Business License

In the City of Elgin, all persons who conduct, engage in, maintain, operate, carry on or manage a business, either through such person or through an agent, employee or partner, shall obtain by February 1 of each year a business license for said business. For first time applicants, see below. 

First Time Applicants

Business license first time applicants need to obtain an occupancy permit first before applying for a business license. The Business Application serves as your application to obtain both your Occupancy Permit and general Business License. It usually takes new applicants 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete depending on how in depth you are in your answers.

  • Who should complete this form: Business owners that are opening a new business, expanding or relocating their business within Elgin, changing or adding services, or changing ownership.
  • When should this be completed: If your zoning is allowed, you should complete this form as the first step in your business process with the City of Elgin. If you aren’t sure if your business is allowed at your desired location, you can complete the Zoning Inquiry Form and submit it to Community Development for review.
  • Next steps: Once your application is completed, print it and bring it into the Community Development Department along with all of your additional documents and your Business Application fee. Please refer to the fee schedule for the appropriate fee. Payment must be submitted along with your form for it to be processed. Once the forms are submitted, city staff will review them and determine if you have any additional permit applications that need to be completed based on your answers. Staff will respond to you within 7-10 business days. Our response to you will include everything you need to know from estimated permit fee costs to any additional applications to next steps you would need to take. Once the process is complete and all inspections are passed, then you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy and a Business License. Opening a business can be a quick or long process depending on the location, zoning, and type of business. We are here to help you from start to finish. 

Updating your information

Businesses are required to notify the city of any changes to their business. To report a change in contact information, a modification to business services, change in ownership, or relocation within Elgin, please complete the Business ApplicationOnce the application is completed, you can print it and bring it into the Community Development Department or mail it to: City Hall, Attn: Community Development, 150 Dexter Ct, Elgin, IL 60120.

Look up Business License

Businesses can look up their business license online

Renew General Business License 

There is no fee to renew the general business license. The general business license will be mailed automatically prior to the new year.  License with a fee can be renewed online. Once in the portal, choose I Want To, Pay For, License Renewal. The license number and PIN can be found on the renewal notice mailed to you by the City of Elgin. 

Other Types of Specific Business Licenses

If your business engages in an activity that requires a specific business license from the city (such as a food establishment license or liquor license), the annual fee for that particular license remains in effect. You can renew and pay for your business licenses online


For any questions regarding the business license or the process outlined above, please contact our 311 department by dialing 3-1-1 or 847-931-6001 if outside of Elgin. You can also contact 311 by email.  You can also visit the Doing Business Page for more information, helpful tips, and more.