Is my UK shotgun certificate valid abroad? Or do I need more documents?
Off shooting out of the country? You'll need a European Firearms Pass as well as your UK shotgun and firearms certificates
Q: I’ve been invited to shoot in France next season. Will my shotgun certificate be valid over there?
- You will need your SGC and also a European Firearms Pass which can be obtained at no cost from your local police.
- The airline/ferry/tunnel will want to know you are travelling with firearms. That’s easy.
- To shoot in France you need a validated permis de chasser. For this purpose your SGC counts as a permis and can be validated for three or nine days. You can do this online via the website of the hunting federation for the department in which you will be shooting.
- The box for the details of the permis is freeform and will accept the details of your SGC.
- The cost will vary according to whether you wish to shoot small game or both small game and large game (deer, boar etc) and also whether you wish to shoot in just one department or more. The process only takes a few days.
- You’re likely to be asked to show your validation at the start of the day.
- You need to show proof of insurance. Being a member of an organisation such as BASC includes overseas insurance.
European Firearms Pass
You apply for an EFP by making a request to your local Firearms Licensing Office. You should allow about two weeks for everything to be processed. There is no fee for an EFP.
The EFP supports your existing firearms or shotgun certificate and so it will expire on the same date. If the EFP is for both your shotgun certificate and your firearms licence, it will finish cover on the same day that whichever of these two certificates expires first.
If you’re planning on emigrating permanently with your guns then you need to get in touch with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) who deal with this side of things and issue export and import licenses for firearms. In this case, you will also need to let your Firearms Licensing Office know of your plans and provide proof of export.
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Keeping up to date with the laws on travelling with guns
You should also check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country to see what are the latest documentary requirements for guns.
Other things to be aware of
- Check your airline’s policy for travelling with guns and ammunition
- Allow extra time at check-in (there will be special security staff dedicated to firearms)
- You will need to declare to Customs that you are travelling with firearms and shotguns
- A gun case is essential. We recommend a modern aluminium or plastic shell flight case which will stand up to hard wear (a cherished leather case may well be damaged in the hold).
- Camouflage is important and any long case with stickers will look inoffensive. Our gun expert Bill Harriman used to travel with a rifle in an old trombone case with a sticker saying “Musicians Union – Keep it Live”. Think discretion.