Getting a Concealed Handgun License

Qualifications

To qualify for a Texas CHL you must:
  1. Be 21 years old. (Members and former members of the armed forces must be 18.)
  2. Have a clean criminal history, including military service and recent juvenile records.
  3. Not be under a protective order.
  4. Not be chemically dependent.
  5. Not be of unsound mind.
  6. Not be delinquent in paying fines, fees, child support, etc.
  7. Be eligible to purchase a handgun by completing the NICS check.
  8. Complete required training.
More information on the specifics of qualifying are available on the DPS Concealed Handgun License site. If you have specific questions concerning your personal eligibility, we at TCHA cannot answer them. Please contact CHLS.

Applying for the License

There are two steps to the application process, taking a training course and completing an application. These are concurrent; you can do either one first.
  1. Taking a Training Course
    1. Find a DPS Qualified Instructor. TCHA member instructors are listed on this site.
    2. Take the training course. As of September 1, 2013, the class will require 4 to 6 classroom hours, and includes a written examination. In addition, there is a shooting practical. You must pass each with a score of 70% or better.
      1. The written exam covers law, nonviolent conflict resolution, and handgun use and storage. It is not mainly about shooting.
      2. The shooting practical requires you to fire fifty rounds from a handgun of .32 caliber or greater, including 20 shots at three yards, 20 at seven yards, and 10 at fifteen yards.
    3. After you pass both tests the instructor will make two copies of Form CHL-100, which you must both sign. You will get one of them to mail in with the supplementary forms to your application.
  2. Completing an Application. There are two ways to approach this part of the process, submit a request by internet and download forms to mail in The online process is preferred, the mail-in process is much more complicated.
    1. Submit a request by internet
      1. Visit the DPS Concealed Handgun site at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/chlsindex.htm.
      2. If you are a senior citizen, active military or a veteran, an active or retired judge, peace officer, or prosecutor, or indigent see Licensing Fees and Required Documents which lists reduced license fees and additional forms to submit.
      3. Click on Downloadable Forms. Download or print:
        • If you don't have a Texas driver's license or ID card, download a CHL-6.pdf, Photo Holder. If you haave Texas ID, that photo will be used.
        • CHL-16.pdf, Texas Concealed Handgun Laws.
        • If your place of birth is outside of the United States review CHL-40.pdf, Notice - Non-Immigrant - Visa.
      4. Click Apply for a New Concealed Handgun License or Instructor Certificate. You will need:
        • Your Social Security Number As of September 1, 2013, this will no longer be required.
        • Your valid Texas Driver License or Texas Identification card.
        • Current demographic, address, contact, and employment information.
        • Residential and employment information for the last five years.
        • Information regarding any psychiatric, drug, alcohol, or criminal history.
        • Your valid email address.
        • A valid credit card. (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express)
          Note that all fees are non-refundable.
      5. Complete the online process.
      6. Obtain two passport photos, only if you have out of state ID.
      7. Have fingerprints taken.
        • Have your prints scanned by Safran. Their prints are 98% reliable, and they instantly transmit them to DPS. Note:
          • Safran does not take walk-ins, you must make an appointment.
          • Safran cannot take your prints until DPS has received your application. You must complete your online application before your fingerprint appointment.
        • DPS will no longer accept rolled ink prints.
      8. Mail to Department of Public Safety:
        • The DPS checklist printed at the end of the application process.
        • The completed Photo Holder with two passport photos, only if your ID is out of state.
        • Documentation required if you apply under a special condition.
        • Completed CHL-100, Concealed Handgun Proficiency Certificate provided by your instructor.
      9. Hints:
        • If you mail documents to CHLS "signature required" it adds several days to their processing time.
        • If you're a belt and suspenders type, like me, print off or photocopy everything.
        • If there are no problems license processing should take about 60 days.
        • When you recieve your Concealed Handgun License check it over to make sure the information is correct.
    2. Download forms to submit by mail
      1. Visit the DPS Concealed Handgun site at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/chlsindex.htm.
      2. If you are a senior citizen, active military or a veteran, an active or retired judge, peace officer, or prosecutor, or indigent see Licensing Fees and Required Documents which lists reduced license fees and additional forms to submit.
      3. Click on Downloadable Forms. Download or print:
        • CHL-6.pdf, Photo Holder. If you have an out-of-state drivers license.
        • CHL-16.pdf, Texas Concealed Handgun Laws.
        • Review CHL-40.pdf, Notice - Non-Immigrant - Visa, if your place of birth is outside of the United States.
        • CHL-78A.pdf, Original Application Form.
        • CHL-78B.pdf, Address & Business History Form, if you have changed your residence or employment in the past five years.
        • CHL-78C.pdf, Reported History Form, if you have any mental health or criminal history to explain.
        • CHL-85.pdf, Authorization for Release of Records.
        • CHL-86.pdf, Knowledge of Laws Affidavit.
      4. Fill out the downloaded forms. Note that the two affidavits, CHL-85 and CHL-86, must be notarized.
      5. If you have an out-of-state drivers license, obtain two passport photos. Some instructors provide this service.
      6. Have fingerprints taken.
        • Have your prints scanned by Safran. Their prints are 98% reliable, and they instantly transmit them to DPS. Note:
          • Safran does not take walk-ins, you must make an appointment.
          • Safran cannot take your prints until DPS has received your application. You must complete your online application before your fingerprint appointment.
        • DPS will no longer accept rolled ink prints.
      7. Mail to Department of Public Safety:
        • The completed Application Form, including part B or C if required.
        • If you submit CHL-78C, any documentation it requires.
        • The completed Photo Holder with two passport photos, if you have out of state ID.
        • Two notarized affidavits.
        • Documentation required if you apply under a special condition or were born outside the U.S.
        • The completed CHL-100, Concealed Handgun Proficiency Certificate provided by your instructor.
        • The required fee in the form of a personal check, cashier's check, or money order. NOTE: It is a very bad idea to bounce a check on the Texas DPS.
      8. Hints:
        • If you mail documents to CHLS "signature required" it adds several days to their processing time.
        • If you're a belt and suspenders type, like me, print off or photocopy everything.
        • If there are no problems license processing should take about 60 days.
        • When you recieve your Concealed Handgun License check it over to make sure the information is correct.
If you need to modify your license to change your name or address, or replace a lost or destroyed license, DPS has the forms online.

Good luck! And why not become a TCHA member. TCHA Home Page


© 2013; Texas Concealed Handgun Association. Contact TCHA.