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Illinois Business License

Registration of a new business does not necessarily mean that you have got the “go ahead” to operate your business in the state of Illinois. Most often than not, business owners forget to include the “requirement of a business license” in their starting a new business checklist. It is recommended that business owners have all necessary information about licensing prior to registration of their business entity. It is important to know if your business requires a license or permit because if you are operating without one, you can be charged heavy penalties and in some cases, closure of your business.

How to Get a Business License in Illinois

Where and how do you apply for a business license in Illinois? Does your business require a license or a permit? Does the business entity require a single license or multiple licenses or permits? Who is the issuing authority for these licenses or permits? The only way to answer these questions is by understanding the process of business licensing.

There are two steps towards acquiring a business license in the state of Illinois and they are:

The Industry or Business Type

Which industry is your business entity a part of? It is important to identify the industry as some businesses may require a business license while others may require only a permit to become operational. On the other hand, some businesses may also require multiple licenses or a license and a permit. Let’s look at an example to understand this well.


If you are planning to establish a “Hospital” or a “Nursing home” in Illinois then you will require a business license. This is apart from the fact that your hospital or nursing home will need to be inspected, regulated, and certified by private and public agencies at the federal as well as state level. The agencies responsible for regulation, certification and licensing include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).

Another important aspect to consider is whether your Illinois company license will be issued directly by the state authorities or you will need to acquire a license or a permit from city council as well. Let’s look at an example to understand this well.

If you are planning to establish a “Wholesale Drug Distribution” business in Chicago then you will not require a Chicago business license as this type of license will be issued directly by a state department, and in this case by Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR). On the other hand, if you were to establish a “Manufacturing” business that focuses on mechanical and/or chemical processing then your license will be issued by a Chicago Small Business Center or other City agencies.

Who Issues the License?

Once you have identified the type of Illinois company license you require, the next step is to file the application for the appropriate license. The license or business permit pertaining to your business is dependent on the type of business and will be issued by either the state licensing agency or city licensing agencies.

In order to understand this process, let’s look at another example.

Business license in Illinois is issued by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR). So, if you were to establish a Real Estate firm then you will be required to apply to the Division of Real Estate (DRE) for the required license. The license needs to be renewed each year within 90 days preceding the expiration date.


Now, if you are planning to establish a business in the city of Rockford and cater to the amusement industry then you will require a license for same. You will have to file an Illinois company license application with the Rockford City Council along with the prescribed fee. The fee for the license will vary according to the type of amusement. For example, a Bowling Alley License fee will be ‘Number of Bowling Lanes x $17.’ The license fee for a skating rink will be $138.00 and if you are planning to start a Video Game Parlor then you will only require a ‘Video Gaming Permit’ and the fee would be ‘Total Number of Machines/Devices X $25.00.’

Have you identified the industry or the city you are planning to establish your business in?

If you have any questions regarding registration of your business, feel free to call us on 702-871-8678.

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