Find out how to get a shotgun certificate, including information on the application process, waiting times, fees and appeals

A shotgun certificate, issued by the police, is required by law in order to allow you to possess, buy or acquire a shotgun and to buy ammunition.

The difference between a firearms certificate and a shotgun certificate
How to apply
How to complete the application
What happens once I’ve sent in my application?
What if my application is refused?
Could this process change any time soon?

A shotgun licence is different to a firearms certificate although both last for five years. If your gun is not classed as a shotgun then you’ll need to apply for a firearms certificate. It’s important to nore that you can’t carry a shotgun on a firearms licence. Whilst technically called a Shot Gun Certificate (SGC), most people refer to it as a shotgun certificate or shotgun licence.

The rules are different in Northern Ireland, where you will need a firearms certificate to possess a shotgun.

If in doubt, it’s best to consult the Firearms Licensing Unit for advice.

How to apply for a shotgun certificate

The application process for a shotgun certificate was recently changed in a bid to simplify the process. Since December 1 2013, applicants have used a single form for grants and renewals. A seperate form to allow applicants to apply for different types of fiream was also be introduced.

The new rules relaxed who can sign an endorsement: anyone the applicant has known for two years will be able to countersign the application instead of someone from a limited list of professions. And firearm certificate holders are no longer be limited on how much ammunition they can buy at once, providing they don’t surpass restrictions on the amount of ammunition they can possess at one time.

Did you know that BASC insurance now includes £100,000 towards legal expenses cover for appeals against firearms licensing decisions?

The good news for anyone applying for their first gun licence is that the process is now streamlined and easier to understand. And at the moment, it still costs £50.

Whilst a rise in licensing fees seems inevitable, the increase in costs is giving shooters the chance to highlight the difference in terms of the service offered by each police force, which varies across the country. Furthermore, BASC has now proposed to extend the life of shotgun and firearm certificates to 10 years, rather than the current five.

From April 2014 anyone applying for a gun licence will be able to do so online. The new eCommerce for Policing website is set to feature user-friendly forms, easy-to-access online help, an online payment facility and the ability to request a time slot for a visit. Email and SMS alerts will keep applicants up to date at each stage of the process.

How to complete your application

Until April 2014, only paper forms were available. You had to complete these and hand them to your local police station. The advice below is a guide designed to help you complete your shotgun certificate application.

To complete the SGC application form you will need:
– An Application Form.
– An envelope to return your form.
– 4 passport style photographs.

In order to issue a shotgun certificate, the police need to be satisfied that the applicant can possess a shotgun without danger to the public safety or the peace. Part of this involves checking if the applicant has any previous convictions, which means that you must accurately complete Part A of the form.

Shotgun certificate GPThe new shotgun licence form contains specific health questions that you must answer. You must declare any physical or mental health condition that may affect your ability to possess and use a firearm or shotgun safely. These include epilepsy, stroke, stress-related illness, depression, alcoholism, heart disease, cancer.

You will then have to give details of where your gun is to be stored.

The next important bit of the form has to filled in by a counter signatory who has known you personally for at least two years. Such a person cannot be a relative, a serving policeman or police civilian employee, or a registered firearms dealer, and according to the wording should be: “…a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, minister of religion, doctor, lawyer, established civil servant, bank officer, or person of similar standing.”

With your gun license application you must also provide four passport-sized photographs of yourself, one of which must be signed on the back by your counter signatory. You then return the form to the police, together with the fee (£50 at the time of writing).

What’s the next step of my shotgun certificate application?

If your application passes the first stage, you will get a visit from a police officer at your home. They will talk to you about your shotgun certificate application and the proposed safety arrangements you have made. It’s good practice to buy a gun cabinet and make sure it complies with safety regulations as this will speed up your application.

If you are asked why you wish to own a shotgun, all you need say is you wish to take part in shooting sports.

If the police officer is satisfied, they will report this to the Chief Office of Police and your shotgun licence will be granted.

If your security was installed and the officer inspected it on his visit, the certificate can be posted to you. If your security has not been installed, your licence will be hand delivered by a Police Officer who will hand you your certificate once he is satisfied your security has been installed correctly.

