ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

National Firearms Act (NFA) — Processing Times

  1. How long does it take for ATF to process my NFA application?
  2. I am a Special (Occupational) Taxpayer and would like to obtain a copy of the NFA firearms inventory registered to me as recorded in ATF’s National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). How do I obtain a copy of my NFRTR inventory list?
  3. When filing an ATF Form 4, Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, or ATF Form 5, Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, the applicant must also submit ATF Form 5330.20, Certification of Compliance with 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(B). Must both the transfer application and certification form be filed in duplicate?


Q: How long does it take for ATF to process my NFA application?

The processing time for NFA applications varies depending on the type of application submitted. Certain applications require the processing of making or transfer taxes while others are tax-exempt. Some applications require the prospective transferee to pass Federal background checks based on both name and fingerprints while transferees such as law enforcement agencies or foreign military agencies are exempt from background checks. ATF also must ensure that a proposed transfer would not violate State or local law in the transferee’s place of residence. The time needed to research and verify State and local requirements can vary greatly depending on the legal complexity of laws governing the type of firearm sought or the business structure and status of applicants other than individuals.

In addition, the sheer volume of applications submitted for ATF review has dramatically increased in recent years. In fiscal year 2005, for example, ATF processed 41,579 NFA applications of all types. By FY 2011 that number had increased to 105,373, with a 25% decrease in the number of NFA examiners available to process the work. Currently, ATF’s customer service goal is to process an Application to Make and Register a Firearm (Form 1) and an Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm (Form 4) within 6 months of ATF’s receipt of a correctly executed application. The customer service standard for processing all other types of NFA applications (i.e., those which don’t generally require tax processing or background checks) is within one month of ATF’s receipt of a correctly executed application. It is important to keep in mind that incomplete or incorrect applications slow ATF’s ability to take final action. If you wish to confirm receipt of an application by ATF or obtain a status check on a pending application, you should call the NFA Branch at 304-616-4500. It will help the NFA Branch locate your application more quickly if you have the serial number of the firearm sought for transfer and the name of the prospective transferee.


Q: I am a Special (Occupational) Taxpayer and would like to obtain a copy of the NFA firearms inventory registered to me as recorded in ATF’s National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). How do I obtain a copy of my NFRTR inventory list?

To request an NFRTR listing of your NFA firearms, submit a dated and signed, written request to the Chief, NFA Branch. If you are a sole proprietor, provide the following identifying information when making your request: your name, trade name (if any), premises address, date of birth, Federal firearms license number(s), and Employer Identification number. If you are requesting on behalf of a corporate entity, provide the corporate name, trade name (if any), premises address, Federal firearms license number(s), Employer Identification number, your name, and your title with the corporation. Also include your contact information, such as a telephone number at which you can be contacted, and your email address if you can receive the inventory electronically in a spreadsheet.


Q: When filing an ATF Form 4, Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, or ATF Form 5, Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, the applicant must also submit ATF Form 5330.20, Certification of Compliance with 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(B). Must both the transfer application and certification form be filed in duplicate?

No, only the transfer application must be submitted in duplicate, as required by the National Firearms Act. Neither the regulations in 27 CFR Parts 478 or 479, nor the instructions for Form 4, Form 5, or Form 5330.20 state that Form 5330.20 must be submitted in duplicate. Accordingly, ATF needs only one copy of Form 5330.20 to be submitted with a Form 4 or Form 5 transfer application. See July 29, 2010, Open Letter posted on the ATF website.