Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Importing and Exporting Firearms (Individuals)

Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Residents

Information for Non-residents, Including Canadian Citizens who have been Living Outside Canada

Canadian Residents

Q. Can I buy a firearm in another country and bring it Canada?

Firearm imports are controlled at the border by the Canada Border Services Agency. As a general rule, the Firearms Act allows individuals to import a restricted or non-restricted firearm if they have a Possession and Acquisition Licence giving them acquisition privileges for that class of firearm. For more information, please refer to the fact sheet on importing firearms. Individuals cannot bring a prohibited firearm into Canada as a new import even if they are licensed to acquire that class of firearm.

Please check the laws of the other country as well.

Q. Do I need an export permit to take or ship a firearm out of Canada?

If the firearm is being exported to the United States, individuals only need an export permit if the firearm is prohibited.

An export permit is required for any class of firearm being exported to a country other than the United States, even if the export is only temporary – for example, if someone takes a firearm to another country to hunt or to target shoot. When individuals apply for an export permit, they must include an import permit from the country of destination and from any other countries that the firearm will be travelling through en route.

To get an application and more information, individuals may contact the Export Controls Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) at 1-800-267-8376 or 613-944-4000, or by sending a fax to 613-996-9709. Faxed information should include a mailing address where DFAIT can send an application form.

Authorities of the country to which the firearms are being exported and any other countries that the firearms may be passing through should be contacted for information on requirements under their laws.

If a restricted or prohibited firearm is being exported permanently, the Registrar of Firearms must be given written notice and provided evidence, such as a copy of an export document from Canada or an import document from another country, that the firearm is no longer in Canada. This can be mailed to the Canadian Firearms Registry, Canadian Firearms Program, Ottawa, ON K1A 0R2.

Q. If I take a firearm out of Canada, what documents do I need to be able to bring it back into Canada?

Individuals are required to have a firearms licence authorizing possession of the class of firearm. If the firearm is restricted or prohibited, a registration certificate and an Authorization to Transport (ATT) are also required. Individuals can apply for an ATT by calling 1-800-731-4000. It is important to note that if a firearm is transported to another country, it may require an export permit from the Export Controls Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. A customs officer may ask to see a copy of that permit when the firearm is brought back to Canada.

Q. What do I need to do to import ammunition and ammunition components? Are there any limits to the amount of ammunition I may import?

Ammunition is regulated primarily by the Explosives Act, which is administered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). For more information individuals may consult NRCan's web site.

Individuals may also contact the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-800-461-9999 or refer to their web site for information on declaration procedures and on applicable duty and taxes.

Q. Can I import parts for my firearm?

All imports are controlled at the border by the Canada Border Services Agency. As a general rule, individuals may import a frame/receiver of a restricted or non-restricted firearm if they have a Possession and Acquisition Licence that is valid for that class of firearm. Individuals need to register the frame/receiver before bringing it into Canada, if it's for a restricted firearm.

Certain firearm parts, such as those made exclusively for a fully automatic firearm, require an import permit or an International Import Certificate from the Export Controls Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). For more information, individuals may call DFAIT at 1-800-267-8376 or 613-944-4000, or send a fax to 1-613-996-9709.

Q. Can I import an air soft gun?

Air soft guns that meet the definition of a replica firearm are prohibited. Replica firearms are devices that resemble a real firearm (other than an antique firearm) with near precision but that cannot cause serious injury or death. Many of these devices have to be assessed case by case to determine if they are replicas.

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

The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for controlling the import of air soft guns that are not replicas – for example, devices that resemble a generic firearm but not a specific make or model of firearm. For more information, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency.

Provincial regulations may also apply. For example, some provinces may set a minimum age for acquiring an air soft gun.

Information for Non-residents, Including Canadian Citizens who have been Living Outside Canada

Q. Can a non-resident bring firearms into Canada?

The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for deciding whether to let a non-resident bring a firearm into Canada. As a general rule, non-residents may 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 firearms (mainly handguns and some semi-automatic long guns) can generally only be imported if the person can demonstrate a need for having the firearms in Canada – for example to take part in an organized target-shooting event.

For more information on the documents required by non-residents to import a firearm, please refer to the fact sheet for firearm owners visiting Canada.

Q. I tried to register online the firearms that I am planning to bring into Canada, but I don't have a licence. What are my options?

