How to reserve a company name

The steps you take

Reserving a company name is the first step you take to incorporate a new company or when you change a company name on the Companies Register. You can reserve your company name online in a few simple steps. 

1. Check if the company name is available

The first step in reserving a company name is to check it's available on the Companies Register. It also pays to do a thorough check to ensure it meets all of our criteria for a suitable name.

OneCheck is a service that searches, company names, trademarks and domain names.

You can also search:

  • the internet, and telephone or trade directories — this helps you avoid using a name that's similar to another business in your area or in the same kind of business as you
  • the trade marks register on the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) site — so you can check the company name won't infringe a registered or pending trade mark
  • the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) register — to check if another company, public sector entity, person, partnership or trust is registered with a similar name in New Zealand.

If your company name is rejected you’ll need to complete a new reservation and pay an additional fee of $10 (plus GST).

If you’re reserving a name for an overseas company, it must be identical to the name of the company registered in the company’s home country.

2. Apply to reserve a company name online

Whether you’re applying for a name so you can incorporate a company or change the name of an existing company, the process is the same. It costs $10 (plus GST) to reserve a name online.

To reserve a company name, you must have:

  • a RealMe® login
  • an online services account with the Companies Register.

Follow these steps.

  1. Select the Entity type — for example, a New Zealand Limited Company or Overseas ASIC company.
  2. Enter the company name you’d like to reserve. The name of a limited liability company must end in Limited or Tapui Limited.
  3. Select the Auto check button before submitting your application — this step shouldn’t replace your search of the register to check if your name is available.
  4. Upload any supporting documents — for example, if you have written approval to use a restricted word.
  5. Choose a payment option and enter the email address you would like the tax invoice sent to.
  6. Select Continue to process the payment. Confirmation of your payment will appear on screen and a tax invoice will be emailed to you.
  7. Select Continue.
Reserve a company name

3. How we process your application

When you submit your application to reserve a company name we’ll check that it isn’t offensive, restricted, identical or almost identical to any other name on the Companies Register.

We process applications submitted during normal business hours within 2 hours, otherwise we'll process it on the next business day. Our business hours are 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

When we've completed your name reservation, you’ll receive an email confirmation giving you 20 days to incorporate your company or change its name before the reservation expires. If your choice of name is rejected, we’ll tell you why it was refused.

Viewing your application online

You can also check your application's progress by selecting My Unfinished Business on your personal dashboard.

If you need more time

If you’re running out of time, on either the 19th or the 20th working day after you reserved the name, you can extend your name reservation. This gives you another 20 working days to incorporate or change your company name, but you must pay an additional application fee of $10 (plus GST).

To extend your company name reservation you must:

  • have an online services account with the Companies Register, and
  • be the person who reserved the name or a member of the organisation, if reserved by an organisation.

Log in and follow these steps.

  1. Look under My unfinished business to find the company names you've reserved.
  2. From the list provided​, select the name reservation you wish to extend and choose Continue.
  3. When prompted, answer Yes to Extend pre-Incorporation so you can withdraw and re-submit the name reservation to extend it for another 20 working days.
  4. Choose the appropriate payment option — direct debit, credit card or debit card — and enter the email address you would like the tax invoice sent to.
  5. Select Continue to process the payment. Confirmation of your payment will appear on screen and a tax invoice will be emailed to you.
  6. Select Continue.

A pop-up screen appears confirming that you've successfully reserved the company name for a further 20 working days. We send you an email confirming the new reservation details.

If someone else is going to incorporate the company

If you've reserved a name, but another person or organisation is completing the process of incorporating your company, you can transfer your name reservation to them.

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