Importing Firearms into Canada

You've picked out the gun of your dreams, you've checked to ensure that it can be purchased with your class of firearms license, but unforuntately, youve discovered that it is not for sale anywhere in Canada!


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This page has been created to help Canadians who are suffering from this problem. Importing guns can be very time consuming and costly. This section is here to help expedite the process as painlessly as possible. Please keep in mind that this information may not be accurate or up to date. Please read our standard disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

The best answer to your question comes from the following faq on the Canadian department of foreign affairs FAQ section. The below questions from their website may answer all your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. I want to buy a firearm from the US and have it sent to me in Canada.
A1. Any holder of a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) may import a restricted or non-restricted firearm, depending on the limitations of their PAL. However, the US control the export of most firearms (antiques and muzzle-loaders are not controlled for export) and the US must issue an export licence to the American exporter. Prior to issuing this licence the US government requires that the Canadian importer present a document from Canada allowing this proposed transaction. To satisfy that US requirement Canadian residents may apply for an International Import Certificate (IIC).
The following steps are involved;
1. have the US seller identify the exporter - the US government requires that this exporter be a Federal Firearms Licenced (FFL) gun dealer for most exports. In many cases the US seller is an FFL dealer.
2. apply to International Trade Canada (ITCan) for an International Import Certificate (IIC) by calling (613) 996-2387 or by faxing your request to (613) 996-9933 and requesting blank application forms. Once completed, the form should be returned to ITCan for processing and certification. Expect this process to take 2-3 weeks. The certified document will then be returned to the applicant for onward delivery to the US exporter. There is no charge for the IIC.
3. pre-register the firearm through the Canada Firearms Centre. Pre-registration allows the importer to clear the firearm through the Canada Border Service Agency without any undue delay.
4. the US exporter will attach their copy of the IIC to their application for an export licence. In the US, applications for shotguns are administered by the Department of Commerce and for all other firearms are administered by the Department of State.
5. once the US export licence is issued the US exporter may then send the firearm to Canada.
6. the Canadian importer is responsible for declaring the value of the firearm to Canada Customs and for ensuring that all safe storage and safe transportation regulations are observed.
7. within 30 days of arrival in Canada, the importer must have the firearm verified and such verification confirmed with the Canada Firearms Centre.

Q2. I want to go to the US and buy a firearm and return with it to Canada.
A2. The US passed new legislation in February 2003 which makes it illegal for a ‘non-resident alien’ to come into possession of a firearm in the US. This does not apply to antiques or muzzle-loading firearms, nor does it apply to Canadians with legal residency in the US or to US citizens, regardless of their residency. A Canadian may purchase a firearm in the US but cannot take possession of it, nor can they export it from the US. The only legal method is to come back to Canada and follow the steps in Question 1 (above).

Q3. A family member in the US has given or willed a firearm to a Canadian resident who wishes to import it.
A3. The same procedure is required as in Question 1 (above) with a small exception. The ‘holder’ of the firearm in the US would be the exporter and this person can write a letter to the Department of Commerce (shotguns only) or the Department of State (all other firearms) and request a ‘one-time exemption’ from the export licence requirements (refer to Attachment “B” of the Department of State on-line document.) Note that the Canadian IIC is still required by the US government before the exemption can be granted.

Q6. I want to import a replica or an air-gun.
A6. International Trade Canada does not control the importation of replica firearms or of airguns. Contact the Canada Firearms Centre or the Canada Border Services Agency for more information.

Costs of importing

To import a firearm, you will need to follow the steps out lined in question 1 and this can be very costly. To save on this, many gun owners incorporate economies of scale. They do this by teaming up to import a basket of guns that all the owners want.By doing this, they split costs and make it cheaper to import American guns to Canada.