Importing and exporting

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Importing

Firearms

The Canada Border Services Agency controls firearms imports.

As a general rule, you are not allowed to carry handguns for self-protection in Canada. Non-residents can usually bring a non-restricted rifle or shotgun into Canada for approved purposes such as hunting, target shooting, wilderness protection or in-transit movement by a reasonably direct route to another point outside Canada.

If you want to bring a firearm into Canada, you must follow the laws of

You can get information on the laws of another country by contacting authorities in that country or their embassy in Canada.

Non-restricted

You must

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) permitting you to have the class of firearm that you want to import
  • verify if you need an import authorization from the country that is exporting the firearm. For more information, contact Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the authorities of the exporting country, or their embassy in Canada.

Non-residents can usually bring a non-restricted rifle or shotgun into Canada for approved purposes such as hunting, target shooting, wilderness protection or in-transit movement by a reasonably direct route to another point outside Canada.

Restricted

You must

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a PAL permitting you to have the class of firearm that you want to import
  • have the firearm verified
  • make sure the firearm is registered with the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP)
  • apply for an Authorization to Transport (ATT) in advance from the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the province/territory where you will be bringing it into Canada
  • verify if you need an authorization from the country that is exporting the firearm. For more information, contact Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the authorities of the exporting country, or their embassy in Canada.
Note

The CFP must verify and register a restricted firearm before the CFO will issue an ATT for it.

Generally, you can only import restricted firearms (handguns and some semi-automatic long guns) if you can demonstrate a need for having the firearms in Canada, for example to take part in an organized target-shooting event.

Prohibited

You cannot bring a prohibited firearm into Canada as a new import, even if you have a licence to have that class of firearm.

This includes air soft guns that meet the definition of a replica firearm, because these are prohibited. Replica firearms are those that resemble a real firearm with near precision but that cannot cause serious injury or death. Many of these have to be assessed case by case to determine if they are replicas. However, Canada Border Services Agency controls the importation of air soft guns that are not replicas. For more information, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency.

If a prohibited firearm was temporarily taken out of Canada, it can be re-imported. You must have

  • a licence permitting you to have that firearm
  • a Canadian registration certificate for the firearm
  • a Canadian import authorization
  • an authorization (if required) from the country that is exporting the firearm. For more information, contact Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the authorities of the exporting country or their embassy in Canada.

If you took the firearm out of Canada, a customs officer may ask to see a copy of your export permit when you bring it back.

Note

Individuals cannot import replica firearms. A licensed business may be able to import replica firearms for an approved purpose, such as for use in a film or theatrical production.

Shipping a firearm to Canada

  • A licensed carrier company under the Firearms Act must handle firearms that are shipped to someone in Canada.
  • The licensed carrier must ship firearms in a sturdy, non-transparent container. The container should be hard to break into and should not break open accidentally during transport.
  • The outside of the container should not have any marking to say that there are firearms inside, unless the marking is an address.
  • The CFP recommends you label an envelope "Customs Documents" and attach it firmly to the outside of the container. You can put any waybills, import permits, or export permits into the envelope.
  • You must declare all firearms at Canada Customs and pay applicable duties and taxes.

More information is available on the Canada Border Services Agency website.

Parts and ammunition

Under Canadian law, you do not need a valid firearms licence to import non-prohibited firearm parts (except for a frame or receiver). However, you may need an export permit from the other country.

You cannot import into Canada

  • prohibited ammunition
  • firearm parts that are classified as prohibited devices
    This includes handgun barrels that are 105 mm or less in length or parts made exclusively for a fully automatic firearm.

The Explosives Act limits on the amount of ammunition and ammunition components that you can import without an import permit. Generally, the Explosives Act allows you to import up to 5,000 cartridges of non-prohibited ammunition for personal use. However, you may need an import permit for smaller amounts to follow the laws of the exporting country.

More information is available on the Natural Resources Canada website.

You can also contact the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-800-461-9999 for information on declaration procedures and on applicable duty and taxes.

Exporting

Non-restricted

If you want to export a firearm out of Canada to another country, you must follow the laws of

  • Canada – under Canadian law, you may need an export permit. Contact GAC at 1-800-267-8376 for more information.
  • the country where the firearm is going – you may need an import permit
  • any other country the firearm will pass through

Note

In the United States, the laws may vary from state to state.

You cannot ship a firearm to another country using Canada Post. You must use, a licensed carrier company to transport firearms under the Firearms Act.

Restricted and prohibited

You must

  • change the records so that you are listed as the registered owner. To change the records, you will need
    • full name
    • address
    • firearm licence number
    • firearm registration certificate number
    • firearm identification number
    • proof that the firearm has been permanently exported from Canada (e.g., a copy of a Canadian export permit, or the other country's import document)
  • contact GAC at 1-800-267-8376 to verify if you need an export permit; the GAC website has information on applying for an import or an export permit for controlled goods, such as firearms or ammunition.

Send this information with a cover letter to:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Canadian Firearms Program
PO Box 1200
Miramichi, New Brunswick E1N 5Z3

Note

If you are a non-resident with restricted or prohibited firearms registered in Canada, you must notify the Registrar of Firearms at the above address if you dispose of any of your registered or prohibited firearms.

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