How to appeal a shotgun certificate refusal

Should the Chief Officer of Police refuse your application, you will be informed, in writing, giving the reasons why and of your right of appeal against the decision.

It ‘s important to keep an eye on shooting news as this is a very topical issue that continues to make headlines.

Previous Home Office plans to almost double the license fee to £94 were recently scrapped following discussions with BASC and it looks highly likely that a further fee increase – taking the cost up to £109 – is unlikely ahead of the next general election.

However, recent news that Labour wants to shake up gun licensing law has cast some doubt over how easy or difficult it will be to obtain a shotgun certificate in the future. Diana Johnson, shadow Home Office minister, wants to bring in the biggest change to licensing law since handguns were banned in 1998.

Johnson announced plans to ‘shift the onus on to the applicant to prove their suitability’ for licence and certificate approvals. The details – and implications – of this news are currently unknown but Shooting Times will be interviewing the MP to find out more.

If you’ve been considering trying to get a shotgun licence, this is something you should keep a close eye on.

  • Adrian Thwaites

    Shame there is no link to the e website referred to

  • Hayley

    that is complete rubbish that you have replied with, a ground floor or any floor to that matter is NOT a shared domicile i live in a ground floor flat and i have a sgc

  • Shaun

    Its less likely because its a shared domicile and other people have access to the building. However it is not totally impossible. Best to speak to your local Firearms officer and he will help you with any info

  • chris

    can you get a SGC iff you live in a ground floor flat?

  • kthomp1123

    Because you are rules by morons, just like us in the US.

  • james elgy

    All of these rules and laws don’t stop guns getting into criminal hands they just prevent and make it harder for good honest people to get them. Criminals aren’t going to fill in a form they will just get one illegally.So why make it harder for people like myself ?

  • Hugehawk

    Ah, that will be a British Government inspired IT project therefore it will be late, will vastly over run its budget and will not work. It will eventually be abandoned so don’t hold your breath.

  • http://thepcspy.com/ Oli Warner

    Any idea what’s happening regarding the April 2014 “eCommerce for Policing” website and application process?

  • lawrence lingham

    Please would you advise the address to send a shotgun certificate application form

    thanks Lawrence

  • Adam Fisher

    Hi,

    I am applyi8ng for my Shot Gun Certificate, is it advisable to buy and install the cabinet before the house check or should i do this after?

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards

    Adam

  • frank price

    Hi I want to apply for a shotgun license but do not want a gun I only need the license as a gun dog breaded and to be able to have my working dogs tails docked
    is this possible
    Many thanks
    Frank

  • Sharon Golding

    Please can you tell me if you can apply for a shot gun licience living in a council House. please cos i am thinking of applying for one to go clay pigean shooting please can you email me to let me no many thanks .Sharon

  • kevin doswell

    need a gun

  • daniel

    hi my dad has a shotgun and a license but we dont live together. can i get my own license so i can take his gun out without him present as long as when im done it gets locked back up in his cabinet?

  • Bob

    Hi Dear Friends:

    I am a foreigner, i come to UK to study moren 4 years, and i open my own business,but i do not have house. i am 30 years old. Can i apply a shotgun licence in UK? thank you very much.

  • stu

    Hi, i would like to apply for my shotgun licence to do clays and hunting, i was sent to borstal when i was 18 for 6 months,in 1992 at 18 yrs of age, and have not been convicted of a criminal offence since, apart from a caution 5yrs ago for a pub punch up. would i be likely to be granted a shotgun cert??

  • howard

    hi, i am now 47 and of good charicter,however in my earlier years i got in quite a bit of bother with the police and have had a few sentances,ive been a reformed charecter for 15 years now,own horses and have access to lots of land also i have friends who shoot,i would like to apply for a shotgun cert,on release from prison i sighned a 5 year firearms ban,does this mean i can now apply for a certificate and be considered for it without my past stopping me.?

