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Applying for a firearm/shotgun certificate

For visitor’s firearm & shotgun permits click here.

Certificate Renewals

licenceThere is greater number of delays within firearms licensing today. BASC’s firearms team explains what to do if your renewal is delayed.

Early submission of renewal requests next year will give police licensing teams a better chance to turn them around before certificates expire. Respond as soon as possible to a renewal reminder pack or, even better, prepare and submit your request early. Always post by recorded delivery. These can usually be tracked online.

To help the police to renew your certificates in time we recommend that you get your renewal applications to them at least 12 weeks before the expiry of your certificate. Do not wait for police reminder letters. However; if you receive a police reminder letter prior to 12 weeks before expiry, do adhere to its content to avoid delay and to ensure that you are eligible for a temporary permit should one become necessary.

When sending renewal forms back do not return your expiring certificates. You need them to both buy ammunition and to prove lawful possession of your guns. The law allows police to seize your firearms if you are unable to produce a certificate on demand. It is always advisable to carry original certificates with you. Although the evidence of a copy should be acceptable in many instances, the legal right to seize and detain your guns remains unless you produce the original.

However, it may help the licensing department to process renewals or variations if you provide photocopies of existing certificates. Add a note with your application saying that you are retaining the originals until the new ones are issued.

The law (The Firearms Amendment Rules) does not require you to return the expiring certificates with your application. In the case of shotguns the rules state that renewal applications should be accompanied by the expiring certificate “if it is available”. The need to buy ammunition and to show lawful possession means that the expiring certificate is not available. If you need advice on this or any other issue, please call BASC’s firearms team on 01244 573010 with your membership number to hand.

It is an offence for anyone to be in possession of a firearm without the appropriate authority. Any advice that it is acceptable to continue keeping your guns without a valid certificate should be ignored, even if your renewal has been submitted.

If your certificate should expire before a valid replacement is in your possession, you should ask for a temporary permit, issued under Section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968. It should be granted in the event of an administrative delay where the applicant has submitted their application in good time e.g. having adhered to advice in a police reminder letter. (See below)

The Home Office guidance to the police: “Guide to Firearms Licensing Law” directs that a permit should be issued where an applicant has submitted an application in good time. Issuing a Section 7 is a simple remedy to prevent someone falling on the wrong side of the law.

What if my certificate is delayed?

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 amended the Firearms Act 1968 to provide for limited extensions of the validity of firearm and shotgun certificates.

The extension will only apply where an application is made to the police for the renewal of a certificate at least 8 weeks before the certificate is due to expire, but the police are unable to decide the application before the certificate expires. In these circumstances, the validity of the certificate is automatically extended for a period of 8 weeks or until the police decide the application, whichever occurs first. The certificate’s terms and conditions will continue to apply during this period.When the renewal is subsequently granted, any period for which the certificate continued in force under the 8 week extension, will be treated as part of the period for which the renewed certificate is in force, meaning that the total renewal period of a renewed certificate would be 5 years.

In the event that the application for renewal cannot be determined before the extended certificate expires, police forces may continue to issue a temporary permit to the applicant under section 7 of the Firearms Act 1968 authorising their continued possession of firearms and ammunition to which the expired certificate applies.

These provisions do not apply in relation to the renewal of a certificate granted or last renewed in Northern Ireland.

Police firearms licensing department should automatically issue a confirmation letter to applicants to prove the extension applies. If you do not receive such a letter in the week running up to expiry of your certificate you should request one fro your firearms licensing department.

Click here for further details from

Section 7 Permits – Are you entitled to one? – The legalities

Temporary permits should be issued if delays have occurred in the police system.

A permit does not authorise the purchase or acquisition of new firearms or ammunition but shotgun ammunition can be purchased if you have a temporary permit.

The Home Office Guidance says:

10.61 “If a certificate expires before a renewed certificate has been issued and the certificate holder has behaved in a reasonable manner returning the forms in good time, a temporary permit (section 7 Permit) should be issued by default. With regard to renewal, the applicant may submit a photocopy of their certificate and retain the expiring certificate in order to be able to buy ammunition.”

15.4   “Permits should be issued by chief officers where a certificate has not been re-issued or where a variation has been delayed and the applicant has made the application in good time. This may be appropriate where the renewal of a certificate is so delayed that the applicant may otherwise be left without permission to continue possessing and using their firearm and ammunition. This may not be the case where the applicant or his referees had been uncooperative and, is, or are, substantially responsible for the delay. In these circumstances, the applicant should be advised to arrange for the firearms and ammunition to be placed in storage with a registered firearms dealer or another suitably authorised certificate holder.”

BASC advice on obtaining a Section 7 temporary permit

BASC’s advice is that if your certificate is delayed by the administrative process you should always make a written request for a temporary permit. These are the things you need to do:

  • Supply the date your extension expires.
  • Request the immediate renewal of the certificates or the issue of a Section 7 permit to prevent you from possessing firearms without a valid certificate.
  • If you are met with refusal – politely advise that if a Section 7 permit is not issued then you will be obliged to consider submitting a formal complaint.

