50-State Architecture Licensing Compliance Guide
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Illinois Architecture Industry Licensing

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Licensing requirements for architecture industry firms and individuals in Illinois.

This page provides an overview of architecture industry licensing in Illinois for individuals and firms. You will find state requirements, application fees, filing instructions, and more. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

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Company Licenses

Illinois Architecture Company Licenses

Illinois Interior Design Firm License

Not required



Interior Design Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Illinois.

Illinois does not currently license or register interior design businesses.

Illinois Landscape Architecture Firm License

Not required



Landscape Architecture Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Illinois.

More information: Illinois Landscape Architect Registration Board

Illinois Professional Design Firm Registration

Agency:Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Law:

225 ILCS 305/21; 225 ILCS 325/23; 225 ILCS 330/25; and 225 ILCS 340/19

Eligible Entity Types:
  • Business Corporations
  • Professional Corporations
  • Professional Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships (GP, LP, LLP)
  • Sole Proprietorship
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Ownership Requirements:

Business Corporations:

  • At least one Illinois licensed professional, who is a director and full-time employee, must be designated through a resolution as the managing agent in responsible charge of the practice for each professional service offered by the firm.
  • Firms that provide architectural services are required to have at least 2/3 of their board of directors licensed in any state to practice architecture, professional engineering, structural engineering or land surveying.

Professional Corporations:

  • All of the directors, officers, and shareholders must be individuals who are licensed in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.

Professional Limited Liability Companies:

  • All of the managers and members must be individuals who are licensed in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.

Partnerships:

  • At least one Illinois licensed professional, who is a partner and full-time employee, must be designated through a resolution as the managing agent in responsible charge of the practice for each professional service offered by the firm.
  • Firms that provide architectural services are required to have at least 2/3 of their partners licensed in any state to practice architecture, professional engineering, structural engineering or land surveying.
Notes:

The Illinois Secretary of State requires that all businesses organized as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and who plan to provide professional services which are regulated/licensed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, must register as a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) with the IL SOS or have an assumed name listed as a PLLC.

 

Sole Proprietorships: Registration is not required for a licensed sole proprietor who offers or provides design services in his or her individual name and is not employing other individuals to perform work for which professional licensure is required. However, any sole proprietorship conducting business as a design professional under an assumed name must register as a professional design firm. Any sole proprietorship not owned by an Illinois licensed design professional is prohibited from offering professional services to the public.

Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • Managing Agent Requirement: The organization, through official Board Resolution of the organization's Board of Directors/Members/Partners, must appoint a Managing Agent who is licensed in Illinois for the profession(s) in which the organization plans to offer and who
    will be responsible for the respective profession(s) in Illinois.
    • The managing agent must be a full-time employee of the business organization. For the profession of architecture, the named Managing Agent must also be a director, member, or partner of the business organization. A Firm may appoint more than one managing agent for a profession if desired. 
    • An individual can only be named Managing Agent of a profession for one firm at a given time.
    • A Resolution must be made for each Managing Agent that is being appointed.
    • If the fi rm’s practice includes architecture, the licensee designated as the managing agent for architecture must be a member of the board of directors, full partner, or member of PLLC or LLP and stated as such in the resolution.
    • The engineering profession must be specifi ed as either Professional Engineering or Structural Engineering. 
Requirement Notes:

Special Requirement for the practice of Architecture: Two-thirds of the individuals who make up the business organization's Board of Directors/Members/Partners must be
licensed in any of the four applicable design professions (in Illinois or any U.S. State/territory), with one being licensed in Illinois as an architect who will function as the Managing Agent for the firm.

Initial Registration

Form:

Professional Design Firm Registration Application

Filing Method:

Mail your completed application, fee, and support documents to:


Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation,
Attn: Division of Professional Regulation, Design/PSS4
P.O. Box 7007
Springfield, Illinois 62791

Agency Fee:

$75

Turnaround:

~2 weeks. Confirmation will be sent to applicants via email.

Before you Apply:

Foreign Qualification - YES
Certificate of Good Standing - YES (from Illinois)
Certified Copy of Articles of Incorporation - YES, The Purpose Clause must note each profession your firm plans to offer. 
Annual Report - YES (a filed copy of the latest Annual Report with the Illinois Secretary of State identifying the current directors)
members, and partners.
Name: Requires board approval if an assumed name is used
Ownership/ Entity:

  • Business Corporations: The purpose clause must be specific to the profession(s) for which the design firm is seeking registration, (i.e. professional engineering).
  • Professional Corporations: All of the directors, officers, and shareholders must be individuals who are licensed in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.
  • Professional Limited Liability Companies: All of the managers and members must be individuals who are licensed in one of the professions offered by the firm or a related profession.
  • Partnerships: At least one Illinois licensed professional, who is a partner and full-time employee, must be designated through a resolution as the managing agent in responsible charge of the practice for each professional service offered by the firm. Firms that provide architectural services are required to have at least 2/3 of their partners licensed in any state to practice architecture, professional engineering, structural engineering or land surveying.
  • The firm must provide the name of each director, member or partner of the firm who is a licensed design professional, as well as their license number and state of licensure. If the individual is licensed in more than one jurisdiction, only a copy of the active license of main practice is required.
  • The firm must provide a list of all Illinois office locations.

Qualified Party:

  • At least one Illinois licensed professional, who is a director and full-time employee, must be designated through a resolution as the managing agent in responsible charge of the practice for each professional service offered by the firm.
  • Obtain a copy of a signed board resolution designating the Illinois licensed design professional(s) as the managing agent(s) of the firm (to be filed with license application). The resolution must include the licensee's name and Illinois license number, that the licensee is a full-time employee of the firm, the licensee's relationship to the firm, e.g. director (if applicable), and that the licensee has been designated as the managing agent in charge of that professional practice in Illinois.
     
