The International Biathlon Union (IBU) was founded in London on 2 July 1993. This occurred when the National Biathlon Union in London decided to exclude biathlon from the World Federation UIPMB (Union de Pentathlon Moderne et Biathlon), which it had been part of since 1953, forcing biathlon to form their own international federation. During the congress the new federation elected their executive committee and the 57 existing members of the UIPMB were automatically transferred to the IBU. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not recognise the IBU as an international Olympic winter sport federation until August 1998. In the same year, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) declared the IBU as a proper member.

The IBU settled in Salzburg, Austria in June 1999.

A congress is held every two years, and is considered the most important organ of the IBU according to its constitution. The first congress was held in Salzburg, in 1994, then in Östersund, Sweden in 1996, Salzburg, Austria in 1998, Calgary, Canada in 2000, Nice, France in 2002, and the 2004 congress was held in Varna, Bulgaria. The first extensive board meeting took place in August 1993 in Darmstadt, Germany. Since then over 50 board meetings have been held.

Since the foundation of the IBU, seven World Championships for men and women have been held, as well as ten junior World Championships. There have also been two youth World Championships held (the first being held in 2002). There have been 84 World Cups, and the European Championships have been conducted for both senior and junior athletes since the 1994/95 season.

The first summer biathlon World Championships took place in Hochfilzen, Austria in 1996. During the 1999/2000 season, the IBU assumed the management of archery biathlon from FITA, and archery biathlon World Cups and World Championships have been held since 2002.

In the first Winter Olympics in which biathlon was included there were three events and up until the 2006 games, four. From 2006 onward there have been five biathlon events. (Relay, Individual, Mass Start, Sprint and Pursuit), and from 2014, six with the inclusion of the Mixed Relay.

The International Biathlon Union (IBU; German: Internationale Biathlon-Union) is the international governing body of biathlon. Its headquarters are in Salzburg, Austria.