Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting an Illinois Concealed Carry License (CCL) below.

Similar to license requirements, states vary greatly in the processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed carry permit/license, what permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, permit duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry License Basics

Illinois is a shall-issue state, meaning that Illinois State Police must issue a concealed carry license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. However, Illinois differs from other states in that it still gives law enforcement the right to object to a concealed carry license being issued if they think the applicant is a danger to public safety or oneself. If the police do object, then the case is heard by the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, which will make the final decision. The applicant is notified by mail of the decision, and there is an appeal process.

Applicants for an Illinois CCL must be at least 21 years old and have completed a 16-hour concealed carry training class conducted by a state-approved instructor. CCLs are issued to residents and non-residents of states or territories of the United States that have laws related to firearms ownership, possession and carrying that are substantially similar to the requirements in Illinois. Currently, the only states considered to be substantially similar are
Arkansas, Idaho,
Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Virginia. A CCL is valid for five years.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed carry license/permit as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the License Requirements in Illinois?

An applicant must:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Have a valid Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) — FOIDs are valid for 10 years and are processed in 30 days
  • Not have been convicted of a felony
  • Not have failed a drug test for a drug for which the applicant did not have a prescription within the previous year
  • Not have been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving the threat of physical force or violence to any person within the past 5 years
  • Not have two or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs or intoxicating compounds within the past 5 years
  • Not be subject to a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm
  • Not have been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification or drug treatment within the past 5 years
  • Meet the federal law requirements mentioned above

Do I Need Firearms Training in Illinois?

A 16-hour firearms training course conducted by a state-approved instructor is required for all new concealed carry license applications. The course consists of:

  • Firearms safety
  • Principles of marksmanship
  • Care, cleaning, loading and unloading of a concealable firearm
  • All applicable Illinois and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carrying and transportation of a firearm
  • Proof of certification by a certified instructor that the applicant passed a live fire exercise with a concealable firearm consisting of:
    • A minimum of 30 rounds
      • 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards, 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards at a target approved by DSP.

Members of the military and persons who have completed a firearms training course in another state that has been approved by Illinois can obtain a credit of 8 hours toward the required 16-hour course.

A three-hour firearms training course conducted by a state-approved instructor is required for all concealed carry license renewals.

How Do I Get a Concealed Carry License in Illinois?

Illinois has an online application process.

Step 1: Apply for a FOID. Complete the online application for a FOID. Go to the Illinois State Police website and get a user ID and password. You will need the following:

  • A Valid Driver’s License or State Identification card
  • A head and shoulder electronic photograph taken within the last 30 days
  • $10.00 payable with a credit card or electronic check

You will be notified by email if your FOID application has been approved.

Step 2: Complete your firearms training course provided by an ISP-approved instructor.

Step 3: Once you have applied for and/or received your FOID card, complete the online application for a CCL. The following documents are required:

  • A valid Illinois driver’s license or state ID
  • An Illinois State Police user ID and password
  • An electronic copy of your training certificate(s)
  • A valid FOID or a FOID in process
  • An electronic head and shoulders photo taken within the previous 30 days
  • Provide the last 10 years of residency
  • Optional — An applicant is not required to submit fingerprints with the application. However, the department has an additional 30 days to review an application that does not include fingerprints. If opting to provide fingerprints, go to a fingerprint vendor and have your prints taken.

NOTE: Applicants will be assigned a transaction control number (TCN) at the time of fingerprinting and will be required to retain that TCN to complete the application. Specify to the Live Scan vendor that your fingerprint application is for the concealed carry application.

Make your payment.

Step 4: Allow 90 days for processing or 120 days if electronic fingerprints are not provided. *Please note that the Illinois State Police are not meeting the statutory timelines for issuing FOID cards or CCLs. The backlog of applications vary. Applicants for FOIDs and CCLs can view the average processing time for FOIDs and CCLs here.

Step 5: You will be notified by email if your CCL application has been approved.

For more information, visit the USCCA Illinois gun laws page now…


The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.