  • Paul

    When it says about previous convictions dose this mean even if you have been to cort but was not found guilty do you need to write that on the form

  • fletch

    dont think they will let you keep it in out building just ring your firearms officer and ask them
    as for medical conditions google it all your answers are there
    any convictions you got are still on record so can still be checked so better to come clean and declare them all

  • moleman

    hi i wish to get a shot gun licence i am 18, but my mum doesnt like guns in the house i wish to put in a secure outbuiding it is a tack room but has concrete walls and floor with a 2bolt pad locked door. pls repsond thanks

  • dan

    hi i wish to get a shot gun licence i am 18, but my mum doesnt like guns in the house i wish to put in a secure outbuiding it is a tack room but has concrete walls and floor with a 2bolt pad locked door. pls repsond thanks

  • Julian Mark Derrick

    Are there any medical conditions that may have an affect on holding a Licence or a Certificate

  • Donald MacAllister

    Hi is there a time limit on convictions,where u dont have to declaire ie they are spent and u dont have to declaire,and if i hold a shot gun certificate in another euro country dose this help my application i also hold a huntting license

  • Beef

    Hi , Will an assault charge, 9 years ago make a difference?

  • Thomas

    i am trying to get a shotgun certificate but i dont own a shotgun and cant afford to buy one at the moment, also i dont have a cabinet but my cousin does. can i apply for one just so i can borrow another persons intill i can afford to buy one myself ?

  • Charlie

    Hi,
    I applied for my shotgun licence and they took the money out of my account 4 weeks ago, how much longer will it take to get the actual licence?

    Thanks

  • scott

    hi im 13 and i live on a farm so can i get a shotgun license or what age can i thanks please reply

  • nige

    What Criminal Convictions, cautions and medical conditions would prevent a person from obtaining a Shotgun Certificate.

  • romas

    Hi. I would like to apply for a shotgun license. I am 31 years old, lived in UK for last 9 years. I am not a member of any club. I would like to use the gun for hunting. Could you please let me know what I have to do to apply for the shotgun and how long it will take? Thank you Regards

  • scott rainey

    hi how old do you have to be to apply for a shotgun license in northern ireland and i live on a farm

  • mark

    I am after a shot gun licence but dont want the gun at home,my friend has a gun safe and has a shotgun licence, would they give me a licence and let me keep the weapon in his safe?

  • sam

    how long dose it take to get a license and then a gun beacuse i dont have long to what i need to do

  • matt

    hi im 13 how old do you have to be to apply for a shotgun license because i live on a farm and i look after the livestock (cattle) please mail me back

  • callum

    Hi how old do you have to be to have a shotgun license and then to buy a shotgun as i am 12 and realy enjoy clay shooting.Sorry i had to send this again but my messages had been deleted some how.

  • Callum Hanley

    Hi how old do you have to be to have a shotgun license and then to buy a shotgun as i am 12 and realy enjoy clay shooting.

  • George

    I have a son who is 16, is he allowed a shotgun if he is looking after livestock? such as sheep.

  • Kina

    Hi. I would like to apply for a shotgun license. I am 31 years old, lived in UK for last 6 years. I am not a member of any club. I would like to use the gun for hunting. Could you please let me know what I have to do to apply for the shotgun and how long it will take? Thank you
    Regards

  • visar

    hi i am british citisen since 1998 and back home where i am from (europe)i do heave a licenc for the shoot gun .
    and i am after british shoot gun licenc but if i get a licenc and i am looking to bay a shhot gun but i dont want to keep in my flat but my best friend heave a shoot gun licenc and heave very safe place wold i be eable to store my shoot gun on his safe

    best regards
    Visar

  • eain

    how old do you have to be to own a shotgun as i have a 14 year old boy what comes shooting with me as he wants to own this own shotgun…

  • alex white

    hi, i am wondering whether after you have your shotgun license doesnt haave to be renewed after so many years if so how many years?

  • Dean Johnson

    I am after a shot gun licence but dont want the gun at home, my girlfriend’s Dad has a gun safe and has a shotgun licence, would they give me a licence and let me keep the weapon in his safe?

    I also have a criminal conviction of ‘gbh’ from about 2 years ago but haven’t been in any trouble since, does this mean i am not likely to get a licence?

  • Daniel Massa

    I am portuguese and live here since march/2006, never have moved out England from this date, can I get a shotgun certificate ? I will affiliate a clay pigeon club.
    I work as a supervisor of a cleaning company, in a school for all this time.
    I have to choose fix the cabinet between the boiler room or near my wardrobe in a corner of my room, what is the best place.
    Many Thanks,
    Daniel Massa

  • edward

    im 16 and live in Wales ive got a shotgun certificate and was wondering if i go out on my farm with the gun am i allowed to bring someone with me who doesn’t have a certificate.

