Travelling Overseas with Firearms
 


 

Travelling overseas with firearms can seem daunting, but if you know the process and start your planning and paperwork early enough, you should have no problems.

 

All countries will have different requirements around paperwork, but as we NZers travel to Australia most frequently, the example given here relates to Australia and the upcoming YOG / CFSC / Oceania event to be held in Brisbane, Queensland (QLD).  We are still waiting on confirmation as to whether NZSF will be doing the import/export paperwork for this event as a bulk lot, but the procees will be similar either way.

The general process is the same for all of Australia, but some of the forms can differ between states, so make sure you are using the right forms for your destination.

 

Initial planning - do this early.

Get this all started WELL in advance – at least 2 months before the competition, but earlier is better.  It can take some time to get all the paperwork in place, and you need to do the following before you can start applying for your documents.
 

  1. Check your NZ Firearms Licence is valid for the full term of your trip - receiving a renewal of a NZ Licence can take 3-4 months.
     
  2. Enter the competition, or email the organisers and ask for an invitation to it.  New Zealand Shooting Federation has letters of invitation for Australian events on the NZSF website at times. Some states require proof of the competition to be included with their International Visitor Permit application.
     
  3. Apply for an ISSF Athlete ID number if you don't already have one.  Email Gavin Paton at NZSF for the form to apply; check the ISSF Athletes Database if you're not sure if you have an ID number or not.
     
  4. Book your flights – make sure that the airline you choose can take firearms and ammunition to your destination (Air NZ is no problem for Australia). 

    Remember to advise the airline that you will be carrying a firearm and ammunition – you can do this by phone after you’ve booked.  They will register your info on your ticket and usually record firearm make, model and serial number, also sometimes the weight of your ammunition.   Ammunition must be under 5kg – but as 5kg is about 1200 rounds of .22 ammo, this shouldn’t be a problem.
     
  5. Book your accommodation.  (No need to mention firearms here).
     
  6. Arrange travel insurance.  The NZSF Sports Travel Insurance policy is a good one you can use, but whichever policy you do get, make sure that you let them know you will have firearms and specify your rifle if it is over the Per Item limit.


IMPORTANT – At a minimum you HAVE TO arrange flights and accommodation BEFORE you apply for your documents as those details need to be included on the document applications.

 

The Documents – apply well in advance

 

To get into Queensland, Australia:

  1. Apply for an International Visitor's Licence.   A Queensland Visitor's Licence will cost AU$ 48.55.

    The QLD Visitor's Licence Application states you must include a copy of your local Club Membership Card - please contact the TSNZ Office if you've lost your Membership Card and need a new one.
     
  2. Apply for a Certificate to Import Firearms (B709A) - forms can be downloaded from the tabs on this page.   
     

Note that each State may have different costs, forms and processes for entry - for example, in Queensland you do need to complete a separate B709A application but in other states you may not have to.  Sometimes you can email your applications and may or may not receive a confirmation by email, but the original Permit and B709A Certificate will arrive by post.

If you are travelling through different states with your firearms you may need separate Permits for every state. Some states will accept other states overseas Visitor Firearms Permit, check on the Police website for this.

 

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Documents & Info for Queensland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Documents for other States:







To return to NZ:

  1. If this is the first time you have exported anything from Australia you will first need to apply to be a Client in the Integrated Cargo System (B319), and will receive an ID Number which you then use for all exports in the future. This takes some time so apply for this early - use the Cargo Client Application B319 form for this.
     
  2. Once you have your ID Number apply for an Australian Export Declaration (B957).
     
  3. And apply for an RGP -  Restricted Goods Permit (DEC07)

    Note that the RGP is only valid for 28 days, so DO NOT apply for this too early, wait until you are within 28 days of the date you are leaving Australia.  Also, even if you think you will use all your ammunition while you are away, it makes sense to declare some on the RGP just in case.  If you don’t, you will not be able to bring ANY ammunition out of Australia, and they don’t mind if you have less than you have declared (or even none).

    You can email the B957 and RGP applications off to be processed in advance, in which case you should receive the processed forms by email and will need to take these with you when you travel.  Make sure to include your International Visitor Firearm Permit with the application, along with details of your travel plans.Or you can lodge them with the Customs office at the airport you will be departing from once you are overseas.  The office will need around 4 days to process them and then you collect the processed forms at that same Customs office when you get your rifle checked on the day you leave.   If you can do it in advance it is definitely less stressful – keep in mind the 4 days can’t include weekends or public holidays.
     
