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Licensing

Canadian Firearms Program

See also:

A licence is your authorization to possess and register a firearm and to obtain ammunition. Your licence must be kept current for as long as you possess firearms in Canada. If your firearms licence is about to expire, renew it online today. If your licence expired on or after November 30, 2017, you are eligible for a six-month extension period in renewing your licence. The types of licences are as follows:

For Canadian residents 18 and older

  • The Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) is the only licence currently available to new applicants. It is renewable every five years. As a general rule, applicants must have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course.
  • Firearms Acquisition Certificates (FAC) issued under the former law were considered to be licences. They have all expired and need to be replaced with a PAL.

For non-residents aged 18 and older

  • A Non-resident firearms declaration that has been confirmed by a customs officer is deemed to be a temporary licence for up to 60 days.
  • Non-residents who have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course can apply for a five-year PAL.

For individuals aged 12 to 17

  • A Minors' Licence will enable young people to borrow a non-restricted rifle or shotgun for approved purposes such as hunting or target shooting. Generally, the minimum age is 12 years, but exceptions may be made for younger people who need to hunt to sustain themselves and their families. Applicants must have taken the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and passed the test.
  • Once a person turns 18, they are no longer eligible for a minor's licence. Instead, they must apply for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and pay the applicable fee.

Note

Any of the licences listed above will allow you to possess a firearm and obtain ammunition in Canada. Only the Possession and Acquisition Licence will allow you to acquire or permanently import a firearm.

For firearms businesses

A Firearms Business Licence will permit a business to carry on only those firearm-related activities specified on the licence.

Extension period

A six-month extension period for the five-year firearms Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) came into force by Order in Council on November 30, 2017.

If your license expired on or after November 30, 2017, and you are within six months of its expiration date, you can renew your licence either online or by submitting a paper application (see exemptions). Information on how to renew a firearms license is available on the Canadian Firearms Program website or by calling the Program at 1-800-731-4000.