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Thread: Travelling to the USA with a rifle

  1. #1

    Travelling to the USA with a rifle

    First let me say hello, I joined several months ago but this is my first post. Please bare with me.

    Can anyone help me with this question, or point me to someone who can?

    I have an invite to stalk white tail deer later in the year in the USA and am keen to use my own rifle. I have an appropriate US temporary import permit which means I am OK from a federal law stand point. However, I am now realising that I have to consider state law as well. This is proving more difficult.

    Does anyone have any experience? Which airports did they use?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    I have travelled to the USA with both my shotgun and centre-fire rifle.

    You will need an airline approved case which will need to be aluminium framed with suitable locks or some pelicases may be suitable. I have never bothered to take ammunition as in the USA it is as easy as buying baked beans in the UK, and whilst you can carry ammunition up to 5kg I believe in a separate secure container, it was easier to buy over there. You can just turn up to a range, pay $8 and zero your rifle on the new ammunition.

    In terms of documentation to take out of the UK, I spoke to each of the airlines at least a week before travelling to see what their procedure was - and they are slightly different so check with your carrier before you go. Some want you to notify them in advance of the type, make and calibre, but BMI for example just said to turn up a early to complete the paperwork. There was no requirement to get a temporary export licence, notify my local firearms department, notify the destination country or get import/export documentation.

    On arrival at check-in, show your FAC and prove to the check-in staff that the firearm is unloaded, and you sign and date a declaration card that is kept in the case with the firearm. You complete the paperwork, which was given to me at the check-in desk, which you fill out with FAC certificate details, flight details, destination, return details, ammunition (if applicable) etc. You keep the top copy, a copy is attached to the luggage label on your gun case and the other copies are kept by the airline - I believe one is kept at the departure airline and one goes with the aircraft to the destination airport. Worthwhile arriving a bit earlier to allow plenty of time.

    Check if you need a non-residents hunting permit for the state you are shooting in, I did for the state of Alabama. A 10 minute phone call before travelling with the Alabama State Conservation Bureau and I had my licence emailed to me.

    At the arrival airport declare that you have a firearm and you will be excorted through the red channel for immigration and customs to check you paperwork, which will include FAC, airline documentation and local hunting licence.

    In the US you need a special permit to posses moderators and anyway, in the state of Alabama they are not lawful to use when deer hunting so check with your intended state. Do a google search on Conservation and Hunting in the state you intend hunting which may give you the information you need in terms of hunting licence. A 3 day licence in Alabama was $120 for any legal sepcies on the land being hunted which included whitetail.

    Coming back was effectively a reversal of going out.

    I have flown through Aberdeen, Norwich, Heathrow, Houston and Lafayette airports with firearms and travelled with BMI, BA and Continental airlines and have had no problems whatsoever. BA charge 50 per trip for security handling of firearms, but they may be cheaper flight so worth shopping round for cheapest flight.

    I'm going white-tail hunting again in December - can't wait - the picture in my Avatar is a 195lb 8-point buck I shot last December with my .308.

    Enjoy your trip.
    Last edited by Virbius; 22-06-2012 at 21:32.

  3. #3
    First if your going this year you have to gt a move on as the BATF who issue the Temp import Permits say it takes at LEAST 6 weeks and back in 2003 when I got mine they meant it. Before you can get the form 6 they want proof of why you need to bring a rifle in in my case it was hunting so a copy of my valid hunting permit.

    Check the current regulations as they have changed them it seems but as luck would have it I purchased a Napier Alloy and composite rifle case to it should still be OK. It will most likely get battered by the baggage apes and machines.

    Virbuis has covered the rest well.

    Parts of Missouri I hear have new regulations due to the spread of CWD so check with the state you wish to hunt in and thei DNR thay all have websites.

  4. #4
    Brithunter raised a good point about CWD - some advise not to use the same clothing as washing can not remove the virus - I have a complete set of hunting gear over there as it is so cheap from BassPro Shop, Academy, Gander Mountain. Walmart etc, etc. If you have never done so before you must seek out a BassPro Shop just for the experience - they are a hunting, shooting, fishing warehouse store and you can spend hours in there. Also with the case, air transport regulations for travel with firearms to the USA are different from Europe. In Europe you can use plastic, for USA you need metal framed case or a case approved by FAA.

