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This information applies to firearms that are neither restricted nor prohibited, as defined in section 2 and Part III of the Criminal Code of Canada. For information on moving to Canada with restricted firearms, contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Canadian Firearms Program (CFP), by one of the methods listed at the end of this page. There are additional requirements for restricted firearms, and they will not be allowed into Canada if those requirements are not followed.
In order to lawfully possess a firearm in Canada, it is necessary to have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), which allows for the possession and acquisition of a specified class or classes of firearms. PALs are issued by the RCMP CFP.
Canadian firearms safety-training requirements must be met prior to applying for a PAL. A course from another country would not meet legal requirements.
Firearms can be brought to Canada and declared in writing, using the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration (form RCMP 5589). If there are more than three firearms, the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Continuation Sheet (form RCMP 5590) can be attached. Once a Canada Border Services Agency customs officer has confirmed the declaration, it will act as a licence for the owner for up to 60 days, for a single fee (regardless of how many firearms are listed) of $25 (Canadian funds).
To apply for a PAL, form RCMP 5592 must be submitted, including evidence that Canadian safety-training requirements have been met. The CFO of the province or territory where the firearms will be used should be contacted for information on any other documents that may need to be provided by authorities in the former country of residence to assist with the background check.
Two references must also be provided on a PAL application. It is not necessary that these references be from Canada. However, they must have known the applicant for three years or more, and must sign the form. A spouse cannot act as a reference.
Spouses or conjugal partners who have lived with the applicant in the previous two years must sign the application form (or proof provided that they were notified).
The fee for an initial PAL is $60 for non-restricted firearms. It must be renewed every five years. For more information on the current licence fee structure, please contact the CFP.
Complete and accurate PAL applications are normally processed within 45 days, including a legislated minimum waiting period of 28 days before a licence can be issued.
All firearms must be unloaded and transported in a safe and secure manner to deter loss, theft and prevent accidents.
If an individual transports firearms, they need to comply with the transportation requirements set out in the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations. For non-restricted firearms:
If the firearms are shipped, they must be sent by licensed carrier. They must be unloaded and packed in a sturdy, non-transparent container that cannot be easily broken open. To deter loss and theft, it is generally recommended that there be no markings on the outside of the container to indicate that there is a firearm inside. Instead, an envelope labeled "customs documents" can be attached to the outside of the container, while any documents needed to identify the contents for customs purposes are kept inside.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and their corresponding regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.