Illinois Gun Permits Explained

Last updated on August 10th, 2023

Illinois does require gun permits for gun owners. In fact, Illinois has two different types of gun permits. One for purchasing and the other for carrying your firearm.  We’ll walk you through who needs a gun permit, how to get it, and everything else you need to know about Illinois gun permits.

There are two types of gun permits in Illinois. The first is what is known as the Firearm Owner identification card, or FOID for short. The second kind is known as the Concealed Carry License or CCL for short. An Illinois resident is required to have a FOID card to purchase and possess firearms or ammunition. That means if you want to buy a gun or a box of ammo, the gun store will ask to see your FOID.  The Concealed Carry License allows you to carry a handgun in most public places.  Until January 1st, 2022, these two gun permits were separate cards.  However, both have been merged into one gun permit.

How to get a FOID

The FOID card is the Illinois gun permit required to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition. If you don’t yet wish to carry a firearm, this is the license for you. The process to obtain a FOID card is pretty simple if you have a computer or smartphone.

Head over to Once there, you’ll want to create an account and begin the application. The application process includes providing your personal information, driver’s license or state ID number, and a current photograph and paying the fee. The fee for the FOID card is $10. If you are having a hard time with this process, we do provide permit application assistance.

Illinois gun permit

The FOID gun permit is valid for 10 years. You can renew your FOID in a number of ways. If you opt for a concealed carry license, the FOID auto-renews when you renew your CCL. If you choose not to obtain a CCL, your FOID will auto-renew whenever you purchase a firearm but only if you provide fingerprints and only if those fingerprints are provided after January 1st, 2023.

Weird huh? Welcome to the life of an Illinois gun owner. Trying to stay law-abiding has often been described as tip-toeing through a minefield. But if you sign up for our newsletter we do an excellent job of notifying you of all the changes to the gun laws.


How to get an Illinois concealed carry license

The Illinois Concealed Carry license is the gun permit you need if you wish to carry a concealed handgun in most public places. The FOID card doesn’t allow one to “carry” a firearm except on their land or on the land of another with permission. So if you wish to carry your handgun with you in Illinois, you’ll need an Illinois Concealed Carry License. 

Similar to the FOID card, the application process begins at If you do not have a FOID card when you apply for the concealed carry license you are also automatically applying for a FOID card as well.  The application process is similar though the state of Illinois requests much more information.  In this article, we walk you through step by step exactly how to apply for an Illinois Concealed Carry license. We even provide a video!

However, unlike the FOID card, the fee is $150 for 5 years and training is required for the Illinois Concealed Carry License. Alpha Koncepts has been training people to safely and legally carry concealed firearms since 2013. In fact, our lead instructor is the 45th approved concealed carry instructor in Illinois. Learn more about our concealed carry classes and check the training schedule.

Exemptions to the FOID

There are some exemptions for needing a FOID Card. Those exemptions are for non-residents. In fact, Illinois won’t issue a FOID card to non-residents unless required for employment purposes. Also, there is a temporary exemption for inheritances. If you inherit a firearm, you have a short period of time to either obtain a FOID or dispose of the firearms. The third exemption for the FOID cars is for new residents who have a short window of time, after obtaining their new Illinois Driver’s License or state ID, to obtain their FOID.

History of the FOID

The first gun permit in Illinois was the FOID Card. The FOID card is a product of the chaos of 1968. Throughout the decades the Firearm Owner Identification Act has only gotten more restrictive. There are roughly 2.5 million FOID cards issued in Illinois.

History of the Concealed Carry License

Illinois is the last state to permit gun owners a lawful means of carrying a gun. It is only through a law suit that the federal government forced the Illinois government to allow its residents to carry concealed firearms.  The Concealed Carry Licensing Act passed in 2013 and concealed carry licenses were first issued in 2014. There are now about 350,000 concealed carry licenses issued in Illinois.

Illinois Gun Permit FAQ

Where can I apply for an Illinois Gun Permit?

You may go to the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau website at or we would be happy to provide you with application assistance.

How much do gun permits cost in Illinois?

The Firearm Owner Identification is $10 and lasts 10 years. The Illinois Concealed Carry License is $150 and lasts 5 years.

Do I need to carry my gun permits with me in Illinois?

Yes, an Illinois resident must always have their gun permit on them when they are in possession of firearms or ammunition. The exemption to this is the E-FOID, which is an electronic version of your gun permit.

Where can I get training for the Illinois Concealed Carry

There are nearly 4,000 instructors certified to teach concealed carry. Alpha Koncepts has trained thousands of students since 2013 and is one of the original concealed carry instructors in Illinois. You can learn more about our classes at this link.

If I don’t have a concealed carry license, can I bring my gun out of my house?

Yes, with a FOID card you may transport your firearm outside your house. However you wouldn’t be able to carry. The abbreviated definition of carry is a concealed loaded or unloaded handgun on your person. You can not carry long guns. You may transport long guns and handguns with a FOID. We explain how to transport a firearm in Illinois.


1 thought on “Illinois Gun Permits Explained”

  1. I completed a concealed carry class last September and appllied for the concealed carry permit the first week in October. ISP immediately cashed their $150., but have not responded to my repeated texts about the status of my app.ication. How should I proceed?

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