    It would appear however that procedures have relaxed significantly since 2003 for taking firearms into the USA. I travelled with my shotgun in November 2011 and rifle in December 2011 totalling 10 flights in 5 airports on 3 airlines both domestically and internationally.

    I needed no requirement to have prior-approval or a licence from a federal or state body to take a firearm into the USA - nothing from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms or any justification required. Also nothing required from UK firearms bodies getting approval to travel out of the UK. The only licence required was the hunting licence issued from Alabama state, and as stated above check with your airline when booking to ascertain what their procedures are as some, but not all, require notification of the firearm prior to travel. When travelling with BMI I called prior to 72 hours and I stated that I plan to fly with a firearm - they said arrive an hour earlier and all forms can be completed at the check-in desk.

    This is my hunting licence as issued, it may be worth calling the 1-800 number on the bottom, I don't know whether it is a number for Albama state or a national number but it may help?
    Attachment 16749

    Naturally it will be prudent to check, but I am confident that the regulations and requirements have not changed in 6 months.

  5. #5
    Hmmm not sure but I thought a temp form 6 was still required to take firearms into the US. I know I had to produce it at customs in 2003. The biggest problem I found was that as we were camping I did not know the EXACT ADDRESS INCLUDING ZIP CODE of where we were staying. That took a phone call to my buddy who explained the camping and hunting bit and it was sorted out.

    Check out the BATF web site.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    Hmmm not sure but I thought a temp form 6 was still required to take firearms into the US. I know I had to produce it at customs in 2003. The biggest problem I found was that as we were camping I did not know the EXACT ADDRESS INCLUDING ZIP CODE of where we were staying. That took a phone call to my buddy who explained the camping and hunting bit and it was sorted out.

    Check out the BATF web site.
    I am talking from direct personal experience six months ago not nine years ago - 10 flights, 5 airports, 3 airlines and absolutely no problems whatsoever and I didn't have a temp form 6. The narrative above is exactly how the system worked.

    As I stated however prudence says to check - I always do, as I have a hunting trip in Decmber this year.

    As for the exact address including zip code of where you are staying, you will not be granted entry into the USA unless you complete your entry form with that information, whether you are travelling with firearms or not. I know what I'm talking about - for the last 2 years I have spent at least 10 days a month in the USA.

  7. #7
    All Pelicases are ATA300 approved. They do not need to be metal framed, just be ATA300 approved. from experience the Peli-Hardigg Storm cases are lighter, stronger and more durable than the original Peli case and are all ATA300.

  8. #8
    Regarding form 6, it does state on the BATF site one is still required, so i wont be taking any chances and applying for one next week, as they say, its better to have a condom and not need it, than not have one and need it!
    But what's the betting based on personal experience Virbius is correct, i will report back when i return from the trip.
    As i will be mainly camping the address was a problem, but thankfully i have made a few friends in Montana who have offered their address to register.
    Cheers
    Richard

  9. #9
    Thanks everyone, I was planning on flying in to Boston as I will be mixing business and pleasure, they in principle seem a lot less relaxed about visitors and firearms. Anyone any experience with an east coast airport?

    Thanks for the advice on kit and CWD, I will get some stuff and leave with my mate, I suspect this trip may turn into a regular outing.

    Thanks again

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by devon deer stalker View Post
    Regarding form 6, it does state on the BATF site one is still required, so i wont be taking any chances and applying for one next week, as they say, its better to have a condom and not need it, than not have one and need it!
    But what's the betting based on personal experience Virbius is correct, i will report back when i return from the trip.
    As i will be mainly camping the address was a problem, but thankfully i have made a few friends in Montana who have offered their address to register.
    Cheers
    Richard
    Before my most recent trips, I sought advice from the US import agencies and they stated that I didn't need one and three separate border guards were happy with me entering the USA without one. I always check before any trip with firearms in case any regulations have change, so always prudent to check each and every time.

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