If you are visiting New Zealand for less than a year and need a firearms licence, apply for a visitor’s licence.
A firearm is anything from which any shot, bullet, missile or other projectile can be discharged by force of explosion.
Standard firearms licence – who needs one?
Anyone can use a sporting firearm without a licence if they are under the immediate supervision of a licence holder. 'Immediate supervision' means the licensed person is within reach and can control the firearm. The superviser must not be using another firearm at the same time.
If you are 16 years old or over you can apply for a standard firearms licence. This will allow you to have and use unsupervised:
- sporting type shotguns and rifles
- pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles.
You need a special addition to your licence (called an endorsement) to:
- possess or use pistols for target shooting (B endorsement)
- collect pistols and restricted weapons or stage theatrical performances involving pistols and restricted weapons (C endorsement)
- possess or use military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) rifles or shotguns (E endorsement).
If you are 18 or older you do not need a licence to own or use an airgun unsupervised. You do need a standard firearms licence to use pre-charged pneumatic air rifles, except those used in airsoft/MilSim and paintball sports.
If you are 16 or 17 years old and wish to buy or use an airgun unsupervised, you need a standard firearms licence.
How to apply for a new or renewed standard firearms licence
Attend a firearms safety course and sit the safety test. To make an appointment contact your nearest Police station.
If you are renewing your licence, miss out Step 1.
Fill in the form at the back of the Arms Code booklet given to you before the safety course. Or print and fill in the application for a New Zealand firearms licence form (PDF, 30KB).
Do not fill in the test on the back of the form at this stage.
Take the application form to a PostShop and pay the application fee. Keep the receipt.
You could get two passport photos, needed in Step 4, while at the PostShop.
Fees (including GST):
- standard licence (valid for 10 years), new or renewed before expiry - $126.50
(Note: any current endorsements held at the time of renewal may be transferred without charge to the new licence)
- standard licence expired (previous licence expired) - $241.50
(Note: any endorsements upon an expired licence must be reapplied for and the endorsement fee paid)
- standard licence endorsement(s) - $204.00
For one or more endorsements (when applied for at the same time), allowing you to have:
- target pistols (B endorsement)
- military-style semi-automatic rifles or shotguns (E endorsement)
- a collection of pistols or restricted weapons (C Collectors or Museum endorsement)
- pistols or restricted weapons for performing a play/film/re-enactment (C Theatrical endorsement)
- pistols or restricted weapons for hire or sale (F endorsement - dealers).
Take your application to your nearest Police station. Take with you:
- your application form
- your old licence (if you have one)
- proof that you have completed the safety course
- two recent passport style photos (for rules concerning passport photos visit the Department of Internal Affairs website)
- three documents that prove your identity (passport, birth certificate, driver licence, photo ID, credit card/bank card)
- contact details of two character referees. One referee must be your spouse or next of kin, the other must be someone who is over 20 years old and not related to you
- PostShop receipt for fees.
Someone will arrange to visit you. They will interview you and check your firearms security arrangements. They will arrange to interview your referees.
You will have difficulty being deemed 'fit and proper' to possess or use firearms if you have:
- a history of violence
- repeated involvement with drugs
- been irresponsible with alcohol
- a personal or social relationship with people deemed to be unsuitable to be given access to firearms
- indicated an intent to use a firearm for self-defence.
You will need to show that firearms will be stored in the manner set out in the Arms Regulations - if you can't, you may not get a licence or your current one will be revoked. All licence holders must install security at their home, even if they don't actually have any firearms. Security requirements are particularly strict for dealers and for licence holders who possess pistols, restricted weapons or MSSAs.
- You must never put a firearm where a child could reach it.
- You must store firearms and ammunition separately or disable the firearms, or both.
- You must keep your firearms unloaded and locked away in a rack, stout cabinet, steel cabinet or strongroom.
After vetting has been completed, you will be told if your application has been successful. If it was, you will be issued with a licence.
If your firearms licence is due to expire while you are overseas
You cannot renew a firearms licence while you are overseas - you must apply in person at the Police station nearest to where you live or work in New Zealand.
If you are overseas, we advise you to surrender your licence before it expires. On your return to New Zealand you can then apply for a new firearms licence, which is cheaper than renewing an expired licence.
To surrender your licence before it expires, contact the Arms Officer nearest to where you normally live or work in New Zealand. Keep the firearms licence and a copy of the message you send the Arms Officer. Apply for a new licence when you get back to New Zealand. You can shoot sporting firearms under immediate supervision while waiting for your new licence.
Contact your nearest firearms office.
Change of contact details
If you have changed your address or other contact details since your firearms licence was issued, you are required by law to let us know. Change address on firearms licence.