City of Chicago Licensing Requirements for Businesses

Title 4 of the Chicago Municipal Code requires all businesses located within Chicago to register their businesses with the department of business affairs and consumer protection unless the particular business is specifically excluded from registration. A separate license is required for each separate business location. The following information is required to be provided for a license:

(1) the names of the owners, general partners and officers;

(2) the addresses for all locations within Chicago;

(3) a detailed and comprehensive description of the business;

(4) whether the business has ever filed for bankruptcy;

(5) whether the business was purchased as part of a bulk sale; and

(6) any further information requested by the commissioner of business affairs and consumer protection.

Except under certain circumstances, a business can elect either a two of four year license renewal period. If a business intends to change its location, a new license must be obtained before the business can start operating at the new location. Ownership of licenses cannot be transferred.

A business’s ability to operate between midnight and 5:00 a.m. is considered a severable privilege. The privilege to operate during that time period may be suspended or terminated if it is determined that the business creates a nuisance during those hours.