International Gun Travel: What Countries Can You Bring Your Gun?
We’ve all seen footage either online or on TV of people hunting in exotic lands for equally exotic animals and, for the most part, they’re using firearms. Sometimes, the guns are rented from the outfitter in-country, but plenty of other times, the hunters have brought their own guns with them from the United States to some international destination.
The same goes for international shooting competitions. Those people are definitely bringing their own personal firearms to different countries so as to make sure they’ve got the best chances of winning.
You’ve probably then wondered what kind of hoops you have to jump through in order to travel internationally with a firearm. After all, it can sometimes be hard enough just driving or flying with a firearm in certain places in the US, let alone another country!
The good news is that it’s absolutely possible to travel internationally with a firearm. Plenty of people do it all the time, and as long as you follow the laws and regulations, there’s no reason why you can’t do it, too.
What Countries Can You Bring Your Gun to?
Global politics are an ever-changing thing, and that means that there often isn’t a black-and-white answer that can provide you with a definitive list of what countries you can and cannot travel to with a gun. In some cases, the list would be out of date almost immediately. In others, the caveats to approval prohibit making a definitive statement.
Despite this, we stand firm that it is indeed possible to travel internationally with a gun. If you follow the tips outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to planning your next trip.
You Can Always Check in with Your Destination’s Diplomatic Contact to Verify
An easy first step is to contact the US diplomatic office in the country where you plan to travel. They can often provide you with some initial information and point you in the right direction for any further questions.
Of course, they’ll also be able to tell you straight away if international travel to a specific country is outright forbidden, which is definitely the case in some parts of the world.
What are the Requirements Before Your International Travel with a Weapon
There are a lot of things you’ll need to know about traveling internationally with a gun. Thankfully, that information is readily available and we’ll cover much of it here.
All Weapons Traveling Outside of the US are “Exports”
We generally think of exports as being items that are going from one country to another to be sold there and not brought back. While this is true, your weapons are also considered exports even though they’ll be coming back to the US.
You Must Declare Your “Export” to Customs & Border Protection
The guns and ammo that you’re temporarily exporting must be declared to CBP. The most important part of this process is to verify that you had the items with you when you left the US, meaning you won’t have to pay any duty (taxes) upon bringing them back into the country.
You Must Obtain an International Travel Number
The Internal Transaction Number (ITN) is a unique number that is generated as confirmation that the Electronic Export Information (EEI) was correctly submitted and accepted in AESDirect.
To obtain your ITN, you’ll fill out the EEI online and submit it to AESDirect, which is the online system for the Automated Export System. Once you do this, you’ll be issued your ITN.
Travelers should maintain a copy of ITN and present it, along with a verbal declaration that they are traveling with a firearm(s) or ammunition, to Customs & Border Protection when you’re leaving the United States.
You May Not, Under Any Circumstance, Sell or Trade Your Weapon in Another Country While Traveling
This might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s always that one person. So just remember: it is absolutely 100% illegal for you to sell or trade a firearm that you took with you on international travel. (That is unless you like the country you’re visiting so much that you want to extend your stay indefinitely in one of their prisons.)
TSA Requirements for International Gun Transportation at the Airport
TSA will have some say in how you store and transport your guns and ammo on the US side of things for your travel. You’ll have to comply with all of their guidelines and those of the specific airlines.
Customs & Border Protection
Beyond TSA, you’ll be dealing with Customs & Border Protection for taking your guns out of the country and coming back in with them.
US Customs Form 4457
Form 4457 is used to register personal items before traveling abroad to facilitate duty-free re-entry of the same articles when you return. You can list your guns and ammo on this form, but it may not be used as the sole means to declare the permanent or temporary export of firearms or ammunition. This goes back to the ITN that we discussed earlier.
Always Add Your Ammunition to Your Paperwork for Traveling
It’s entirely possible that you won’t shoot all of the ammo that you take with you on international travel. If that’s the case, then you’ll definitely want to have added your ammo to your paperwork so that you don’t have any issues bringing it back into the US when you come home. Having it on your paperwork proves that you had it with you when you left, so there won’t be any issues bringing it back.
How to Store Your Suppressor for a Flight
Like your firearms and ammunition, your suppressor will have to be stored properly for the flight, too. It’ll be included on all of your declaration forms and should be transported in an approved flight container that is locked at all times when in transit as part of your checked baggage.
Don’t Leave Your Gun Behind on Your Travels
Is travel more complicated when it involves transporting a gun? Absolutely. Does that mean you should miss out on fun international opportunities and experiences simply because you don’t know how to do it? Absolutely not!
Remember: plenty of people travel internationally with guns all the time. You can easily be one of those people, too, with just a little bit of extra planning and paperwork before you travel.
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to start planning your next trip!