Refusal to grant a Section 7 permit & extra long delays

Firstly consider contacting your Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), they employ chief constables and must hold them to account for poor service. You as council tax payers and voters employ the PCC and as such they work for you. Telling your PCC about your experiences will count. The more people who do so, the greater effect it will have at improving the resources needed by firearms licensing departments. Often firearm licensing staff are not at fault, they need the necessary support to function.

Any complaint against a refusal to issue a Section 7 permit or because of rude or dismissive attitudes from police staff should be made in writing. You should be able to find details on the force’s website. BASC can’t make the complaint for you but we will advise you how to do it.

Making a justified complaint will also highlight areas where the police might improve their service.

ENQUIRIES TO:       01244-573010


© BASC August 2014 (revised January 2018)

Downloadable Firearms Forms

New application forms came into effect on 1st January 2018 and are available below for download. Only one photograph is required and the medical question has changed significantly. Make sure you pay particular attention to what the question is asking you and please refer to the notes at the rear of the form before completing the forms.

Other useful documents

Fees for certificates in England, Wales and Scotland

Visitors’ permit​

Certificate type Grant or renewal of certificate Total fee payable
Firearm certificate Grant £88
Firearm certificate Renewal £62
Shot gun certificate Grant £79.50
Shot gun certificate Renewal £49
Registered firearms dealer Grant / renewal £200
Extension for registered firearms dealers – game fair/trade events Valid for up to 3 years for the same event held at the same site £13
Visitors’ permit Individual £20
Visitors’ permit Group (six or more permits) £100
Co-terminous certificates Grant of both shotgun and firearm certificates £90*
Co-terminous certificates Grant of a shotgun certificate /renewal of firearm certificate £90*
Co-terminous certificates Renewal of a shotgun certificate /grant of a firearm certificate £90*
Co-terminous certificates Renewal of both shotgun and firearm certificates  £65
Replacement certificate (Note: If lost a charge is made – replacement is free for a dilapidated certificate)  £4
Variation (not one for one) – applicable only to firearm certificates £20
Home Office approval for target shooting clubs/schools Grant or renewal – valid for 6 years £84
Museums firearm licence Free
Prohibited weapons authority (Note: this relates to trade or professionals only where they are registered as a firearms dealers) Free

* A coterminous certificate is merely a means of issuing both firearm and shotgun certificates where an applicant requires both (to expire at the same time) at a cheaper cost to the applicant and also at a reduced administration to the police force. If an applicant holds or requires both firearm and shotgun certificates he can request coterminous certificates by using Form 201 and enclosing the £90 fee. The £90 fee is standard regardless of whether you already hold a certificate or none at all.

Explosives licensing forms

Form ER4a is for individuals wishing to use black powder in their own firearms or shotguns, or for historic re-enactment events.

  • Use this form for an ‘acquire only’ or an ‘acquire and keep’ certificate for black powder.
  • Not applicable to clubs, societies, or organisations or for any explosive other than black powder.

Form ER4 is for companies, clubs and societies, powder masters or users. It is not applicable for personally held firearms and shotguns, or historic re-enactment when using black powder only.

ER4b should be used when renewing an explosives certificate at the same time as a firearm or shotgun certificate.

Explosives Guidance

New record keeping requirements from April 2015

From the 5th April 2015, Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and anyone who acquires or keeps civil explosives will have to keep a record of the explosives throughout the supply chain and life cycle. The records should allow tracking and identification of an explosive at any time, and should be kept for 10 years after the date when the explosive was used, transferred to another person or destroyed, even if the manufacturers, importers, distributors, and anyone who acquires or keeps the explosives, have ceased trading.

In relation to shooting sports; records are not required to be kept for civil explosives that are:

  • Acquired or kept by private individuals other than in connection with their work and that are solely for their own personal use.
  • Cap-type primers, which consist of a metal or plastic cap containing a small amount of primary explosive mixture that is readily ignited by impact and which serve as igniting elements in small arms cartridges or in percussion primers for propelling charges.

For full information click here

HSE Explosives Website

Find your local Explosives Liaison Officer

Fees for certificates in Northern Ireland

Click here to access online applications with the Police Service of Northern Ireland

Firearm Certificate – Grant £98
Firearm Certificate – Variation £30
Firearm Certificate variation to substitute one firearm for another of the same calibre or type (known as a one for one variation) £15
Replacement Firearm certificate/dealers certificate (e.g. where your certificate has been lost completely. Dilapidated certificates are replaced for Free) £14
Firearms Dealer £300
Visitors Permit (1 to 5 people) £16 per person
Visitors Permit (6 to 20 people) £80 for the group
Firearms Club authorisation (grant or renewal – valid for 5 years) £71
Museum firearms licence £110
Extension of a museum firearms licence to additional premises £75


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