  • chris

    I am a UK passport holder but currently resident in France for the past 5 years. My shotgun certificate exspired in May 2006, i have to show prove of a UK shotgun certificate to the local federation des chasseurs before they will grant me a shotgun certifcate for hunting purposes. However, the dilema I face based on the UK application process is I dont reside nor own a house in the UK I dont plan on having a shotgun in the UK and only need the shot gun certificate to show the local federation. Any thoughts on how I can be granted under the above circumstances would be most helpful. Regards, Chris.

  • paul hailes

    by the ryle .i have an interest in piece shooting.with an athletic disposirtion .please provide information on gun licencing and regard myself as an piece possibly tainted with which would be more appropriate to use as an sport.cheers,p m,h.

  • james futers

    im after a shot gun licence but dont want the gun at home, my friend works on a farm and has a gun licence, would they give me a licence and let me keep the weapon in his safe?

  • ralph john

    I am a UK passport holder but currently resident in Dubia with a second home in Sombrun, France.
    I have to show prove of a UK shotgun certificate to the local police in Sombrun before they will grant me a shotgun certifcate for hunting purposes.

    However, the dilema I face based on the UK application process is I dont reside nor own a house in the UK at the moment and cant be availabe for the police to come round for their inspection.
    I dont plan on having a shotgun in the UK and only need the shot gun certificate to show the local French policeman.

    Any thoughts on how I can be granted under the above circumstances would be most helpful.
    Regards,
    Ralph

  • jake

    do you need a gun licence for a 410?

  • Dave

    Hey. Just wondered if having moved a lot during the last few years and been unemployed are significant factors in obtaining a certificate. also to cautions recieved count against me. Cheers.

  • David Heap

    I know of someone who is 78 years old, disabled (difficulty in walking) bad eyesight and going deaf. What are his chances of getting a licence?

  • andy horton

    how do i get a licence?

  • Paul McKeever

    Hi im 26 and i want to apply for a shotgun license but i have a criminal record my record is for disordily behaviour and driveing offences and i have been in prison a couple of times for non payment of fines. do you think i stand a chance or do you think i would be waisting my time please reply back

    yours thankfuly

  • joyce

    please could you tell me if my son who got band for drink driving will be allowed to keep his gun license thanks

  • ian mckinnon

    iam aplying for my shotgun licence but have a criminal record if get refused will the cpsa help and if so how will they help many thanks

  • shane

    hi im 16 years old 17 in two months will i be older nuff to own a shotgun then? and will i need to be a member of a gun club before gettin a license

  • graham pratchett

    hi dom, please can you tell me if you can keep antique guns on the wall of your house without a shotgun cetificate if they are unable to be fired eg by removing the firing pin etc thanks

  • joe

    wtf u dicks

  • jed peacock

    you need to be 17 to buy a shotgun or ammunition. I find it stupid that its 18 for an air rifle but there it is. Also you can be given a shotgun at 15.

  • david blow

    iam sending off for a guns licence for my self my name is david blow ilive in penybryn gellegaer ystrad munach south wales teacher said die die die to aboy at age of 14 playing teacher up and teacher went mental and hit boy the dom bell richie shot awomen in head in film out for justice http://www.google.co.uk

  • Sean Conway

    hi im 16 and i am just woundering what is the min. age that you are allowed to buy and use a gun?

  • hugh

    i have been unemployed for the last 2 years will this stop me from getting a shotgun licence.

  • mohsin hassan

    i work as security for over a year and a half. and can i keep a gun at home while having the shotgun lieance

  • Dom Roberts

    There is no minium age to obtain a shotgun certificate. How ever if your under the age 17 then you MUST have parents permission. There are also limits with young people owning a certificate and what they can use it for, eg aged 14 or under you may not have a shotgun with you unless locked in a secure case from which it can’t be fired. And must be supervised by a person over 21.
    Aged 15, you may use a shotgun on private land without supervision, you cannot use within 50 feet of roads and public pathways etc. Aswell you cannot hire, buy or lend a shotgun or ammunition for it.
    if your aged 15-17 you cannot buy, hire a shotgun or ammunition for it. However you can be bought, givin or lent a shotgun.

