Thursday, July 18, 2024

What is a FOID Card?

by editor

A FOID card or F. O. I. D. card is the acronym for the Federal Owners Identification card which is unique to Illinois.  The FOID card was created in 1968, by the FOID Act, as a way to identify those persons eligible to possess and acquire firearms and firearm ammunition as part of a public safety initiative in the State of Illinois. The FOID card is NOT a “conceal and carry” card.

The FOID card is issued by the Illinois State Police (ISP), which allows citizens to purchase, possess, and transport legal firearms and ammunition. The Illinois State Police will issue the card after conducting state and federal background checks. Once issued, the card is valid for a period of ten years. Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Illinois Driver’s License or State ID card number on the application. Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parent’s signature on a notarized form and the parent/s must have or be eligible to have a FOID card.

While Illinois is the only state that I know of that has the FOID card, there are a few states that have something similar although they call it something different.

California requires you to get an FSC or “firearm safety certificate”

Connecticut requires a Handgun Eligibility Certificate for a pistol & a Long Gun Eligibility Certificate for a rifle

Hawaii requires you to get a permit

Illinois requires you to have a FOID Card

Iowa requires a state permit

Maryland requires you to get a Handgun Qualification License

Massachusetts has two types of licenses for gun purchasers and gun owners: Firearm Identification Cards (“FIDs”) and licenses to carry firearms (“LTCs”). Each entitles the holder to different privileges

Michigan requires you to get a license

Nebraska requires you to get a handgun certificate

New Jersey requires you to get a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC)

New York requires you to get a license

North Carolina requires you to obtain a permit

If I have a valid Illinois federal owner identification card or FOID card, does that mean I can carry a concealed weapon?

No. While having a valid Illinois FOID card is a requirement for obtaining a concealed-carry license, a person with a FOID card is not automatically entitled to carry a firearm in public. You must apply for and obtain a license from the Illinois State Police.

When can I start carrying my gun?

You must first apply for and receive an approved concealed-carry license. Having a FOID card alone does not automatically mean that you can carry a concealed firearm.

If I have a concealed carry permit from Florida (or another state), is it valid in Illinois?

No. However, people who hold permits in states with laws substantially similar to Illinois’ will be able to apply for non-resident concealed-carry licenses.

How old do you have to be to apply for a concealed-carry license?

In the state of Illinois, you have to be 21 years old to be able to apply for a concealed carry firearms license.

What is the process for applying for a license to carry?

In Illinois, you must submit an application with the relevant documentation and a $150 fee to the Department of State Police.

In order to apply for a concealed-carry license, you must provide:

Your name, current address, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color,
eye color, maiden name (or any other name used) and any address where you have
lived for more than 30 days within the past 10 years
(2) Your valid driver’s license number or valid state identification card number
(3) A signed confidentiality waiver that gives the State Police access to your criminal
and mental health records
(4) A declaration that you possess a valid FOID Card
(5) A declaration that you have not been convicted or found guilty of
a. a felony
b. a misdemeanor involving a threat of physical force or violence within the past
5 years or
c. two or more violations of driving under the influence within the past 5 years
(6) A declaration that you have not failed a drug test by testing positive for a drug for
which you did not have a prescription
(7) Written consent allowing the State Police to review your digital driver’s license or ID
(8) A full set of fingerprints (if no fingerprints are submitted, the State Police have an
additional 90 days to review the application)
(9) A head-and-shoulders color photo
(10) A copy of evidence that you have completed the training required by law of all
concealed-carry licensees
6. How much does a concealed-carry license cost?
$150 for Illinois residents and $300 for non-residents. Licensees must pay the same fee again
when renewing their licenses every five years.
7. How long will I have to wait to receive my license after submitting the application and all the
required documentation?
No more than 120 days.
The State Police have 90 days after receiving an application to approve or deny it unless another
law enforcement agency submits an objection. If that happens, your application will be referred
to the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, which has an additional 30 days to consider the

Where am I not allowed to carry a firearm?

• Schools
• Preschools and child care facilities
• Government buildings
• Courts
• Correctional facilities
• Hospitals, mental health facilities, and nursing homes
• Public transportation
• Establishments where more than 50 percent of sales come from alcohol
• Public gatherings and other special events open to the public
• Any building that has received a Special Event Retailer’s license
• Public playgrounds
• Public parks or athletic facilities
• The Cook County Forest Preserve District
• Colleges and universities
• Gaming facilities
• Stadiums
• Libraries
• Airports
• Amusement parks, zoos, and museums
• Nuclear energy facilities
• Places where guns are already prohibited by federal law
• Businesses where a sign is posted indicating that the owner does not allow guns on the
• Someone else’s private residence unless you have the owner’s permission

Can I carry my firearm on public transportation?

No. Firearms are not allowed on public transportation or in public transit facilities such as bus and train stations.

Can I legally transport or possess ammunition while traveling in Illinois?  Yes

What should I do if I am pulled over by law enforcement and am carrying a gun?

If asked, you should tell the officer you are carrying a gun.

I am an active military member or a law enforcement official. Am I exempt from any of the concealed-carry requirements?

An active, qualified law enforcement officer is not required to take the 16-hour training course.
Being an active, retired or honorably discharged member of the U.S. Armed Forces counts as
eight hours of training toward the 16-hour requirement.

What kind of mental illness disqualifies a person from receiving a concealed-carry license?

In order to obtain a license, you must be eligible for a valid FOID card at the time of application,
so the same illnesses that disqualify a person for a FOID card will also disqualify him or her from
obtaining a concealed-carry license.  A person is ineligible to receive a FOID Card or concealed-carry license under the following circumstances:

• Is addicted to narcotics
• Has been a patient in a mental health facility within the past five years
• Poses a clear and present danger to himself or herself, any other person or the community at large
• Has been found to be intellectually, mentally or developmentally disabled
• Has been involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility

If I already have a TAN card, do I need to retake the test?

No. If you have received a firearm control card from the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, you are exempt from the training requirements of the law.

What are the qualifications to teach a concealed carry class?

A concealed-carry instructor must
(1) Be at least 21 years old.
(2) Be a legal resident of the U.S.
(3) Meet the same requirements as any applicant for a concealed-carry license as well as any additional requirements established by the State Police
(4) Possess a high school diploma or GED
(5) Have at least one of the following valid firearms instructor certifications:
(a) Certification from a law enforcement agency
(b) Certification from a firearms instructor course offered by a state or federal governmental agency
(c) Certification from a firearms instructor qualification course offered by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board or
(d) Certification from an entity approved by the State Police that offers firearms instructor education and training in the use and safety of firearms

I own a small business. Do I have to allow people to carry weapons in my store?

No. But if you choose to prohibit weapons in your store you will need to post a sign on the entrance indicating that weapons are prohibited. The State Police will develop uniform signs for businesses to use.

If I do not want to allow people to carry guns in my restaurant, what steps do I need to take?

If you choose to prohibit weapons in your restaurant you will need to post a sign on the entrance indicating that weapons are prohibited. The State Police will develop uniform signs for businesses to use.

I do not want someone bringing a gun into my house or onto my residential property. Is there
a way to stop them?

Yes. The law does not allow anyone to bring a gun into your home without your permission, and you do not have to post a sign in order to prohibit guns on your residential property.

I do not want my employees to bring guns to work with them. Is there anything I can do to
stop them?

Yes. As an employer, you may prohibit employees from bringing guns to work. However, an employee will be allowed to keep his or her gun locked in a vehicle, even if the vehicle is parked on your property.

For more information on the FOID card and other related firearms questions, please visit the ISP’s website at



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