Before you start your firearm certificate application read through some of the topics we're most commonly asked about, from certificate types to transporting firearms. If you’re ready to begin your application, visit How to apply for a firearm or shotgun certificate.
Which certificate do you need?
To find out which certificate you need take a look at the table below to see how the characteristics of a gun, not its name, define the certificate.
Rifled barrel, firing ammunition
Shotgun or musket
Smooth bore, firing cartridges or blanks
Capable of holding more than three cartridges
Kinetic energy in excess of 12ft/lbs
There are some circumstances in which you can shoot without a certificate. For details, and to find out more about the UK firearms licensing laws, visit the UK government’s website.
There are two kinds of explosives certificate available. An acquire only certificate authorises the holder to acquire and use a designated amount of explosives on that day only. Any unused explosives must be either returned to the supplier or suitably destroyed.
Acquire and keep certificates
An acquire and keep certificate authorises the holder to store an approved amount of explosives at a specified location. The maximum holding approved will depend on the type of explosive and the storage facility in place.
Certificate approval and prohibited people
All applications are subject to standard police checks and applicants are interviewed by a firearms enquiry officer (FEO) at their home address. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
A person who has been given a suspended sentence (after July 2014), or sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training, for a period between three months and three years is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition for a period of five years from date of release or date of sentence in the case of suspended sentences.
A person who has been given a suspended sentence (after July 2014), or sentenced to imprisonment, detention or corrective training, for a period of three years or more is prohibited for life from having any firearm, including air weapons, or ammunition in their possession.
It's an offence to sell or transfer a firearm, shotgun or ammunition to a person you have grounds to believe may be prohibited.
A visitor’s permit allows an overseas resident to travel into the UK to attend various shooting events. The visitor will need a sponsor who is resident in the UK. This person does not need to be a certificate holder.
A permit may be valid up to twelve months, but the validity will normally relate to the duration of the proposed visit.
If you hold a firearm, shotgun or explosives certificate and move to a new permanent address, you must notify us as soon as possible. Use our online form and be sure to tell us:
your full name
your current certificate number
your old and new address
your plans for storing the firearms
any change in contact information or GP details if applicable
If you have any further questions about firearm certificates click ‘Start’ below to complete our quick and simple online form, or call the Firearms Enquiries Team on 0207 161 4750 (open 10am - 4pm weekdays only).
Please note, we can't answer questions regarding the receipt of applications or posting of certificates or other administration.