    Any futher questions feel free to contact me on. dom-12@hotmail.co.uk
    good luck!

  • shahid ahmed

    hi sir i am 29years old and i live in the uk last 2year and i have a uk rasidence visa 5 years can i get shot gun and certifcat i need just for hunting can i possibale too get it my nationaltyis is pakistani thanks

  • John

    Over 6 years ago i suffered from depression. im 25 now and i must have been 17-18 at the time, i was told it was totally normal at the time. I have not suffered from depression for a long long time but dont know if i will be rejected a license. Im a under gamekeeper and fear that if i’m rejected , bang goes my career.ANY ADVICE

  • tj

    can u have a shotgun licence at age of 12

  • taylor

    how old do i have to be to get one????

  • ryan wood

    hi i am 16 in two weeks and want to know how old you have to be to get your licence

  • peter

    i had two weeks off due to anxiety about 3 years ago due to finaciel problems thats the only thing that has made me think i would not be able to obtain a certificate

  • Andy

    Hi

    It’s been 9 years since I was bound over by the police for fighting as a result I lost my gun license. How long before I can re-apply for my gun license I have had a clean criminal record for the past 8 years ?

    Thanks,

    Andy

  • jack

    hiya i am a 14 yr old boy and i go shooting alot with my air rifle’s how old do i neede to be to get a shotgun liecence ? thanks :)

  • gwil

    i used to shoot clays in the 1980. ihave just found my old shotgun licence, it does not have an expiry date. do i have to renew it, or is it still valid.

  • Paul Elberfeld

    I applied for a shotgun licence almost 5 weeks ago but have yet to recieve a visit from the police. Would it be appropriate to contact the firearms dept to see if there is a reason for the delay or should i just wait a little while? Please advise.

  • Nick sargent

    Hi, I have just had my visit done by the police man, he said evrything looked ok, how long can i expect it to be before my license shows up?

  • ben

    i am 14 and i’m into shooting and i would like to buy a shotgun but no one in my family owns a licence.is there something i can do so i can get a shotgun.

  • Harry

    Hi, im 14 and i want to get my shotgun certificate, i was just wondering does anyone else in my family need to have one so i can get mine?.

  • ian

    just filled out my application form is it still £50 or has it gone up i live in stafford who do i make it payable to ?

  • larry

    hi ciaran. you dont neen to b a member of a club but it surn will help. but what ever u do do it quick as the backlog in looking at forms is geting longer and longer. if you read some of thes posts people in uk have got it made.yuo will be lucky to get any contac before 3 mounths. then maybe another 3 befor you get anymore word good luck

  • s

    ihave MH issues do i stand any chance of accuiring a licence

  • Joe Rodgers

    I want to start using a .410 shotgun i have not used a shotgun before but I have been beating many time but i just want to know what i have to do to get involved

  • hilmi kara

    96anortsreet hornchorch essex rm11 1su

  • ciaran

    do i need tobe a member of a gun club to apply for a shotgun licence. im from northen ireland .. thanks

  • manish chawla

    sir i want to buy a gun with license
    & i am a business man of chhattisgarh
    so pls contact me in my cell phone 9907114433
    sir give me some idea.

  • james

    now im no expert or the author , but as far as i know , from reading into the laws in ENGLAND . there is no minimun age to issue a shotgun licence , though , age does pose certain restrictions, fo example , you are not aloud to own a shotgun when you are under 15 but you may have a licence , after your 15 you may recieve a shotgun as a gift but not buy one , hence then , it would be added to your shotgun cert. , but still then you may not buy shells for the shotgun untill you are 17 so you would have to get someone to buy them for you or something , im not very clear on this part , then , as far as i know , at 17 you can buy shotguns and ammo

  • Terry Bowden

    i had an phycological incident when i was 13 years old, i have been assessed by phyciartists and said im fine but would that prevent me from getting a shotgun license?

  • mcdojoe

    How old do you have to be before you can have a shotgun license?

  • larry

    at the minute it takes over 6 mounts in n.ireland and getting longer to get a fc

  • matt

    if your refused the licence is the £50 returned

  • cameron

    ive got my application form just filling it in but how long does it take for the police to get back to you?????????????????????????????????????…?

