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Bringing Weapons Into Canada

Bringing Weapons Into Canada

Weapons are strictly controlled. Visitors bringing firearms into Canada, or planning to borrow and use firearms while in Canada, are required to declare the firearms in writing using a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Form.

NOTE: Travelers should be advised that certain knives, even those used for hunting and fishing, may be considered prohibited weapons.

In all cases, travelers must declare to Canadian Customs authorities any firearms and weapons in their possession when entering Canada. There are often facilities near border crossings where weapons may be stored, pending the traveler's return to the United States, but this should be done before attempting to enter Canada.

NOTE:Canadian law requires that officials seize firearms and weapons from those crossing the border who deny having them in their possession. Seized firearms and weapons are never returned.

Weapons Classifications

Canada has three classes of firearms: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. What follows is a summary. Please refer to the Canadian Firearms Centre or contact a Canadian Consulate in the U.S. for more detailed information.

Weapons Classifications

Non-restricted firearms Most ordinary hunting rifles and shotguns. These may be brought temporarily into Canada for sporting or hunting use during hunting season, for use in competition, for in-transit movement through Canada, or for personal protection against wildlife in remote areas of Canada. Anyone wishing to bring hunting rifles into Canada must be at least 18 years old, and the firearm must be properly stored for transport.
Restricted firearms Primarily handguns; however, pepper spray and mace are also included in this category. A restricted firearm may be brought into Canada, but an Authorization to Transport (ATT) permit must be obtained in advance from a Provincial or Territorial Chief Firearms Officer. The ATT will not be issued for hunting or self-protection purposes.
Prohibited firearms Prohibited firearms are not allowed into Canada. These include fully automatic, converted automatics, assault-type weapons and handguns with a barrel length less than 105mm (4 inches), replicas of such weapons and certain knives. A complete list can be found at the Canada Border Services Agency website. Canadian customs officials will automatically confiscate the firearm. It will not be returned, and the firearm ultimately will be destroyed. The gun owner is not given the option to withdraw the request to enter Canada and return to the U.S. in order to retain possession of the prohibited firearm.

Note: Certain handguns used in International Shooting Union (ISU) sporting competitions are classified as restricted even though they meet the definition of a prohibited handgun. The Canadian Firearms Centre provides more details on their web site.

Declaring your Weapon at the Border

To enter Canada with a Restricted Weapon, you must obtain in advance an Authorization to Transport. In addition, the Firearms Declaration Form must be signed before a Canadian Customs officer and the fee paid at the border. Multiple firearms can be declared on the same form. The declaration will serve as temporary license and registration certificate for up to 60 days. Visitors may renew the temporary license any time during a 12-month period without paying an additional fee. The Non-Resident Firearm Declaration costs CA$50.

Transport through Canada to/from Alaska

The easiest way to transport firearms is to have any firearm(s) crated and shipped to your destination via commercial carrier.

Borrowed Weapons

Visitors planning to borrow a firearm in Canada must obtain in advance a Temporary Firearms Borrowing License which must be signed before a Canadian Customs officer and the fee paid at the border. The cost is CA$30.

Forms

Application forms may be downloaded at the links above. Or phone (800) 731-4000 for more information or to ask that the forms be mailed to you. The forms are also available at all Customs offices across Canada.

In order to save time at the border, Canadian authorities recommend that visitors complete the appropriate form -- but do not sign it - and make two copies of the completed form before arriving at the Port of Entry. Requests made at the border for photocopies of the form may be denied. Full details on this policy are available at the Canadian Firearms Centre website in the Visitors/Non-Residents section.

More Information

In advance of any travel, please contact the Canadian Firearms Centre or a Canadian consulate in the U.S. for detailed information and instructions on temporarily importing firearms.

Know Before You Go

  • Purchasing Firearms and Parts of Firearms in the U.S.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is reminding Canadian citizens about the requirements for exporting firearms and parts of firearms that were purchased in the United States. The exportation of firearms and parts of firearms from the U.S. is regulated by the Department of State and the Department of Commerce. CBP enforces the laws of those two agencies at the ports of entry/exit. (Read More)