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Bringing Firearms Into Canada
Non-Resident Visitor

Guidance provided by: Joe Potosky - The Lost Target

1. Canada Firearms Centre: Gun Users Visiting Canada 

2. Visitors may import non-restricted firearms (shotgun/rifle) into Canada for legitimate purposes:

  • sporting or hunting use during hunting season;
  • use in competitions;
  • in-transit movement (i.e., moving in the most direct route possible from Point A to Point B) through Canada; or
  • personal protection against wildlife in remote areas of Canada, as long as the customs officer is satisfied that the circumstances warrant the firearm being imported.
  • Import 200 rounds duty free for hunting purposes, or up to 1,500 rounds duty free for use at a recognized competition.

3. Visitors Must Possess a Nonresident Firearm Declaration (RCMP 5589 / CAFC 909)

To obtain this form:

Download and print: RCMP 5589 / CAFC 909

Don't sign the form until asked at the border.

More then three firearms:

RCMP 5590 / CAFC 910 Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Continuation Sheet

RCMP 5590 / CAFC 910

    Border Wait Times - Plan on Two Hours

  • The declaration is good for 60 days. It cost $25 Canadian, paid at point of entry (credit card accepted).

  • You must be at least 18 years old to bring a firearm into Canada.

  • The declaration is only valid for the person who signs the declaration.

  • You can purchase ammunition using the Declaration.

  • You can be processed by Canadian Customs in under twenty minutes.

  • No Hand guns! Only under special circumstances will handguns be allowed and those allowed must be pre-approved.

Border Wait Times - Plan on Two Hours

4. Storing, Transporting and Displaying Firearms

5. Travel ID.  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

6. Warning:  If you have been arrested at any time, to include DUI, read the following; Criminal Record

7. U.S. Residents.

Prior to DEPARTING the USA, process a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Form 4457 and list all firearms.

You can process the form on day of crossing OR process ahead of time.  Any port of entry can process the form: Locate a Port Of Entry - Air, Land, or Sea.  You must physically take the firearm with you.  Don't bring it into the building unless directed to do so!

Ammunition:   Returning to the states with a small amounts of un-fired ammunition that you had in your possession when you departed the USA has not been an issue in the past and not an issue at most crossings, but you may run into an agent that will insist on seeing a 4457 with your ammunition listed! I've run into one agent in all my years crossing the border who had issues with my unfired ammunition not being listed on the form.
I'm stating the requirement so your informed, but should not be an issue for most!  You can also present the receipt from the store you purchased from!  I don't recommend you list ammunition on the same form as your firearm(s) unless a one time visit!

Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
740.14 Baggage (BAG).

(e) Special provisions: shotguns and shotgun shells. (1) A United States citizen or a permanent resident alien leaving the United States may export or reexport shotguns with a barrel length of 18 inches or over and shotgun shells under this License Exception, subject to the following limitations:
(i) Not more than three shotguns may be taken on any one trip.
(ii) The shotguns and shotgun shells must be with the person's baggage but they may not be mailed.
(iii) The shotguns and shotgun shells must be for the person's exclusive use for legitimate hunting or lawful sporting purposes, scientific purposes, or personal protection, and not for resale or other transfer of ownership or control. Accordingly, except as provided in (e)(2) of this section, shotguns may not be exported permanently under this License Exception. All shotguns and unused shotgun shells must be returned to the United States. Note that since certain countries may require an Import Certificate or a U.S. export license before allowing the import of a shotgun, you should determine the import requirements of your country of destination in advance.
(2) A nonresident alien leaving the United States may export or reexport under this License Exception only such shotguns and shotgun shells as he or she brought into the United States under the provisions of the Department of Justice Regulations (27 CFR 478.115(d)).

Entering Canada

Walking you through the process!

1. If a US citizen, have Customs Form 4457. It will be needed when you return to the USA.

2. Present valid ID.

3. Declare your firearm and ammunition to Canadian Customs.  You will be directed into the customs building


* Travel Warning:  At certain times of the year, especially in August, a wait of two hours may be experienced (depending on time of day) just to reach the customs booth at some crossings!

Border Wait Times - Plan on Two Hours

4. It's up to you to convince the agent that you have a valid reason to have a firearm.

    - It's recommended you have a shoot program or shoot magazine that lists the shoot.

    - Hunters should have their hunting license or receipt from an outfitter.

    - If visiting a club or friends to target shoot, have club name or friends address information.

    - Travel to Alaska from Washington is common and should not present a problem.  Hand guns will not be allowed!

5. A registration number will be placed on the application.  If you didn't download an application, one will be provided.

6. Once the form is processed you will be required to pay $25 Canadian.  Border crossings accept credit cards.  Your credit card company will handle the exchange rate automatically. The registration is good for 60 days.

7. Each time you enter Canada for the next 60 days, the Canada Border Services Agency will complete Section E and issue a new confirmation number.

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Information of Interest

Temporary Export Conflicts

Canada allows for the import of 200 rounds duty free for hunting purposes, or up to 1,500 rounds duty free for use at a recognized competition and also allows for more than three firearms to be temporarily imported.

However, US persons have limits on what can be removed from the USA.

    123. 17(c) Temporary export of firearms and ammunition for personal use. U.S. persons may export temporarily not more than three non-automatic firearms and not more than 1,000 cartridges of ammunition provided that this is for the person's exclusive use and not for re-export or other transfer of ownership (i.e., firearms for use on hunting trips).

I've never seen it questioned, but if you have more than three firearms in your name and/or over 1,000 rounds of ammunition when returning to the states, you may have problems on your re-entry into the states.

