How to get a Concealed-Carry License in Illinois: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to get a Concealed-Carry License in Illinois: A Step-by-Step Guide

In Illinois, the right to carry a concealed firearm comes with its set of regulations and requirements, ensuring that only responsible and trained individuals can exercise this privilege. The process is designed to vet applicants thoroughly, emphasizing safety, legal knowledge, and firearm proficiency. Below, we explore the essential steps and requirements for obtaining a concealed-carry license (CCL) in the Prairie State.

Understanding Illinois’ Concealed-Carry License Requirements

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for a concealed-carry license in Illinois, applicants must first meet several eligibility criteria:

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
  • Residency: Applicants must be Illinois residents or employed in the state, with non-residents required to have a concealed carry license from their home state if they wish to apply.
  • Background Check: A clean criminal record is paramount. Applicants must not have any convictions for felonies, misdemeanors involving the use or threat of physical force, or violations of state or federal weapon laws.
  • Mental Health: Applicants must not have been admitted to a mental health facility within the past five years or have a developmental or intellectual disability.
  • Training: Completion of a 16-hour firearms training course approved by the Illinois State Police is required. This course includes classroom instruction on firearm safety, the principles of marksmanship, and the law regarding the appropriate use of force. It also requires range time and live-fire exercises.

Application Process

The application process for a concealed-carry license in Illinois is detailed and requires careful attention to ensure all steps are accurately completed:

  1. Completion of Firearms Training: Before applying, ensure you have completed the required 16-hour training course from a certified instructor.
  2. Documentation Gathering: Prepare the necessary documents, including proof of residency, the completion certificate of your firearms training course, and a valid state ID or driver’s license.
  3. Fingerprinting: Although not mandatory, submitting fingerprints can significantly speed up the application review process. Fingerprinting must be done by a state-approved vendor.
  4. Online Application: The Illinois State Police manages the CCL application process through its online portal. Applicants must create an account, fill in the application, and upload the required documents.
  5. Fee Payment: The application fee for Illinois residents is $150, and $300 for non-residents. This fee is non-refundable.
  6. Await Approval: Once submitted, the application undergoes a review process that can take up to 90 days for residents (120 days if fingerprints are not submitted) or up to 120 days for non-residents. During this time, the Illinois State Police will conduct background checks and review the applicant’s eligibility.

Post-Approval Considerations

Upon receiving a concealed-carry license, holders must abide by Illinois laws regarding where firearms can be carried and must also be aware of the need to renew their license every five years, which includes undergoing additional training.


Navigating the requirements for obtaining a concealed-carry license in Illinois is a rigorous process that ensures those who are granted this right are well-prepared and responsible. By understanding and diligently following these steps, eligible citizens can exercise their right to carry concealed firearms, contributing to their safety and that of their communities.

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