Individuals can meet Canada's licence and registration requirements by presenting a Non-resident Firearm Declaration (form RCMP 5589) to a customs officer at their point of entry. If an individual has more than three firearms, he or she should attach the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration - Continuation Sheet (form RCMP 5590). Once the customs officer has confirmed the declaration, it will serve as a temporary licence for the individual and a registration certificate for any restricted firearm listed on the declaration for up to 60 days. A confirmed declaration costs a flat fee of $25 Canadian.

Q. As a non-resident, can I obtain a five-year Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and register my firearms in Canada for a longer term than 60 days?

Yes, if the individual is 18 or older. To apply for a PAL, form RCMP 5592 must be completed and submitted. Proof that the individual has passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course should be provided with the application. If an individual wishes to be licensed to possess restricted firearms for an approved purpose such as target shooting, he or she must also include proof that they have passed the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course. If the individual has not yet passed the tests, they will need to do so before applying for a PAL. A course from another country will not meet the requirements of the law. Invididuals can take the tests without taking the courses.

Before submitting the application, individuals should contact the Chief Firearms Officer of the province or territory where they will most likely be using the firearm to find out what documentation they need to provide from authorities in their country to confirm that they are not known to be a threat to public safety. The two references required to sign the application do not have to be Canadian citizens or persons in authority but do need to be capable of communicating in English or French. An initial PAL costs $60 for non-restricted firearms only, or $80 for any combination of non-restricted and restricted firearms.

Once individuals have obtained a licence, they can apply online to register their restricted firearms. Alternatively, they may submit a paper application (form RCMP 5624) to the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP)'s Central Processing Site, Box 1200, Miramichi, NB E1N 5Z3. All firearms need to be verified by an approved verifier, and restricted firearms must be registered. For help to verify firearms, individuals may call 1-800-731-4000 (in Canada and the U.S.) or 1-506-624-5380 (outside Canada and the U.S.).

If individuals dispose of a firearm that is registered to them, they should advise the CFP by calling 1-800-731-4000 (from Canada or the U.S.) or 1-506-624-5380 (from any other country), or send an e-mail with their name and firearms licence number, as well as the registration certificate number and a description of the firearm, to cfp-pcaf@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Q. Do I need to complete the Non-Resident Firearms Declaration and pay the $25 fee if I have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and have registered my firearms in Canada?

Individuals who have a firearms licence, and the registration certificates for any restricted firearms, need only to show those documents to the Canada Border Services Agency customs officer at their point of entry into Canada. Their declaration can be made orally rather than in writing and there is no fee.

Q. Is my carry permit valid in Canada?

No. As a general rule, individuals are not allowed to carry handguns for self-protection in Canada.

Q. Is pepper spray allowed in Canada?

The Criminal Code of Canada and its related regulations prohibit "Mace" and similar products designed to injure, immobilize or incapacitate a person. Bear sprays and similarly devices clearly designed for protection from wild animals are allowed.

Q. I have been convicted of a DWI/DUI/criminal offence. Will this affect my ability to bring a firearm to Canada?

Individuals who have been convicted of anything considered a criminal offence in Canada, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, should consult Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration before coming to Canada.

Q. Can a non-resident minor use firearms in Canada?

A non-resident minor cannot bring a firearm to Canada, but they can use a firearm under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed adult aged 18 or older. Alternatively, they can apply for a Minors' Licence that will allow them to borrow a non-restricted rifle or shotgun for purposes such as hunting with a properly licensed outfitter.

Q. I don't own firearms but I would like to borrow one while I am visiting Canada. What do I need to do?

Non-residents over 18 may apply for a Non-Resident Temporary Borrowing Licence for Non-Restricted Firearms (form RCMP 5513) for purposes such as hunting, to take part in target shooting activities, for protection from wild animals during business or scientific activities in a wilderness area, to use in a film or theatrical production or publishing activities, or to use in a pageant or parade. A sponsor associated with the intended activity is needed, such as an outfitter or Canadian resident licensed to hunt in the province where you will be hunting. The sponsor can apply on your behalf. This licence is valid for 60 days and costs $30 Canadian.

Non-residents under 18 may apply for a Minors' Licence to borrow non-restricted rifles and shotguns if they have taken the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and passed the written and practical tests for the course.

Regardless of your age, a licence is not needed to use borrowed firearms under the direct and immediate supervision of a properly licensed individual.

Q. I am moving to Canada. May I bring my firearms with me?

Prohibited firearms may not be brought to Canada. Information on what steps to take to bring other classes of firearms to Canada can be obtained from the fact sheet for firearm owners moving to Canada.