Apply For A Business License Chicago, Illinois

Are you planning to open or operate a business in the city of Chicago, Illinois?

Those that operate a business in Chicago will need to be issued a business license by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection at 121 North LaSalle Street, room 800. You may request a business license application in person between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. You may also apply for a business license online by visiting the City of Chicago website. Online application is reserved for those that are opening a retail business. You are encouraged to set up an appointment with a business consultant before you begin the application process. You can make an appointment online. 

Will you need other permits or licenses?

It is quite likely that you will need to apply for other licenses or permits beyond your Chicago business license. For instance, you may need to contact the Illinois Department of Revenue to receive a IBT (Illinois business tax number). The IRS may need to be contacted for a FEIN (federal employer’s tax ID number). When you apply for your business license, it may be reviewed by other entities, such as the Zoning Department, the Police Department, the Fire Department, and other agencies. Your business consultant can help you to determine what other agencies, whether local, state, and/or federal you will need to contact. 

Do you have all the necessary documents and information to complete a Chicago business license application?

You will need to have a valid driver’s license, an approved name for your business, the square footage of your business location, IBT and FEIN. In addition, you will need to have a business information sheet which is available online at the City of Chicago website. This information sheet is used as a pre-application for a business license. It requests information that is equivalent to what you may find on a business license including information such as your business ownership type (owned solely, part of a legal entity, or corporation), information about you as the business owner including your legal name, social security number, date of birth and all contact information. 

This information should be provided for all additional owners, managers, vice presidents, shareholders, and secretaries of your business, as well as the president. You should include a detailed description of your business activities, whether you sell goods at your location and whether you have wholesale, retail, or a combination of both and the percentage of each. The name and all contact information of your primary business contact should be included. Information regarding your business location such as the square footage, the physical address and street number, and all phone numbers should be given. 

Be sure to include your IBT and FEIN, the incorporation date of your business (if applicable), the state of Illinois file (for corporations, LLCs, and non-profits), and if it applies, your Illinois exemption information. All of this information should be complete and accurate when you turn in your pre-application prior to applying for your business license. When you have completed it, you will need to return it with the above mentioned documentation to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection at 121 North LaSalle Street, in room 800. If you have questions, they can be reached via telephone at (312) 744-6249.

Do you have additional questions?

If you have additional questions, visit the City of Chicago Business License website or visit the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection: Business Assistance Center at City Hall, Room 800, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602. You may also want to visit

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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