  • nathan

    is there a fee to be paied for a shotgun licence

  • cammy-r-

    i have jst applied for my shot un certificate

  • Gwen MacAngus

    Where do I send the application form to?? I live in Usk, monmouthshire
    Gwen

  • darren barkham

    i want to apply for a shotgun certificate.
    somethings worry me.
    i have a builtin cuboard but my house has plaster board walls does this matter?
    also can a farmer or a methodist precher act as counter signatory?

  • LPOPHAM

    HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO GET A SHOTGUN LICENSE

  • Heather

    A friend and i are going to co own a .20 shotgun. Can we keep it in a safe with another gun registered to someone else in the household?

  • carl

    hi im wantin to get into clay pigeon shooting and i dont have no certifacate or gun or gun safe but i been speaking to my friend and he says you gotta do a test when applying for a certifacate is this true and if so whats involved in this test.

    if anyone can help it would be much appreciated

  • tomos

    how old you need to be to get a gun licenece?

  • Roy

    read the page, no mention of price.

  • glenn tootill

    do i have to get a shotgun cabinet before they will issue a licence. what if i dont get one and i have out laid money for the cabinet also if it is denied do i get my application money back thanks

  • martyn davenport

    how old do u have to be to get a shotgun licence

  • ashton

    i love this site its the best site in the world

  • michael

    hi im just wondering if im able to get a shotgun certifacate im 15 years old and really into it.

  • matthew

    hi im am 14 and im intrested in shooting and ive had many air guns but the other year i got arrested for riding a motorcycle on private land and i got a repremand but i have not been in trouble for the last year with the police do you think i could still get a shotgun certificate or have i blown it

  • Philip

    I live in Germany and as I visit the UK regulary , I would like to obtain a Shotgun license to be able to go shooting with other members of my family who currently hold shotgun licenses.I would also need a european license in order to take the gun to Germany.Security is not a problem as an authorised gun cabinet is already installed.
    Any advice would be appreciated

  • Alex Penman

    how old do you have to be to get your shotgun licence?

  • andy harvey

    hi all ive been in prison before foa a abh got 15 mths been good for 10 years now is there any way i could get a shot gun or has my foolish pass blown it for me

  • charlie mallia

    Hi, i have just submitted my application for my shotgun, can anyone tell me how to apply for shotgun certificate. im confused about the order of things, and where do i get one.

  • Lee hall

    Hi, I have submitted my shotgun application and had my visit from the firearms enquiry officer every thing has been passed it has been nearly 3weeks now since i had the visit and i still haven’t received my certificate can anybody please tell me how long it takes to receive it i come under lancaster police area many thanks

  • matt

    hi i have got a shotgun licence and own shotguns, im a keen shooter and want to get a firearms licence, but i hav recently lost my shooting ground, why is it so hard to get ground to shoot, and there are no clubs near me, how could i get a firearms cert?

  • Richard

    Extract from application form…

    “it must be countersigned in ink, by someone who is resident in Great Britain and who has known
    you personally for at least the last two years.”

    What do they actually mean by personally, Would someone who you see a few times a week like a shop keeper be considered “known personally”?

  • ken

    Hi,

    I have submitted my shotgun application and had my visit from the firearms enquiry officer every thing has been passed it has been nearly 10 days now since i had the visit and i still haven’t received my certificate can anybody please tell me how long it takes to receive it i come under the west midlands police area many thanks ken .

  • Dom

    Hi, ive read your post it’s very interesting …however i dont know the age you need to be to obtain the gun licence? Thank you.

  • ben a

    hi im a keen shooter and i want to get my own licence do you think that the police will let me have a gun licence seeing as im only 13?

  • dbfradgley

    good information on the shotgun cert can you give details on the f.a.c. ??? as im looking into getting mine.

  • stuart gotts

    hi there i’m getting hooked o shooting, now i want a gun so i need to apply for licence that’s clear.
    my friends father has a gun cab as he used to be keen shooter, he has now sold both his guns and the cab is up for sale.
    it’s about twenty years old and only has one lock on it he did have ahotgun licence for twenty years or so how do i know if this cab will be suitable and complies with current regs…
    stuart

  • mani

    hi,

    i love you baby