Pennsylvania Secretary of State Business Search

Pennsylvania makes it relatively simple to look up business information through the website of the Secretary of State. Below we’ll walk through the steps for doing this, and show you some additional resources you might not know about.

There are any number of reasons you might need this information. It’s absolutely critical when performing due diligence and for Know Your Client (KYC) purposes. If you’re only performing these kinds of searches occasionally, Pennsylvania’s search portal allows you to find a basic level of information quickly and easily. If you’re searching records like these in high numbers, there are some tools you’ll want to know about, but we’ll come back to that in just a moment.

Before we get started, there’s one interesting thing about Pennsylvania’s search page that you should know. You cannot access the page from any non-US IP address. If you try, you get an IP error that looks like this:

It would be helpful for them to explain what error 3759 means, and it seems like a rather clumsy and blunt way to protect their website from DDoS attacks and other threats. But let’s continue.

You can find the Business Entity search page here. The landing page looks like this:

The search interface is simple and basic. You have the option of searching either by business name or ID number. Using the dropdown menu, you can limit your results to records that start with, contain, are an exact match for, or sound like your search term. You can also perform an abbreviated search for the availability of the term as a business name. You can also limit your results to active companies only, by clicking the box.

When you perform the search, you’ll be directed to the results page, which looks like this:

Pennsylvania secretary of state business results

The results are sorted by company name in alphabetical order by default, but you can reverse the sort order and sort the data by any of the columns by clicking the headers.

There’s one more helpful addition to the results page: you can filter the results – without having to go back to the search page and search again – by adding an additional term in the ‘filter’ box at the top right. For example, if we add ‘mech’ into that box, it reduces the number of results from 250 to just five.

Pennsylvania secretary of state results filter

There’s a substantial amount of information on the results page. Here, you can see each company’s name and the type of name it is (current, former, fictitious, etc.), its address, ID number, the type of business (its legal structure), its status (all active here, since we limited the search to those), and its citizenship (whether it was formed in Pennsylvania, or in another state or country). 

Clicking on the name of the business for any of the records will bring you to the Business Entity Details page for that business. Those pages look like this:

Pennslyvania secretary of state details

Most of the information here was already displayed in the search results. The only additional details here are the date the business was formed, and the name and contact information for Officers of the business.

The heading for the page – ‘Order Business Documents’ – gives you a hint about how much more information you’ll find here at no cost: none.

Scrolling down the page, you’ll find that any documents on file for the business must be ordered for an additional fee. To do so, you must create an account with the website as well.

Pennsylvania documents

Need More Information, More Quickly?

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s search interface makes it fairly easy to search an individual business record, but offers only basic business information at no cost. If you need more information, or to search for hundreds – or even thousands – of these records each month, this would quickly consume a lot of time and be quite costly. Furthermore, Secretary of State data is different from one state to another, so combining and integrating data from multiple states is complex.
Cobalt Intelligence gives you the ability to quickly access Secretary of State business data from Pennsylvania and all other states via API. If you’re looking for a solution that your engineering team can implement, try it here and let us show you how we can help. If you’re technically minded, watch this short video to see the more advanced features in action.