Non-Commercial Entry Of Firearms

In the United States of America, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives its citizens the right to keep and bear arms.

Unfortunately for U.S. Citizens traveling cross-border into Canada, they sometimes forget that firearms are still a controlled item for entry into Canada, even if being entered temporarily. When traveling into Canada with your undeclared gun, firearm or other prohibited weapon, you may be refused entry, have the item in question seized, or possibly be arrested.

To legally bring your firearms into Canada, you must register it at your first point of entry using a "Non-resident Firearm Declaration" form (CAFC 909) with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). You will be required to present a fully completed form (with two additional copies) at your first point of entry.

Firearms fall into three (3) categories:

1. Non-Restricted Firearms:

  • An ordinary rifle, shotgun or combination gun that is not described below as being restricted or prohibited.

2. Restricted Firearms:

  • A handgun that is not a prohibited firearm.
  • A semi-automatic, centre-fire rifle or shotgun with a barrel length less than 470 mm (18.5 inches) that is not prohibited.
  • A rifle or shotgun that can fire when its overall length is reduced byfolding, telescoping or some other means to less than 660 mm (26inches).
  • Any firearm prescribed as restricted (including some long guns).

* If you are declaring a restricted firearm, you will require an Authorization to Transport (ATT). To find out how to apply for an ATT, call the Canada Firearms Centre at: 1-800-731-4000 in Canada and the USA. 

If you are outside Canada and the USA, please call (506) 624-5380. For further information online, please visit their web site at Royal Canadian Mounted Police before you come to Canada. You cannot enter Canada with a restricted firearm without an ATT.

Preclearance Agreement To Improve Travel And Trade

3. Prohibited Firearms:

  • A handgun with a barrel length of 105 mm (4.1 inches) or less.
  • A handgun designed or adapted to discharge 25 or 32 calibre ammunition.
  • A rifle or shotgun that has been altered to make it less than 660 mm (26 inches) in overall length.
  • A rifle or shotgun that has been altered to make the barrel length less than 457 mm (18 inches) where the overall firearm length is 660 mm (26 inches) or more.
  • An automatic firearm and a converted automatic firearm.
  • Any firearm prescribed as prohibited.

* Prohibited firearms are not allowed entry into Canada. Also, note that some large-capacity magazines are prohibited even if the firearms to which the magazines are attached are allowed. As a general rule, the maximum capacity is:

  • five cartridges for most magazines designed for a centre fire semi-automatic long gun; and
  • ten cartridges for most handgun magazines

There is no maximum magazine capacity for other types of long guns, including semi-automatics that discharge only rim-fire ammunition.

You will need to declare to CBSA the purpose for traveling with your firearm, whether it's a hunting trip, a competition, in transit movement, personal protection in wilderness areas of Canada, or other reasons. It is always recommended to bring proof in the form of a hunting license or competition registration/advertisement should CBSA ask for it.

Once the declaration has been confirmed by a CBSA Customs officer, it acts as a license for the owner and as a temporary registration certificate for the firearms brought to Canada; and it is valid for 60 days. The declaration can be renewed for free, providing it is renewed before it expires, by contacting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (call 1-800-731-4000) of the relevant province or territory.

You must be able to produce the completed declaration on demand and will require it to purchase or receive ammunition. This information is provided solely for non-commercial purposes and in no way should be considered all inclusive. 

If you have any questions about personal firearm importations, please call 1-800-731-4000 in Canada and the USA. If you are outside Canada and the USA, please call (506) 624-5380. For further information online, please visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Canadian Firearm Program website.

Personal Exemptions For Travelers Entering Canada
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About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS, CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Gloria Terhaar has over 17 years of Canadian customs brokerage experience. She currently works in our Canadian division as a Trade Compliance Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Gloria has extensive experience in all aspects of documentation and regulatory requirements as they relate to importing products into Canada. Gloria is often called upon to train industry with some recent talks for MNP, the Surrey Board of Trade, TFO Canada and the BC Produce Marketing Association. In 2018, Gloria also participated in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council advocacy event "Fall Harvest" in Ottawa where she participated in advocacy efforts for the Canadain produce industry.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.