  4. Apply for a NZ Police Permit to Import Firearms (POL67).  This can be done by email and you should receive this back fairly quickly.  Often the form you receive back (POL67E) will be valid for 6-12 months, so may be able to be used for multiple re-entries into NZ.
     
  5. Advise MFAT that you are exporting an exempted sporting firearm - use the MFAT Advice Form.
     

Travelling

Leaving NZ:

Remember to take all your paperwork with you, also your NZ Firearms Licence and Passport.  It’s a good idea to have an extra copy in your checked in luggage, email yourself a copy, or have it saved somewhere “in the cloud”.

Pack your rifle separately from the bolt and ammunition.  Put locks on your rifle case, and cover the locks with tape so they don’t catch on things in the cargo hold.  Pack your ammunition in your checked-in luggage in its original packaging (i.e. the Eley / RWS packets etc).  Make sure you haven't left ANY loose ammunition in your bullet block.  Ammunition weight needs to be less than 5kg.  Pack your bolt in your checked-in luggage.  You can take a scope in carry-on luggage if you want, but no firearms parts.  All this will be asked about when you check in.

Check in early (at least an hour earlier than the normal final check-in time), and expect that some airport staff do not deal with firearms very often so may take some time to process you.  When you check in you will have to declare your firearm and ammunition, and sign a red/white tag that is attached to the luggage.  Keep the other copy of this safe as you will need to present this when you pick up your luggage on arrival.  Rifles (and sometimes gear bags) are put through the “Oversize Luggage” sections after check-in.

 

Arriving in Australia:

Your rifle won’t arrive on the usual luggage carousel, although your other bags might.  You will have to go to the Oversize Luggage section to pick up your rifle, and usually (but not always) will need to show the copy of the red/white tag you signed in NZ to prove that it is your bag.  Then take everything to the inbound queues as usual.

Make sure you have declared you have a firearm on the inbound entry form, then you will be sent to the Border Security section to be checked.  You need to produce your NZ Firearms Licence, Passport, Visitor Permit and B709A, and will be asked to open up your rifle case so your rifle’s serial number can be checked against this paperwork.  In some airports you will also need to show your ammunition, however in others you don’t.  Airport staff will take copies of your paperwork, but make sure you get your original Visitor Permit back.  This can all take some time, but shouldn’t actually be too stressful.

Also don’t forget to declare if you have any food or other items they ask about – even with your firearm all those other rules still apply.  And please remember that you are representing NZ at this stage, so no jokes about Australian security processes (or firearms)!

 

While in Australia:

Storage of firearms/ammunition – in most cases you will be required to store your rifle and ammunition in the armoury at the range the competition is at.  If you do, make sure you have everything labelled and locked, including your ammunition box and gearbag.

Always keep your Visitor Permit and Firearms Licence with you.  At some ranges you will need this to log-in every day you arrive.

 

Leaving Australia:

Again make sure you arrive at the airport VERY early.  You need your processed Australian Export Declaration (B957) and Restricted Goods Permit (RGP) (take the processed forms you received by email in advance, or the Customs office will have the processed forms if you lodged them there when you arrived), plus your Firearms Licence and Passport to the Customs Office in the airport BEFORE you check-in, and sometimes there are huge queues there.  Don’t tape your locks before this, as you will have to open up your rifle case to have the serial number checked by Customs – tape them after this check. 

In some airports you will then be escorted by Customs staff to the check-in desk to pass your rifle and bags over, in others they let you get there yourself, sometimes it just depends how busy they are.

 

Arriving back in NZ:

Again pick up your rifle at the Oversize Luggage section.  In Auckland Airport you will then need to go to the Police Desk to have serial numbers and paper work (NZ Firearms Licence and Permit to Import Firearms (POL67E), checked before you join the usual Customs queues.  If you have not already been checked by the Police, declaring the firearm on the inbound form will have you sent to the Security section at Customs, where they will send for a member of the NZ Police.   Your Import Permit will be stamped and/or signed, and make sure you keep a copy of this as you may be able to use it again.  Once this is done you may need to put everything through the X-Ray machine (depending on the airport), and they will probably ask you again if the Police have checked your gear too.

And feel free at this stage to let our NZ Customs guys and Police know how many medals you’ve managed to win from the Aussies!

The final step once you’re home is to advise the office of the NZ Police where you applied for your Permit to Import that you have returned, and they will mark this off on their copy of the POL67E.

Keep a file with copies of all the documents so that you can copy them when you need to apply for them again.

 

Welcome home - next time you travel it will all seem so easy!