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the Illinois Secretary of State - Business Services Department.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing and a copy of the most recently filed annual report from the Illinois Secretary of State - Business Services Department (these documents are not required if your entity was formed within one year of submitting your firm license application).
  3. If applicable, obtain a filed copy of the application with the Illinois Secretary of State to adopt an assumed name and the letter issued by the Illinois Secretary of State approving the assumed name (to be filed with the license application).
  4. Submit a Professional Design Firm Registration Application to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. File foreign qualification documents with the Illinois Secretary of State - Business Services Department.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing and a copy of the most recently filed annual report from the Illinois Secretary of State - Business Services Department (these documents are not required if your entity was formed within one year of submitting your firm license application).
  3. If applicable, obtain a filed copy of the application with the Illinois Secretary of State to adopt an assumed name and the letter issued by the Illinois Secretary of State approving the assumed name (to be filed with the license application).
  4. Submit a Professional Design Firm Registration Application to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Required Attachments:
  • Articles of incorporation (or equivalent for any type of business entity)
  • Certificate of good standing with the Illinois Dept of State
  • Annual report identifying directors/members/partners designating licensed engineers
  • Resolution stating the designated licensed professionals and their license information
  • A filed copy of the application with the Illinois Secretary of State to adopt an assumed name and the letter issued by the state approving the assumed name (if applicable)

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$75

Due:

By April 30 of odd-numbered years. Renewals may be filed as early as 3 months prior to the expiration date.

Notes:

Renewal notices are mailed 2 months prior to the expiration date.

Required Attachments:
  • List of directors, officers, managers, or members of the firm including addresses
  • List of licensees in responsible charge of the firm's professional services
  • List of branch office locations including licensee in responsible charge

Amendment

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

If the managing agent status changes, the professional design firm must notify the Department by mail within 10 business days and notify within 30 days of the name and license number of the newly designated managing agent by submitting a Resolution of the board/members/partners and the seal and signature of the new managing agent.

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required

Reinstatement

Form:

Professional Design Firm Reinstatement Request

Agency Fee:

$75 for each renewal period missed + $50 late fee

Notes:

If the license has been expired for 5 or more years, the license holder should apply for a new license.

Required Attachments:
  • Certificate of Good Standing from the Illinois Secretary of State. Not required for partnerships or sole proprietors
    using their SSN.
  • A Board resolution appointing the Managing Agent for each profession that the firm offers. For an Architect Managing Agent, the individual must be a Director/Member/Partner of the Firm, pursuant to the Architecture Act that 2/3rds of the Board members are licensed design professionals in a U.S. jurisdiction.
  • A list of the current Board of Directors/Members/Partners with their applicable professional license numbers.

Individual Licenses

Illinois Individual Architecture Licenses

Illinois Architect License

Agency:Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set
NCARB Certificate:Not required
Completion of CE/PDH:Required
Interview:Not required
NAAB-accredited degree:Required
NCARB IDP:Required
Additional Experience:Not required
State-specific exam:Required

Initial Registration

This section applies to architects that are applying for a license in Illinois for the first time.

Form:

http://www.idfpr.com/profs/Architect.asp

Agency Fee:

$100 application fee + $100 exam fee. Every 3 years you must re-apply.

Reciprocal Registration

This section applies to architects licensed in another state that are looking for reciprocal licensure in Illinois.

Agency Fee:

$100

Registration Renewal

This section applies to architects that are already licensed in Illinois and need to renew their license.

Agency Fee:

$60

Due:

By November 30 of even-numbered years.

Illinois Interior Designer Registration

Agency:Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Form:

Reigistered Interior Designer Application

Filing Method:

File by mail.

Agency Fee:

$40 for Illinois-licensed architects (non-examination).

$100 for examination.

$100 for endorsement.

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

File online.

Agency Fee:

$20

Due:

By August 31 of odd-numbered years.

Illinois Landscape Architect License

Agency:Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Form:

Landscape Architect - Examination

Agency Fee:

$100

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$60

Due:

By August 31 of odd-numbered years.

Learn about architecture licensing in other states:

ARE (Architect Registration Examination) - Assesses candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required to be a practicing architect.

AXP (Architectural Experience Program) - NCARB program for architectural internship, a requirement for licensure that occurs after filling the educational requirements.

BEFA (Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect) - An alternative NCARB certification that allows foreign architects to independently practice architecture.

COA (Certificate of Authorization) - The most common name of the registration required for firms to practice architecture in a given state.

Design Firm - Architectural firm registration is sometimes grouped with engineering and land surveying on a single “design firm” application form.

NCARB Certification - Licensed architects have the option to become Certificate holders to signify that they have met national standards established by U.S. licensing boards for protecting public health, safety, and welfare. Certification also facilitates reciprocal registration in all 54 jurisdictions, 11 Canadian jurisdictions, and can be used to support an application for licensure in other countries.

Reciprocity - This is when a licensed architect in one state can provide documentation (often a NCARB certificate) to more easily apply for licensure in another jurisdiction.

State Board - Often referred to as the State Architects Licensure Board or Board of Architects, an individual state’s board serves as the regulatory authority for architects. The board qualifies and licenses individuals seeking architectural licensure. The board is responsible for preserving the public health, safety, and welfare of individuals who occupy built environments.

National Architecture Accrediting Board
NAAB establishes criteria for and accredits professional architecture degree programs in the United States.

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
AIAS is an independent, student-run group that promotes excellence in architecture education, training, and practice.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
AIA is a voluntary professional organization for architects providing advocacy, information, and community.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)
ACSA represents architectural education programs across the globe.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
NCARB is the national organization representing the state registration boards.

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