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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

August 11, 2010

Common ATF Form 6 Errors

To all ATF Form 6, Part I applicants:

In an effort to improve our services to all customers, we have found it beneficial to educate customers on some of the ways you can help us more efficiently and effectively process your import permit applications. Toward that end, below is a list of the most common errors we encounter when processing applications. While these errors may seem insignificant, they can cause excessive delays in processing a permit application or even result in an application being returned without action or denied.

This list of errors is provided as a quick reference tool for your use in reviewing an application before sending it to us. It also may be helpful for training new employees assigned to prepare permit applications for your business. The blocks referenced below are found on ATF Form 6, Application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition, and Implements of War, also known as ATF Form 5330.3A.

  • Block 1. An incomplete Federal firearms license number is provided, or an expired license number is provided but a copy of a valid Letter of Authorization (LOA) issued by the Federal Firearms Licensing Center is not supplied.
  • Block 3. More than one country of exportation is listed or the country listed is incorrect (i.e., Wales, Czechoslavakia, etc.). A separate ATF Form 6 is required for each country of export.
  • Block 6. Foreign Seller is left blank. List only one Foreign Seller on each Form. A new ATF Form 6 is required for each different Foreign Seller.
  • Block 8. Implements of War (IOW), is incorrectly completed. Firearms frames and receivers must be listed as Firearms, not as IOW. Barrels and other firearms parts must be listed as IOW. Firearms accessories do not require an ATF import permit and should not be listed on ATF Form 6. Some types of accessories erroneously listed include slings, bayonets, cleaning rods, and tools. The IOW description block should accurately and correctly identify the parts you intend to import. Please list each article to be imported on a separate line of the form. Use an attachment sheet if necessary to mirror blocks 8.a.–k. Always provide the caliber, gauge or size, quantity, unit cost, U.S. Munitions Import List Category, model designation, and length of barrel (if applicable). For example, descriptions of magazines often lack the caliber of ammunition used in the magazine.
  • Block 8.a. The manufacturer is listed as “Unknown” or the address of the manufacturer is missing. Please supply supporting documentation along with your completed Form 6 to verify the identity of the manufacturer if you suspect the manufacturer may be new, unusual, defunct, or not commonly known.
  • Block 8.b. is incomplete. Enter the appropriate “Type” code of SG for Shotgun, RI for Rifle, PI for Pistol, RE for Revolver, DD for Destructive Device, and MG for Machinegun. The following additional codes should also be used when applicable: SI for silencer, SR for short barreled rifle, SS for short barreled shotgun, Ball for general purpose standard ammunition with a solid core bullet, Wad-cutter for solid flat-nosed type ammunition, Shot for shotgun loads, AP for armor piercing, T for Tracer, API for armor piercing incendiary, API-T for armor piercing incendiary-tracer.
  • Block 8.f. The U.S. Munitions List Category is omitted or incorrect. Refer to ATF Publication 5300.4 — Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide 2014, pages 104–106 of the hard copy edition, to identify the appropriate Category and subsection. For example, the Category of ammunition belting and linking machines would be listed as III(c). The Reference Guide is also available at ATF’s website: ATF P 5300.4 — Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide – 2014 Edition (Revised 3-7-15)
  • Block 8.g. is incomplete. The exact model designation is omitted or incorrect. The model designation of a firearm must be provided. If you are unable to furnish the requested information please provide close up photographs and/or scaled tracings (handguns only) together with a listing of all markings appearing on the firearm and the location of these markings. This information is needed in order to determine the import status of the firearm. “TBD,” “prototype,” and generic designations or physical descriptions such as Combo, Sporter or O/U should not be used as model designations, nor should internal production, UPC, or shipping codes.
  • Block 9. Certification of Origin is not complete. Box a, b or c must be selected.
  • Block 9.b. and/or 9.c. is checked but no retransfer authorization from the Department of State is attached. ATF cannot process an application for certain U.S. origin defense articles without a written retransfer authorization from the Department of State (DOS), Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfer Policy or the Office of Defense Trade Controls. ATF will return without action applications lacking this documentation. If after submission of your application to ATF you are successful in obtaining DOS retransfer authorization, you may submit a new import application with the authorization attached. Questions concerning retransfer authorizations should be directed to the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfer Policy at (202) 647-9750 or Office of Defense Trade Controls at (202) 663-1282.
  • Block 10 is blank or incomplete. You must detail the specific purpose of importation. If the import is in furtherance of a government contract you must identify the government agency involved, list the contract number, and enclose a copy of the signed and dated contract. If the import is on behalf of a nonlicensee, include that person’s name and address. A few other examples include resale, gunshow exhibit, personal use, entry into or removal from a Customs Bonded Warehouse or Free Trade Zone.
  • Block 12 is incorrect or incomplete. You must provide your correct and current AECA registration number, including the expiration date.
  • Outdated form received. Please submit the most current edition of the ATF Form 6 Part I. Previous editions are obsolete. The current form is available at ATF’s website:

Should you have further questions or concerns relative to this matter, please do not hesitate to write or call the Firearms & Explosives Imports Branch at (304) 616-4550.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at