118 N. Clark Street Room 1160
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone Number
(312) 603-3634
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General Business License

In order to effectively protect the public health, general welfare, and safety of the citizens of Cook County, the County Board has determined that businesses operating in Unincorporated Cook County will be required to obtain a Cook County General Business License.

This new requirement will allow the County Government to ensure businesses operating in Unincorporated Cook County, are in compliance with public health and public safety standards, as well as with all other County ordinances. This will prevent illegal businesses from negatively influencing legitimate commerce and protect consumers from bad business practices.

Who has to apply:

Any person or business in unincorporated Cook County must obtain a General Business License if:

  • They maintain a fixed placed of business within unincorporated Cook County, or
  • They own or lease real property within unincorporated Cook County for business purposes, or
  • They regularly maintain a stock of tangible personal property within unincorporated Cook County for sale in the ordinary course of business.

Who is exempt:

People or companies doing business in unincorporated Cook County will not be required to purchase a general business license if:

  • You’re already required to obtain a County business license in order to comply with any other County ordinance or regulation.
  • You’re exempt under the terms of any Federal or State law or County ordinance.

First Time Applicants:

  • Are applicants who have not registered with Cook County and are doing business in Unincorporated Cook County.
  • Are a business that is exempt from the General Business License ordinance and need to obtain a Certificate of Exemption.
  • Use the First Time Applicants Online Registration to register.

Returning Applicants:

  • Already have registered with Cook County and need to apply for a General Business License. 
  • Already have applied for a General Business License and need to review the status of your application, reprint your application or change your contact information. 
  • Use the Returning Applicants Online Registration to register.