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How To Get Your Concealed Carry License In Illinois

Being able to Concealed Carry may be the one thing that saves your life in a life-threatening situation. In Illinois, a Concealed Carry License (CCL) allows you to carry a loaded firearm (in addition to other weapons) on and around your person or in your vehicle in public places. When a physical or verbal altercation escalates beyond your control and you have no other option, having a way to defend yourself and your family is a must.

There are various requirements when applying for your CCl in Illinois. We'll walk through everything you need and provide our best advice coming from years of experience.

Hear It From One Of Our Instructors

Getting Started

Before moving into the details of getting your License, let’s cover the basics of Illinois Concealed Carry.

Illinois is a shall issue state. In simple terms, if you pass all the basic requirements set out by the state, then the issuing authority (the state police) must issue you a license.

Average processing time. According to the Illinois State Police, the average processing time during 2022 for a CCL application with fingerprinting was 66 days. Meanwhile, non-fingerprint applications averaged 88 days in 2022.

Application Requirements

In order to receive your Illinois CCL, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at 21 years of age

  • Have a clear criminal background free of criminal charges or felonies

  • Have a valid FOID card

  • Complete a 16-hour training course with live range time

Illinois offers special requirements for military, law enforcement, security, and other trained citizens including reduced class time.

How To Apply

Step 1:

When looking to obtain your Concealed Carry License, you first have to be the owner of a valid FOID card (Firearm Owner’s Identification). We suggest applying for your FOID card as soon as you are interested in obtaining your Concealed Carry License as it can take up to 60 days to receive your FOID card.

Step 2:

When selecting a qualifying Concealed Carry class, we suggest looking for a quality class that covers more than just the minimum requirements. A high quality CCL class should touch on most of the following:

  • Firearms basics, safety, and marksmanship

  • General care, cleaning, and concealment tips

  • Self-defense laws, where you can and can not carry, and the legal aftermath

  • Extended range time to become comfortable with your firearm.

You should leave your Concealed Carry class more knowledgeable than when you started feeling more confident in your ability to defend, protect, and safely handle a life-threatening situation. Here at Lightning Defense Academy in Northern Illinois, we take pride in our high quality classes with hundreds of 5-star reviews from students all over the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin area.

Step 3:

Your final step in obtaining your Concealed Carry License is to complete the online application with the Illinois State Police. Before you start your application, it’s best to ensure you have everything you’re going to need.

  • Electronic copy of your training certificate

  • A valid Driver’s License or State ID

  • A head and shoulders photograph taken within the last 30 days

  • The past 10 years of residency (address and dates)

  • $150 paid via credit card or electronic check

  • [optional] Fingerprints. Having submitted a set of electronic fingerprints will expedite your application. You must tell your Live Scan vendor that your fingerprints are for the Concealed Carry application (ORI = IL920707Z, Purpose Code = CCW)

Fingerprinting Provider

We highly recommend submitting a set of electronic fingerprints as it will reduce the processing time by 30 days or more. We recommend finding a trusted fingerprinting service near you. If you are in or near McHenry County, Illinois we have a fingerprinting service that takes care of the entire fingerprinting process in-store. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Application Assistance

We offer assistance with the application process for all of our students. If you take any classes with us, you can come to our store for assistance filling out your application with the ISP.

Common CCL Questions

Where can I take the required CCL class?

You are able to take the Concealed Carry class with any of the ISP pre-approved instructors. However, we recommend finding a USCCA Certified Instructor. The USCCA provides a more in-depth and thorough class that goes above and beyond the state requirements.

If you’re in Northern Illinois, we recommend taking classes with our highly experienced and trained instructors. At Lightning Defense Academy, we equip students to protect themselves and others in everyday situations.

How long is the Concealed Carry class?

Most CCL classes are 16 hours. However, if you are qualifying military, law enforcement, security, or a specially trained citizen, you may qualify for reduced class time.

What states honor the Illinois Concealed Carry License?

As of the writing of this article, the following states honor the IL concealed carry. For a more detailed map of states that accept the IL CCL, use the USCCA Reciprocity Map. Be sure to check local laws and restrictions:

  • Alabama

  • Alaska (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Arizona (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Arkansas (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Georgia

  • Idaho (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Indiana (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Iowa (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Kansas (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Kentucky (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Maine (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Michigan (resident permits only)

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Missouri (permitless carry, at least 19 years old, 18 for military)

  • Montana (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • South Carolina (resident permits only)

  • South Dakota (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Tennessee (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Texas (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Utah (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Vermont (permitless carry, at least 18 years old)

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming (permitless carry, at least 21 years old)

Got Questions On Your Illinois Concealed Carry License?

Reach out to the team at Lightning Defense Academy. Our experienced instructors are ready to help you learn how to protect yourself and others legally.



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