Thursday, October 02, 2008

Crossing the U.S. / Canadian border with firearms

The Lost Target web pages that address crossing the border with firearms have been tweaked...

Visitors to the United States with Firearms - ATF Form 6NIA

and

Visitors to Canada with Firearms

Some background...

The government websites, especially the Canadian site, are much better than seen in past years in regard to laying out the procedure, but I try to bring it down a notch or two so the government jargon is understood by all and to also add my own real world experience and those of my friends from both sides of the border.

To be frank, I wish the ATF would change the layout of there site in regard to ATF Form 6NIA, as not always easy to find or understand information presented.

I've been posting on crossing the border since 2002, the year the US government started to implement ATF Form 6 requirements for temporary imports, and from the time the Canadian government required a firearms declaration and payment for a visitor to bring a firearm into Canada.

When U.S. requirements were implemented, the ATF did not even have a form for temporary imports and modified the ATF Form 6 for use until they came out with the ATF Form 6NIA.

In the first few years, Canadians were routinely denied entry with a firearm at some crossings, as U.S. Customs would not recognize ATF's authority in the matter. Not so much in the past few years, but incidents still happen, as I posted in regard to an incident at a Vermont crossing this past September.

Obviously, the agents involved in the Vermont incident are not aware of the vetting process conducted by ATF, not professional, or did not graduate at the top of the class and failed to read the memo! You decide...

For those not aware, a visitor to the U.S. must seek prior approval from the ATF six to eight weeks prior to crossing the border with a firearm or ammunition. The visitor is throughly checked by ATF before approval is given. Except for a serial number check of firearms and a check of paperwork, no reason for U.S. Customs to have the visitor jump through hoops or to give him or her a hard time.

If visiting Canada, you fill out a form at the border and pay $25 Canadian dollars and your good to go for 60 days, unless you have a five year Canadian Firearm License. I've seen an American processed in under 15 minutes!

I cross the border a minimum of 25 times a year with firearms and shoot with both Canadians and Americans on both sides of the border.

I still run into customs agents that don't have a clue. I've been asked for my ATF Form 6NIA, even though I'm not a Canadian. I was told this past summer that I must renew my U.S. Customs Form 4457, as it was only good for one year. I had to keep my cool and explained the form did not expire and only needed to be replaced when no longer readable. The issue was dropped...

I've run into problems with Canadian Customs, but usually because a young person was hired for the summer and they don't see many Americans with a Canadian Firearms License. Last year I had a young lady apologize for delaying my travel, but she stated she needed to contact her supervisor to see how she should proceed. A short call and I was on my way. Good for her and the correct way to handle the situation!

Water under the bridge and most never experience a problem at the border...

I have written to and spoke to both the ATF and the Canadian Firearm Center on crossing procedures with firearms. I sometimes don't like the answer, but they are always willing to talk.

As for the page tweaks...

I removed several paragraphs that did not aid in crossing the border and more then likely made the process seem harder than it actually is.

I re-wrote several sentences and moved a few.

I verified all links. For whatever reason, I can't get the North Dakota Hunting License links to work, but I will keep it up for the time being and assume it's a temporary glitch. A license used by many Canadians in conjunction with the ATF Form 6NIA.

I updated identification required when crossing borders, to include June 1, 2009 requirements. I keep an eye on this and as information is updated by the government I will in-turn update the pages.

An often asked question.

No, you cannot normally transport a handgun into Canada. If needed for a competition, it must be approved prior to your arrival at the border.

Leave it at home...

1 comment:

  1. Great post and very useful tips on the legal work that you should do the better task and its amazing to read out because few points we neglect during travel and show the carelessness!I must say that you done a superb job!

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