Click on a subject heading link below as a shortcut to view questions and answers relating to your selection. Or you may simply scroll down to view all questions and answers individually. Should you have any further questions, please contact us at (312) 74-GOBIZ (744-6249).
Can all businesses apply for licenses online?
No. Due to the complexity of the application and/or requirements, not all businesses may apply for licenses online. The following business activities require you to apply in person, at City Hall, Room 800: Employees of a Wrecking or Demolition Contractor, Employees of an Expediter Company, Explosives - Certificate of Fitness, Itinerant Merchants, Massage Establishments, Navy Pier Kiosks, Peddlers and Street Performers, Private Scavenger Trucks, all Liquor and Public Place of Amusement activities, Shared Kitchen Users, Shooting Range Facilities, Weapons Dealers and all Special Events. If you have questions about your business activity and the appropriate application process, please contact us at (312)74-GOBIZ (744-6249).
If I attempt to apply online, but cannot find my business
activity in your lists, does that mean I do not require a business
license in the City of Chicago?
No. We have made every attempt to include all possible business activities. However, there may be a few that have been inadvertently left out. If you have questions regarding the license requirements for your business and the appropriate application process, please contact us at (312)74-GOBIZ (744-6249).
May I conduct business while I am going through the
No. It is unlawful for any person to conduct, engage in, maintain, operate, carry on or manage a business without receipt of, and physically posting in public view, a City of Chicago business license.
May I do everything online, or will I have to go to City
The intention of the online system is for customers to do everything online. However, you may be required to go to City Hall to complete the application process if there are other requirements discovered in the Business Location Review process. Should the need arise you will be contacted to set up an appointment. Additionally, if the license you have applied for requires a photo-ID badge in lieu of a license certificate, you will be required to come to City Hall.
Must I pay my Application Fee online? And what kind of payments do you accept?
Yes, all online license application fee payments must be performed online. Payments may be made by electronic check, or with any of the following major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.
How long will it take for the license certificate(s) to be issued?
Each license type has different requirements that must be met before a license may be issued. Some licenses may be issued within 3 days of payment, while others, with inspection requirements for example, may take longer. An e-mail notification will be sent to you once the license has been printed and issued. License status may also be found by going to the "My Applications" page, and then clicking on the appropriate "Application #" link. The status of the license may be found at the bottom of the "Application Information" tab.
Why do I have to create a User Profile?
A User Profile is necessary to obtain access to the Online License Application System. It is the process which provides you with the User ID and Password to access the system and enable you to manage business accounts with the City of Chicago.
How do I create a User Profile?
You may create a User Profile by clicking on the "Get Started" button on the Log In page.
I've forgotten my Password/User ID. How do I
Click on the "Forgotten Password/User ID" link in the Log In page.
How do I change my password?
You may change your password in the "Edit User Profile" page. You may access the "Edit User Profile" page by first, logging into the system, and then clicking on the "Edit User Profile" link in your "My Overview" page.
May I leave and come back to an application at a later
If you must leave an application in process, you may return to the last page that was submitted by logging back into the system, and then clicking on the "Resume" link in the "My Applications" tab of your "My Overview" page.
How long will it take to go through the application
Please click on the "Read the USER GUIDE" link in our Log In page to find out about the City of Chicago Online License Application process.
How will I know when to continue to "Part II"
of the Online License Application Process?
You will receive an e-mail notification informing you that you may continue with "Part II" of the application process.
How long can my application remain in "Part II"?
You must complete "Part II" of your application within 90 days. The Zoning Classification approval is only valid for 90 days.
I have submitted and paid for my application. My
business requires an inspection. When is my inspection
You will be contacted by the appropriate inspecting department to inform you of the inspection date.
Why do I need to link accounts to my User Profile?
In order to manage existing business account(s) with the City of Chicago, you must link the account(s) to your User Profile first.
How do I link an account to my User Profile?
From your "My Overview" page, go to the "My Accounts" tab and then click on the "Link an account to my User Profile". You will need the Account Number and PIN associated with that specific account.
May I link an account if I am not the actual owner of the
Yes, you may manage an account on behalf of the business owner. In order to properly link an account to your Online License Application System User Profile, you must have the business owner's Personal Identification Number for the account to be linked.
How do I start a new application for a new business?
New applications may be created by going to the Log In page, and then clicking on the "Get Started" button.
How do I create a new application for an existing
Assuming that the account is already linked to your User Profile, go to the "My Accounts" tab from your "My Overview" page, and then click on the "Add a New Business Location" link for the specific account.
How do I add a license to a specific business location?
Assuming that the account is already linked to your User Profile, go to the "My Accounts" tab from your "My Overview" page, and then click on the appropriate "Account #" link. Then click on the "Business Location Information" tab where you will find a link to "Add another license to this Business Location".
Where may I find a list of all the applications that I
have in process for a specific account?
You may find a list of all of your applications for an account by going to your "My Accounts" tab from your "My Overview" page, and then clicking on the appropriate "Account #" link. At the bottom of the "Account Summary" tab you will find a list of all applications for that specific account.
Where may I find the status of my application?
The status of an application may be found in the "My Applications" tab of your "My Overview" page. The status is located directly to the right of the Application Number.
Where may I find the status of the licenses I have
License statuses may be found by going to the "My Applications" tab from your "My Overview" page, and then clicking on the appropriate "Application #" link. The status of the license(s) may be found at the bottom of the "Application Information" tab.
May I add or change information on an application once it
has been submitted?
No. Once an application is submitted no changes may be made.
How do I submit the documents required for my
Required documents must be faxed in along with the appropriate cover sheets that you were prompted to print in the last step of Part I of the application process.
Where do I go to re-print the fax cover sheets for the
required documents that I have to submit?
Go to the "My Applications" tab from your "My Overview" page, and then click on the appropriate "Submit Documents" link.
May I fax all the documents required at the same time or
do I have to fax them in individually?
The documentation may be faxed at the same time as long as the appropriate coversheet is placed in front of each document.