. Visit the Secretary of State’s website.
  2. Use the business entity search feature.
  3. Enter the entity name, number, or agent for service of process.
  4. Click ‘search’ to find the business license information.

This site offers details on corporate, LLC, and partnership entities, including names, numbers, and filing statuses.

Registering a Business in California

To start a business in California, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a business structure (partnership, LLC, or corporation).
  2. Register with the California Secretary of State.
  3. Get a seller’s permit if selling tangible goods.
  4. Register as an employer with the Employment Development Department if hiring employees.
  5. Check for local permits or licenses.

Getting Copies of Business Licenses

For a copy of your business license:

  • Contact the issuing government office.
  • Use the California Secretary of State’s online services for certified copies and certificates of status.


Checking a business license in California is straightforward with the right resources. Use the CSLB and Secretary of State’s websites to verify a business’s status. Understand registration requirements and how to obtain copies of licenses to ensure your business complies with state regulations. Always verify a business license before any transactions to protect yourself.

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