Friday, March 07, 2008

Canadians importing firearms into the US for repairs

Importation of Firearm for Repairs (FAQ)

Q5. I am a nonimmigrant alien temporarily bringing a firearm into the United States for repair. Should I complete the Form 6NIA?

A. Yes. This is the one other situation (besides a temporarily import for hunting or other lawful sporting purposes) where a nonimmigrant alien should complete the Form 6NIA.

This FAQ has been under discussion the past few weeks and some of the guidance given by various people was more of what they think than what the correct procedure is.

I contacted the Firearms Branch for clarification in regard to firearm repairs, asking a number of related questions, to include modifications. Comments at the end of paragraphs in the response are my own.


This email is in response to your letter to the F&E Imports Branch dated March 2, 2008.

- There is a fine line between the repair of a firearm and the manufacturing of a firearm. For the most part, gunsmithing is the replacement of parts. Manufacturing is the addition of firearms parts. My suggestion would be to call your local ATF office if you need additional clarification. (I had also asked about modifications to a firearm, not just a repair).

- The person conducting firearm repairs should be licensed by ATF to do so. They should either be a licensed gunsmith or a licensed manufacturer. A letter from the gunsmith is sufficient documentation in order to apply for an ATF F6NIA. (This was in regard to supporting documentation when submitting your ATF Form 6NIA).

- Under an ATF F6NIA, the importation is just temporary and when the owner leaves, they must take the firearm(s) with them. (You cannot depart the states without the firearm).

- An ATF F6 is not the right vehicle for a temporary importation. ATF F6’s are only for permanent importations. (Asked about using the ATF Form 6 to temporarily import for repairs, instead of the ATF Form 6NIA).

- If you wish to temporarily import a firearm, and cannot wait for the repair, your only other avenue is apply for a DSP-5 temporary import through the US State Department.

- The importation of barrels also requires an approved ATF F6. If you apply for an ATF F6NIA, you would just record the information about the barrel on the form and explain it is for repair. (I asked about barrel repairs and modifications such as installing chokes. You cannot leave the barrel in the states when you depart. You may have to inquire on choke installation, as that is not a repair. Selling your barrel in the US requires a ATF F6, not to be confused with the ATF Form 6NIA)

- You cannot leave a repaired firearm in the states when an ATF F6NIA is used. An ATF F6NIA cannot be used for shipping a firearm. (I asked a direct question on the possibility of leaving the firearm in the US and shipping)

I hope that I have answered your questions. If not, please call our main Imports number at (304) 616-4550 and ask to speak to an Imports Specialist.

Kevin L. Boydston
Department of Justice
Bureau of ATF&E
Chief, F&E Imports Branch
Martinsburg, WV 25405


ATF Form 6NIA Procedures for Temporary Firearm Imports into the US

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