In Illinois, a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card is mandatory for any Illinois resident who wants to own a firearm, taser or stun gun. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for a FOID card on the Illinois State Police website. You'll need to pay the required fee and upload a color photograph of yourself. Once you apply, it can take up to 30 days for the police department to process your application.
What Is a FOID Card?
A FOID card is a card issued to Illinois residents to identify them as eligible to possess firearms. You need a FOID card if you want to acquire or possess a firearm, taser, stun gun or firearm ammunition. FOID cards expire after 10 years.
Eligibility to Obtain a FOID Card
FOID cards are available to Illinois residents ages 21 and over. If you're under the age of 21, you can obtain a FOID card if you have a parent or guardian sponsor.
You are not eligible for a FOID card under certain circumstances, which include:
Not being a resident of Illinois.
Having a felony conviction.
- Having an addiction to narcotics.
- Having been convicted of using a firearm in the commission of certain crimes within the last five years.
- Being an illegal alien.
- Having a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. military.
Certain people are exempt from the FOID card requirements, such as certain nonresidents, members of the military engaged in operation of official duty, and U.S. Marshals. A full list of eligibility requirements and exemptions is available at the Illinois State Police website.
Applying for a FOID Card
Eligible individuals can easily apply for a FOID card online. There is an application fee of $10 plus a service fee for online payment processing, which is 2.35 percent for a credit card transaction or $1 for an electronic check.
Before applying, you'll need to obtain a full color photograph of your face, from the shoulders up, with a light, solid-colored background. Your eyes should be open and your mouth should be closed, and you must wear a neutral facial expression (no smiling). You should not wear any accessories that obscure your face, such as a hat or sunglasses, and you must submit the application within 30 days after the photo is taken.
Once you have your photograph and the FOID card application fee, you can apply for the FOID card.
Completing a FOID Card Application for IL Online
You can complete an Illinois FOID card application online at the Illinois State Police website. Under the Agency Links, hover your cursor over "Firearms" and click on "Firearms Owner's Identification Program." This link will take you to a page where you can choose "FOID Card" and begin your application process. Once you create a user ID and password to register, you can complete the application by filling in the form, answering the questions and following the prompts.
You'll need to upload your photo and electronically sign the application at the end before finally paying the fee. Once submitted, law enforcement will review your application and process it within 30 days. You can check the status by returning to the website and logging in using your user ID and password.
Completing a FOID Card Application by Phone
If you don't have internet access, you can still apply for a FOID card by calling the state police department's Customer Service Center at 217-782-7980. You'll pay the fee over the phone and provide some of the information for the application. Once the fee is paid, the department will mail you the partially completed paper application. You'll need to finish answering the questions on the application, then sign it and mail it back with your photo attached.
- If you are under the age of 21, your parent or guardian will need to sign the application as well.
- FOID cards expire 10 years from the date of issuance.
- The verification and approval process takes anywhere from 30 days to 12 weeks, depending upon how many applications the FOID department has recently received.
- FOID cards are not concealed carry permits. They allow only for the legal possession, transportation and purchase of firearms and ammunition.
Rebecca K. McDowell is a creditors' rights attorney with a special focus on bankruptcy and insolvency. She has a B.A. in English from Albion College and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. She has written legal articles for Nolo and the Bankruptcy Site.