Also, under the laws of Canada a Canadian may import:

    - primers, up to a quantity of 5,000;

    - propellants, smokeless powder in containers not exceeding 4 kilograms and black powder in containers not exceeding 500 grams, up to a maximum total combined quantity of 8 kilograms, (17.66 pounds).

Once again this is in conflict with U.S. law. A US person (and Canadians) must have an export permit to remove the items from the USA and import into Canada. Also, a US person needs an import permit from Canada!

Side note. If your bringing a barrel into Canada to sell or to give to a friend, it requires an export permit.



Entering Canada:  Canada Border Services

Travelling with Children

Parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also recommended that they have a consent letter from the other custodial parent to take the child on a trip out of the country. The parents´┐Ż full name, address and telephone number should be included in the consent letter.

When travelling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should arrive at the border in the same vehicle as the children.

Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the children. The consent letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.

CBSA officers watch for missing children, and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you.


Re-entry into the United States: Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

Flying: Passport required.

Required at land and sea borders:

U.S. citizens:

  • Passport issued by the U.S. Government (or)
  • Passport card (or)
  • Valid trusted traveler program card (FAST, NEXUS, or SENTRI) (or)
  • Enhanced driver's license (EDL) (or)
  • Military ID with official travel orders (or)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document

    CHILDREN: U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

    Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship.


    Criminal Records

    In the interests of Homeland Security, Canada and the USA have been sharing information on criminal records.  In many cases this information is tied to driver's licence records, passport numbers and photo identification software.  If a person has a criminal record, customs personnel can easily obtain this information and entry into Canada may not be permitted. A DUI can be cause to deny entry.

    It should be noted that Driving Under the Influence convictions are considered a criminal offense in Canada.  Individuals with criminal records without waivers can be refused entry.  Contact the nearest port of entry Canada Immigration office for more information.

    Individual Rehabilitation

    You can apply for individual rehabilitation if at least five years have passed since you have completed all your criminal sentences and probation.

    To apply for individual rehabilitation, you must submit an application, and pay a processing fee.

    Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process, so make sure you plan for your visit far enough in advance.

    Deemed Rehabilitation

    You may be deemed rehabilitated if at least 10 years have passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime. Some requirements for deemed rehabilitation include:

      * You have only been convicted of one offence; and

      * The offence would be punishable in Canada by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years.

    You are not required to submit an application to be deemed rehabilitated.

    * DUI's would fall under the 10 year rule.


    Firearms Borrowed in Canada

    You do not need a license if you remain under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed adult (aged 18 or older).

    Unlicensed non-residents who will not be under direct supervision must obtain a Temporary Borrowing License.  The Borrower's form must be completed before entering Canada and a sponsors signature will be required.

    Please note, a confirmed Non-Resident Firearms Declaration does not currently permit you to borrow firearms in Canada.


    Firearm Users Younger than 18

    You cannot acquire a firearm by any means, including as a gift, nor can you bring a firearm into Canada.  However, you may use firearms in certain cases

    Without a minor's licence, the minor may still use firearms of any class providing they are under the direct and immediate supervision of someone who is licensed to possess that class of firearm. This generally means that the licensed person must be close enough to them to take immediate action to prevent any unsafe or illegal use of the firearm.

    This provision affects cadets and members of other youth organizations who receive instruction in the use of firearms or who take part in target practice. It also applies to young people who go hunting or who use restricted or prohibited firearms in organized shooting competitions.


    Canadian Firearms License (PAL) and American Citizens

    American's can apply for a five year Canadian Possession and Acquisition License (PAL).

    A Canadian Firearms Safety Course certificate is required.  Classroom participation in firearms safety courses is mandatory for first-time licence applicants. Persons can no longer just take the examination (a challenge), they must take the full course for either the CFSC or the CRFSC.

    After you completed the test/course and received your Firearm Safey Course card, you will process the same application as does a Canadian citizen.

    Submit your license application with a letter from your local police department, on department letterhead, stating your a citizen in good standing.  The local sheriff supplied my letter after he ran my drivers license through the system.  Don't send the original letter, just a copy.

    It took three months from start to finish to receive my PAL (license).


    Travel in Canada

    If you have not traveled to Canada before:

    Ammunition Purchase: Visitors will be able to purchase ammunition with Canadian firearms license, a confirmed firearms declaration form, or a Temporary Borrowing License.

    Transporting Firearms: Transport all firearms unloaded.  If you are transporting them in a vehicle, they must be kept out of sight in a part of a vehicle that is kept locked (the trunk, if there is one), unless the vehicle is supervised by an adult.


      Gasoline is expensive ($1 more per gallon), gas up prior to entering the country.  They price by the quart (1 liter = 1.056 quarts or 0.264 gallon)

    Exchange Rate:

    You can use your U.S. issued credit card in Canada. Your company will automatically make the conversion. Check with your company in regard to credit card conversion fees, as they can be excessive.

    If not returning to Canada, spend your Canadian money prior to departing, as U.S. banks may take 20% of face value, if not more, when converting to US dollars.

    Auto Insurance: Check with your auto insurance company, they may have to issue a permit so you can show your vehicle is insured while in Canada.

    Medical Insurance

    The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

    U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

    When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

    Automobile Radar Detectors

    In Canada, radar detectors are legal in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.


    Pet Imports

    Canada for Visitors

    Information for Visitors to Canada

    Duty-free Exemption - Returning to US:

    US Customs - Know Before You Go



    Page Update: May 2020

    Posted By: Joe Potosky

    The Lost Target
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    for gun enthusiasts

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