Traveling internationally with firearms can be nerve-wracking and often times can cause lots of unnecessary stress and worry. What I've done here for you is compile as much information as possible to assist with your travels, listing some of the major airports in countries around the world that you could possibly encounter. Please, do your due diligence and confirm this information before your flight because we are not travel agents, and as countries change their rules, some of this data may eventually be replaced with new documents and protocols. I'll do my absolute best to keep this page as current as I can.
Leaving the country with a firearm requires a US Customs and Border Protection document 4457. The link for how we recommend securing that document is below, along with an application and contact information of a CBP Officer who is kind enough to assist Gerhart Outdoors clients with a fast-track to getting the document filled out, complete, and validated.
Traveling to/through South Africa with Firearms
- It is very important that you check ahead of travel whether your airline can check your firearms completely through to your final destination if you are flying through South Africa. If they can, you will just stay in-transit. You will not go through Customs or go through the temporary firearm import process. If South Africa is your final destination, you will need to go through the temporary firearm import permit process and also clear Customs.
- If your airline does not transfer your firearms to your connecting flight, you will have to collect your firearms and go through the whole entry process.
- This applies if you are also staying overnight in South Africa before travelling on to your destination country. Details for how to apply for a Temporary firearm import permit can be provided by Gerhart Outdoors or NB Safaris. Simply shoot us an email and we will explain it as well as provide assistance with the documentation.
- If you are staying overnight in South Africa while in-transit to another country, the firearms and ammunition must be under your direct supervision at all times, (including in a vehicle) or stored in a safe in accordance of the requirements of the SA Firearms Control Act. The firearms may not be used in South Africa. You will be required to keep your completed and approved permit with you at all times.
- A word of caution...even if your firearm is checked all the way through to the final destination, it is not uncommon for onward domestic and regional international flights to be cancelled and you may have an unintended overnight layover if it's the last flight of the day going to your destination. In this case you will need to clear your firearms through customs and get a temporary firearm import permit. So just in case, before any travel with a firearm which involves South Africa, make sure you can comply with the South Africa firearm and ammo import regulations and have have the required documents, including the letter of invitation from the hunt outfitter.
Flying through Amsterdam with Rifles to NB
- A separate consent document must be completed for each transit with firearms through Amsterdam Airport - one for outbound and one for inbound flights, if you are returning through Amsterdam. It is very important you don't forget to apply for your return journey - if you don't have it, the firearms can't travel and you may wait many months before they are returned to you.
- First, download and correctly complete the required number of documents for your trip.
- The Dutch Consent Form may be downloaded as a PDF file and completed by hand or saved on your computer, completed, printed and signed.
- There is a supplementary page to add if you run out of space to answer Question 7 (precise details of each firearm).
- If you need further help, go to Dutch Customs website.
Further Documentation To Submit With Your Application
At the bottom of Questions 5 & 6 on Dutch Consent Application Form...you are asked to enclose a copy of the hunting licence or accreditation or authorization and a copy of the passport or identity card of the consignor with the application.
- The 'accreditation' or 'authorisation' is basically a letter of invitation to hunt from your outfitter. Ask your outfitter to send you a signed letter on headed company paper to the effect of where you will be hunting, for how long, with his contact details and hunting/outfitter licence numbers. This is the letter of motivation/invitation required for a temporary firearms permit in South Africa. You can email the office in South Africa directly for one of these if you do not already have it. That Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make a copy of your passport photo & details page.
- Make a copy of a document proving your ownership of the firearm(s). This can be in the form of the US Customs Form 4457 OR your Firearms Certificate or Permit.
After signing, you can submit the application form with the accompanying documents by email to email@example.com or send it to the following address by post: Belastingdienst/Douane Groningen/team Centrale dienst voor in- en uitvoer, Postbus 3070, 6401 DN Heerlen, The Netherlands.
Traveling through London, UK with Firearms
- If you arrive at one terminal and depart from another in the same UK airport, you will not be allowed to take possession of your firearms. Make arrangement with your airline to transfer the firearms from the terminal of arrival to the terminal of departure or from one airline to another.
- If you arrive at Heathrow Airport and depart from Gatwick Airport or vice versa, you are not allowed to take your firearms with you for the road transfer between the airports. You will need to arrange a bonded courier service, licenced to carry firearms and ammunition, to take your rifles from the point of your arrival to point of departure at the onward airport.
- Go to British International Freight Association to find a recommended bonded courier.
Traveling through Dubai, UAE with Firearms
- Prior clearance for transiting with your firearms must be obtained in advance from the Dubai Airport Police Department and the Department of Civil Aviation.
- As you will probably be travelling with Emirates to/from Dubai, the 'Emirates Airlines Details of Weapons' form will have been completed. Approval for your firearm to travel via Dubai is only granted after Emirates present the form to, and receive the approval of the Dubai Airport Police Department and the Department of Civil Aviation. So there is nothing further you need to do in this process.
- See Airline Firearms Regulations for Emirates to download the form and details of where to send it.
- If you are actually entering Dubai for a short period, the firearm will be kept with the police after giving you a receipt and a contact number of the personnel keeping the firearm.
- If Dubai International Airport is your only transit point and you wish to continue your travel a few hours later, the firearm will be moved to the next flight directly.
Traveling through Germany with Firearms
In recent years, Germany has issued conflicting information on whether you need a transit permit to travel with firearms through Frankfurt. If you are flying to Africa via Frankfurt the best advice is to inquire before booking. Currently, this is the information we have...
- From November 2018, passengers with firearms who wish to transit Frankfurt airport, must apply for a transfer license with the weapon authority of Frankfurt. The applications and the issuance of the permits can only be done online via the Online Application.
- The documents necessary for the application such as identification documents and firearms permits can be uploaded via the application portal.
- There is a fee currently of 20€ payable with credit card or PayPal.
- If approved, you will receive the permit in an email which you must print with the accompanying certificate with security features. You must present both documents to the customs authority at the airport in Frankfurt.
- On arrival you must go through the Red Customs channel and declare your firearm(s) and ammo. Customs will check the make, caliber and serial number of the firearm.
- If you are just having a short overnight stopover in Germany, you may want to leave your firearms and ammunition with Customs. After collecting your firearm case in the baggage hall, take it to the Customs Office where you will get a receipt when you hand in the firearm case. Do not mislay this because you need to show it at check-in for your next flight. The firearms will then be loaded on the flight directly without you taking possession of them again. Check in as early as possible in case there are delays with this procedure.
Traveling through France with Firearms
- Website links to French firearm carriage information for private individuals are not working. It is recommended you contact a French Embassy for up-to-date information on transiting with firearms in France.
- You are allowed to bring into the country two hunting firearms on a temporary basis as well as 100 cartridges for each firearm. No Import Permit is required but the imported firearms and ammunition must be declared orally with Customs at the port of entry.
- In past years, I was unable to fly with ANY ammo (spent casings or souvenir fired bullets) in my checked baggage. Ammunition needed to be in it's own suitcase. Upon arriving in Atlanta from Paris, I simply put that little bag into my other checked baggage and was fine.