Last updated on October 9th, 2023
The Illinois FOID Card: What You Need to Know
The Illinois Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card is a license that is required for any Illinois resident who wishes to purchase, own, or possess a firearm or ammunition. The FOID card is issued by the Illinois State Police and is valid for ten years. Also, the FOID card has been around since 1968. This article will walk you through what you need to know to get and renew your FOID card.
There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to obtain a FOID card. A few of these requirements include:
- Firstly, must be at least 21 years old, or receive their parents permission if less than 21.
- Being a resident of Illinois, or if non-resident and is required for employment purposes.
- Passing a background check.
The background check is conducted by the Illinois State Police and includes a review of the applicant’s criminal history, mental health history, and drug use history.
The fee for a FOID card is currently $10. The fee is waived for certain military individuals who are stationed in Illinois. During the application, you’ll see a check box asking if you are eligible for the fee exemption. Subsequently, if you’re exempt, upload a copy of your military ID.
The application process for a FOID card can be completed online or by mail. The online application process can be found on the Illinois State Police website. The mail-in application can be started by calling the Illinois State Police FOID Unit at (217) 782-7980. Please note, there are no traditional paper applications.
Once the application is submitted, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will process it and issue a FOID card if the applicant meets all of the requirements. The processing time for a FOID card can vary, but it typically takes a few weeks under current conditions. Although in the past, waiting several months isn’t unusual. By law, the ISP is required to approve or deny your FOID within 30 days, unless sent to the review board.
Requirements for a FOID Card
You must meet a number of other requirements in order to obtain a FOID card in addition to meeting the age and residency requirements mentioned previously. Some of these requirements include:
- You can’t be convicted of a felony or a Class A misdemeanor.
- You must not have been a patient in a mental health facility within 5 years
- You must not be addicted to narcotics.
- You must not have been convicted of a domestic violence offense.
- US Citizen or permanent resident.
For a complete list of FOID eligibility requirements, visit the ISPFSB website. If you have any questions about the requirements for a FOID card, you should contact the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau.
FOID Card Exemptions
There are a number of exemptions to the FOID card requirement. Some of these exemptions include:
- Federal Officials and Law Enforcement Officers while engaged in their duties.
- Active duty military personnel while engaged in their duties.
- Non-residents who are eligible to possess firearms in their state of residency.
- Certain non-resident Hunters.
- Certain veterans organizations for ceremonial purposes.
- Antique firearm collectors (only if the state police determine the firearm to be an antique).
If you are not sure if you are exempt from the FOID card requirement, you should contact the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau at www.ispfsb.com.
How to Apply for a FOID Card
The application process for a FOID card is relatively straightforward. You can apply online or by phone/mail.
To apply online, you will need to create an account on the Illinois State Police website. Once you have created an account, you can start the application process. You will need to provide your personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, and partial Social Security number. You will also need to answer a series of questions about your criminal history, mental health history, and drug use history. You’ll need to upload a digital head and shoulders photograph with no hats or dark glasses.
To apply for the Illinois FOID card by mail, you will need to start by calling the Illinois State Police. They will start a form and mail it to you for completion. You will need to complete the form and mail it to the Illinois State Police FOID Unit. You will also need to submit a photograph.
The fee for a FOID card is currently $10.
The processing time for a FOID card can vary, but it typically takes a few weeks. Once your application is processed, you will receive a notification in the mail. If your application is approved, you will be issued a FOID card.
How to Renew your FOID card
Renewing the Illinois FOID card can be completed a number of ways. First, you can pay the $10 renewal fee. However, if you have an Illinois Concealed Carry license, whenever you renew your license (5 years), the state will automatically renew your FOID. The third way to renew your FOID is an automatic renewal process which only applies if you provided fingerprints (optional). If you provided fingerprints, when you purchase a firearm, the state will reset and renew your FOID.
There is no expiration date listed on the FOID cards as of 2002, but they do expire. The Illinois State Police should send you the Illinois FOID card renewal notification 180 days before you expire. It is not unusual for people to not receive these notices, so you can always log into the state police website to see your actual expiration date. You may also want to add a notification to your digital calendar.
FOID Denials and Appeals
Your firearm owner identification card can be denied for any number of reasons. Most often this is due to having a history of mental health treatment, or accidentally answering incorrectly on the application. There is a process for appeals any FOID card denials.
The process to appeal depends on why you were denied. If you are denied, you may simply need to fill out a form. However, if you were denied for mental health reasons, you may need to visit a qualified mental health caregiver for a full review, or you may need to appeal to the review board. All of this information is located on the ISP sub-site of the Illinois website at https://isp.illinois.gov/TypesOfAppeals
Additional Privileges with your FOID
One may purchase or possess a stun gun in Illinois with a FOID card. For what it is worth, the Illinois supreme court affirmed this in 2019 in the People Vs Webb.
One may purchase or possess a switchblade or other automatic knife in Illinois. The law changed in 2017 allowing automatic knives for anyone with a FOID.
If you are an Illinois resident who wishes to purchase, own, or possess firearms or ammunition, automatic knives, and stun guns, you will need to obtain a FOID card.
Also see: Illinois Gun Permits Explained