Import Firearms, Ammunition, and Defense Articles

An application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition, and Defense Articles is generally needed to import defense articles into the United States.  The most recent PDF, non-fillable version of the ATF Form 6 Part I import permit application may be found on our website in the Forms Library.  You may also search our website under Download Forms or contact our ATF Distribution Center to order a year’s supply of any of our forms and publications.

It generally takes the Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch (FEIB) personnel approximately four-to-six weeks to process a properly completed ATF Form 6.  To assist us with the timely processing of your forms, we ask that you ensure:

  • The form contains accurate and complete information.
  • Item 1 contains your complete and valid 15-digit Federal firearms license number and your expiration date (located in the box directly to the right of the FFL box), especially the 7th and 8th digits which identifies your type of license.  The 9th digit of your FFL number indicates the year your license expires, and the 10th digit indicates the month.
Code A B C D E F G H I J K L
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Remember:  If you are a Federal firearms licensee Type “08” or “11” but you have not registered as an importer under the Arms Export Control Act, you are restricted to importing sporting shotguns, sporting shotgun ammunition, and sporting shotgun parts for resale.

  • Item 2 contains your business and fax telephone numbers.  Please note the letter B next to your business telephone number, and F next to your fax number.
  • Item 3 contains the name of the country the firearm is being exported from. Pursuant to 27 CFR §447.52, be advised that ATF is precluded from approving applications to import articles that were manufactured in, or being exported from a proscribed country.
  • Item 5 contains your name and address, not the name and address of the person you may be importing the articles on behalf of.
  • Item 6 contains the foreign seller’s name and address.
  • Item 7 contains the foreign shipper’s name and address. If this information is identical to the information in item 6, you may note the words “see item 6.”
  • Items 8a-k requires you to provide a specific detailed description of the defense articles you wish to import.   You may complete one Form 6 to import numerous defense articles but list only the articles that correspond with the Form 6.  If the space provided in Items 8a-k is not sufficient to list all of the articles you with to import, please note only the words “see attachment” on the face of the ATF Form 6, under the Firearms, Ammunition, or Defense Articles category, whichever is applicable.  Use a separate sheet of paper to precisely describe and itemize the articles you wish to import, following the identical format in items 8a-k on the Form 6.  This information is needed to determine the import status of the articles.  List firearm component parts, (which do not include a firearm frame or receiver) under the Defense Articles category.  Defense Articles include magazines, grips, barrels, mounts, etc.  Note the magazine capacity as well as the type and model designation of the firearm associated with the parts.   When importing Defense Articles, you must complete items 8a-f and list additional information under Description of the Defense Article category.
  • Item 8b contains only the acronyms:
Code Description
SG Shotgun
RI Rifle
PI Pistol
RE Revolver
DD Destructive Device
SI Silencer
SR Short-barreled rifle
SS Short-barreled shotgun
MG Machinegun
AW Any other weapon (Marble Game Getters, pen and cane guns, etc.)

Any information you can provide to further identify articles may be noted in item 8b.  For example, if you know the firearm is an assault, non-sporting, or NFA weapon, you may note this information separately, directly under columns item 8b-, after you have already described the articles in items d 8a-k.

  • Item 8c contains items caliber and gauge.  If you are importing articles of various calibers and gauges, you must itemize and specifically identify the caliber and gauge of each article.
  • Item 8d contains the quantity.  If you are importing article of various models, you must itemize and specifically identify each article by its model designation.
  • Item 8e contains the unit cost in US dollars.
  • Item 8f contains the USMIL category of the article to be imported that corresponds to the categories of defense articles enumerated under 27 CFR §447.21.  For example, firearms and firearms components=Category/Roman numeral I and ammunition=Category/Roman numeral III.
  • Item 8g contains the firearm’s exact model designation.  If you are unable to determine the model designation, please attach close-up photographs and/or scaled tracings (for handguns only) together with a listing of all markings appearing on the firearm and the location of these markings.  This information will assist us in determining the import status of the firearm, and it should be attached to the completed Form 6.
  • Items 8h-I note the firearm’s barrel and overall length.  Please provide inches instead of centimeters or millimeters.

Remember: the barrel and overall length are not the only criteria used to determine the import status of the firearms.  To meet the sporting criteria and qualify for importation under the law at section 925(d)(3): (1) rifles must meet requirements outlined in the 1989 and 1998 import studies; (2) shotguns must meet the criteria outlined in the 2012 Importability of Certain Shotguns Study; (3) pistols must have an overall length of 6 inches and achieve a minimum score of 75 points on ATF F 5330.5, Factoring Criteria for Weapons, and revolvers must have a minimum barrel length of 3 inches or more, pass the hammer drop safety test and achieve a minimum score of 45 points on ATF F 5330.5, Factoring Criteria for Weapons.

  • Item 8j contains the firearm’s serial number.
  • Item 8k notes the condition of the firearm; N=new and U=used.
  • Item 9 b or c is checked only if the items to be imported are U.S. origin military defense articles and not commercially manufactured goods.  The U.S. Military defense articles “contain U.S. manufactured parts or components and/or foreign manufactured parts or components that were manufactured with U.S. technical assistance,” you must first obtain written retransfer authorization from the U.S. Department of State, Office of Defense Trade Controls, Political Military (PM/DTC), Room 1200 SA-1, 241 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037, 202-663-1282 Department of State, to be attached to the initial completed Form 6.  New production of U.S. military defense articles would still require retransfer authorization to quality for importation into the United States.
  • Item 10 contains the specific purpose of importation, such as Gun Show, personal use, “on behalf of”, demonstration, or resale, etc.  If importing NFA and no-sporting weapons, please ensure an official government contract, purchase order, or letter typed on official law enforcement and/or government letterhead, bearing the original signature of the chief law enforcement official having jurisdiction over that area, is attached to the completed Form 6.
  • Item 12 contains your 10-digit AECA number which was issued by this office when you completed Form 4587.
  • Item 13 contains your printed name.
  • Item 14 contains your original signature.
  • Item 15 contains your title such as Importer, CEO, or President.
Last Reviewed February 16, 2023