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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/travelling-with-a-european-firearms-pass-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/travelling-with-a-european-firearms-pass-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
Delivering the deal negotiated with the EU remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed.
However, the government must prepare for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario. For 2 years, the government has been implementing a significant programme of work to ensure that the UK is prepared to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
It has always been the case that as we get nearer to that date, preparations for a no deal scenario would have to be accelerated. We must ensure plans are in place should they need to be relied upon.
In the summer, the government published a series of 106 technical notices setting out information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a no deal scenario so they can make informed plans and preparations.
This technical notice offers guidance for continued planning in the event of no deal.
Also included is an overarching framing notice explaining the government’s approach to preparing the UK for this outcome in order to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit.
We are working with the devolved administrations on technical notices and we will continue to do so as plans develop.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK residents travelling to EU countries with their firearm or shotgun after 29 March 2019 should contact the authorities of the countries concerned for information about their licensing requirements.
UK residents will no longer be able to use a European Firearms Pass. You should check the requirements of the EU country you are travelling to with your firearm or shotgun.
This advice also applies to UK residents who are due to be in an EU country with their firearm when the UK leaves the EU.
If you are sponsoring an EU visitor to the UK, you should continue to apply to the local police force for a Visitor’s Permit. Permits issued before the UK leaves the EU will remain valid until they expire.
Before 29 March 2019
The European Firearms Pass (EFP) is a form of passport for firearms and is designed for use by those who are travelling with their firearms between EU countries. EFPs are issued by the EU country in which a firearm owner is resident. You do not need an EFP if you are travelling within the UK and you hold a valid UK firearms certificate.
In the UK, police forces are responsible for issuing EFPs to UK residents who have been granted a certificate permitting them to acquire and possess firearms and shotguns. An EFP can only cover the firearms and shotguns that are specified on your certificate.
In addition to an EFP, all EU visitors to the UK must hold a valid Visitor’s Permit to bring their firearm into the country. An application for a Visitor’s Permit must be made to the local UK police force by the EU visitor’s sponsor in this country and must be accompanied by the EU visitor’s valid EFP or a copy of it.
The provisions relating to Visitors’ Permits are set out in section 17 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 and articles 15-16 of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004.
After a ‘no deal’ Brexit on 29 March 2019
EFPs would no longer be available to UK residents wishing to travel with their firearms to EU countries. You will need to comply with whatever licensing or other requirements each EU country imposes, as well as UK import and export licensing requirements.
Export licences will generally be required for exports of firearms to EU countries. There may be exemptions for firearms travelling as personal effects.
EFPs would no longer be recognised for EU visitors to the UK. Their sponsors will have to apply for a Visitor’s Permit but it will no longer be a legal requirement to show a valid EFP. This does not weaken current firearm controls as the police will continue to assess an applicant’s fitness to hold a firearm as part of their consideration of the Visitor’s Permit application.
The arrangements for EFPs are set out in the EU Weapons Directive 91/477/EEC, as amended by 2017/853 and are implemented through provisions in sections 32A-C of the Firearms Act 1968 and, in Northern Ireland, through articles 19-23 of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004.
Find out more about:
- applying for Visitors Permits
- Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) firearms information
- UK export licensing requirements
This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.
It is part of the government’s ongoing programme of planning for all possible outcomes. We expect to negotiate a successful deal with the EU.
The UK government is clear that in this scenario we must respect our unique relationship with Ireland, with whom we share a land border and who are co-signatories of the Belfast Agreement. The UK government has consistently placed upholding the Agreement and its successors at the heart of our approach. It enshrines the consent principle on which Northern Ireland’s constitutional status rests. We recognise the basis it has provided for the deep economic and social cooperation on the island of Ireland. This includes North-South cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which we’re committed to protecting in line with the letter and spirit of Strand two of the Agreement.
The Irish government have indicated they would need to discuss arrangements in the event of no deal with the European Commission and EU countries. The UK would stand ready in this scenario to engage constructively to meet our commitments and act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, recognising the very significant challenges that the lack of a UK-EU legal agreement would pose in this unique and highly sensitive context.
It remains, though, the responsibility of the UK government, as the sovereign government in Northern Ireland, to continue preparations for the full range of potential outcomes, including no deal. As we do, and as decisions are made, we’ll take full account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.
Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and participate in other EU arrangements. As such, in many areas, these countries adopt EU rules. Where this is the case, these technical notices may also apply to them, and EEA businesses and citizens should consider whether they need to take any steps to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario.