What circumstances may cause final action on a Federal Explosives License (FEL) application to be delayed?

Some examples of factors that could affect our timely processing of your application and the issuance of your license or permit could include the local ATF field office being unable to contact you for the purpose of the face-to-face interview; your need for additional time to satisfy the requirements of your local zoning boards or other state and local agencies in order to bring your proposed business premises into compliance with state or local law; your need for additional time to obtain or construct the correct storage facility for the explosives product you plan to maintain, the FBI being unable to adequately complete the required background checks because of incomplete or aged court records or fingerprint card imprints that could not be “read” and require re-submission, or insufficient fee payment.

If the field office’s recommendation is to deny your application, then a different process applies. That process requires the field office to notify you in writing of the reasons for denial and give you the chance to request and attend a hearing to review the evidence upon which the denial is based. The Safe Explosives Act also affords an applicant the right to appeal an adverse hearing decision to federal district court. The hearing process would obviously exceed 90 days.

If you submit a license or permit renewal application with the appropriate fee to ATF prior to the expiration date of your current license, you can contact the Federal Explosives Licensing Center (FELC) and request what is called a Letter of Authorization (LOA). An LOA will act as evidence of your licensed status until we act on your pending renewal application and can be provided by the license holder to suppliers to verify that you are a licensee in good standing awaiting final ATF action on your renewal application.

Last Reviewed April 12, 2022