Australian residents travelling overseas with firearms

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To travel overseas with firearms and related goods there are a number of requirements that must be met. The information below is intended to assist Australian residents in understanding these requirements before leaving from, and returning to, Australia.

These requirements are specified under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (PI Regulations) and the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (PE Regulations).

Exporting firearms

To export firearms and related goods out of Australia, travellers must first obtain written permission from the Department of Defence or the Australian Border Force prior to exportation.

All exporters must also register as a client in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) and lodge an export declaration to obtain an Export Declaration Number (EDN) with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. 

Registering as a client

Register as a client with us using a Form B319 - Registering as a client in the Integrated Cargo System (473KB PDF) and receive a Customs Client Identification Number (CCID). The form can be submitted to our nearest Client Services Counter.

This step is not necessary if you have already applied for and received a CCID number.

Obtaining export permission

There are two means of which you can receive permission to export out of Australia.

Option 1: Apply for a Defence Export Permit (DEP) with Defence Export Controls (DEC) at the Department of Defence.

A Defence Export Permit can be granted by Defence Export Controls on behalf of the Minister for Defence for any firearm or related goods listed in the Defence Strategic Goods List (DSGL) and controlled under Regulation 13E of the PE Regulations.

To apply for a Defence Export Permit you will need to complete two main steps:

  • Register as a client with the Department of Defence on the Defence Export Controls website.
    • In completing this form you should provide either a Customs Client Identification Number (CCID) or an Australian Business Number (ABN) which you have previously registered with the Department.
    • On completion of this form, DEC will provide you with a Defence Client Registration Number (DCRN) which should be used when completing the Application to Export Controlled Goods and Technology form.
  • Apply for Permission to Export Controlled Goods and Technology on the Defence Export Control website.

Both the forms are available at Defence Export Controls website.

Option 2: Apply for a Restricted Goods Permit (RGP) with the Australian Border Force.

Australian Border Force officers are authorised by the Minister for Defence to grant permission to export under a number of conditions and restrictions.

A Restricted Goods Permit can only be granted by the Australian Border Force for bona fide travellers who are taking with them a small quantity of (up to four) Category A, B or H firearms, along with their parts, accessories and a small quantity of ammunition, to participate in activities such as taking part in an overseas sporting event or a hunting activity.

The Australian Border Force cannot issue permission to export any other firearm types (such as semi-automatic rifles), commercial goods (for example dealer stock), and where the export is to any country subject to a United Nations Security Council or Australian Autonomous sanction (such as Iran, North Korea or Zimbabwe).

To apply for a Restricted Goods Permit, applicants must submit a completed DEC07 – Restricted Goods Permit Form available on the Defence Export Controls website and the relevant documentation, to our nearest Client Services Counter. 

The Restricted Goods Permit can be authorised up to 28 days prior to departure. 

The following documentation must also be available when submitting the form to the Australian Border Force:

  • Current firearm licence
  • Certificate(s) of Registration for all applicable firearms
  • Evidence of identity (100 points) documentation.

If you are completing this process with the Australian Border Force on the day of departure at the International Terminal, allow for an additional two hours prior to the check-in time required by the airline.

More information about Restricted Goods Permit is available at Defence Export Controls website.

Lodge an export declaration

Lodge an Export Declaration using the Form B957 - Export Declaration (355KB PDF) and submit it to our nearest client service counter.

See Completing export declarations (617KB PDF) if you need help in filling the form.

Importing firearms

On 15 December 2015, amendments were made to the PI Regulations to reduce the requirements for residents returning to Australia with firearms and related goods used in a lawful shooting competition or hunting activity overseas. 

For these individuals, import permission will not be required where the following requirements are met upon return to Australia:

  • the goods are Category A, B or H firearms, and their parts, magazines, and ammunition
  • the importer is an Australian resident
  • the importer presents to the Australian Border Force a valid firearm licence issued by the State or Territory Police where they reside
  • the importer presents to the Australian Border Force the export permit used to export the goods
  • the goods have not been modified (except for repair) since it was last exported from Australia.

In any other case, and for any additional controlled items that are purchased or otherwise obtained while overseas, travellers must obtain the written certification of the police firearms or weapons registry in their state or territory or written permission to import from the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department.

Information on how to obtain written certification or permission to import is available on our website.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for importing or exporting these goods without the relevant permission is a penalty not exceeding AUD 450,000, imprisonment for 10 years, or both.

Contact information

Defence Export Controls
Defence Export Controls provides a range of services and information to assist exporters understand and comply with Australia's export control requirements:
Website: Defence Export Controls
Email:
DECO@defence.gov.au
Telephone:
1800 661 066 (in Australia)
+61 2 626 67222 (from outside Australia).

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for further information regarding United Nations Security Council or Australian Autonomous sanctions.
Website: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Telephone: +61 2 626 11111