New Zealand firearms licence application


[2 July 2020] Police are now processing first time licence and endorsement applications.

[14 May 2020] In response to Covid-19, the Government has passed temporary legislation enabling the extension of firearms and dealers’ licences expiring between December 2019 and 25 September 2020. This means people who have an expired or expiring firearms or dealer’s licence, and have applied for a renewal, will be deemed to have a current licence until the outcome of their licence application.

This recognises the inability of licence holders to complete the renewal application or for Police to progress licensing and vetting activity during alert level restrictions. Please note there will be delays as Police works through the backlog, as well as new applications.

What the changes mean for licence holders:

  • If your firearms or dealer’s licence expired before or on 24 March 2020 you must have already applied for a renewal of your licence before it expired for the temporary legislation to apply. If your licence expired before this date and you had not applied for a renewal, you are not legally able to possess or use firearms. You should urgently contact your local police arms office to discuss your options.

  • If your firearms or dealer licence has or will expire between 25 March and 25 September you need to apply for a renewal of your licence as soon as you can to allow for the expected delays in processing your application and no later than 4 months after the expiry date. Following your application you will be able to legally continue to possess, procure, or use a firearm or ammunition for up to 12 months after the original expiry date or until you have had your licence application determined by Police if this happens earlier.

Any endorsements on the licence will continue to be valid for the same period as any extended licence. Similarly, any conditions on a licence will also continue during the extended licence period.

Licence holders going hunting or shooting should carry their existing firearms licence card with them, and confirmation that they have applied to renew their licence.

People who want to sell a firearm or ammunition to a person with a licence card which shows an expiry date before 25 September 2020 should contact their local arms office to confirm it is legally permitted to sell the firearm or ammunition.


Download an application for a New Zealand firearms licence (PDF 111KB)

Who needs a New Zealand firearms licence

If you are 16 years old or over you can apply for a firearms licence. This will allow you to have and use unsupervised:

  • shotguns and rifles that do not require an endorsement (as below)
  • specially dangerous airguns (including pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles).

You need a special addition to your licence (called an endorsement) to:

  • possess or use prohibited items (P endorsement)
  • collect pistols and restricted weapons or stage theatrical performances involving pistols and restricted weapons (C endorsement)
  • possess pistols and restricted weapons in your capacity as a dealer or their employee (F endorsement).

Anyone can use an A Category firearm without a licence if they are under the immediate supervision of a licence holder. Anyone can use a pistol if they are on the range of an incorporated pistol club that is recognised by the Commissioner of Police, and under the immediate supervision of a licence holder with a B endorsement. ‘Immediate supervision’ means the licensed person is within reach and can control the firearm. The supervisor must not be using another firearm at the same time.

Note: If you are visiting New Zealand for less than a year and need a firearms licence, apply for a visitor licence.

Using airguns

If you are 18 or older you do not need a licence to own or use an airgun. You do need a New Zealand firearms licence to use specially dangerous airguns (including pre-charged pneumatic air rifles), except those used in airsoft/military simulation (MilSim) and paintball sports.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and wish to buy or use an airgun unsupervised, you need a New Zealand firearms licence.

How to apply for a New Zealand firearms licence

Step 1

Complete the application form

Print and fill in the application for a New Zealand firearms licence (PDF 111KB).

Don’t fill in the safety test on the back of the form at this stage.

Step 2

Pay your application fee

Take your completed application form to a PostShop and pay the firearms licence application fee. Attach the receipt to your application form. You can get your passport photos taken (for step 3) at the same time if you need to.

Firearms licence application fees (including GST) as at 2018 are:

Type of fee


Licence fee for new licence holders


Licence fee before expiry of last licence


Licence fee after expiry of last licence


Fee for one or more endorsements (if you apply for them at the same time) allowing you to have:

  • target pistols (B 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)

  • prohibited items

  • pistols or restricted weapons for hire or sale (F endorsement – dealers)



Find an NZ Post store that offer firearms licence payments using the locator below:

PostShop/Kiwibank Locator

Filter using the ‘Pay a Bill’ option after indicating your location.

Step 3

Get two recent colour passport style photos

Attach these photos to your application form. Your photos must be:

  • 35mm x 45mm untrimmed
  • taken not more than 12 months from when you supply it
  • a good likeness of you
  • a full front view of your face, head, and shoulders, with your head filling most of the photo
  • taken without a hat or head covering unless you wear either for religious reasons
  • taken against a plain, light-coloured background
  • a coloured photo
  • printed on good quality paper
  • identical.

Step 4

Deliver your application to Police

Take your application to your nearest police station. Remember to take:

  • your application form
  • the PostShop receipt for your application fee
  • two recent passport style photos
  • your firearms licence (if you have one)
  • three documents that prove your identity (passport, birth certificate, driver licence, photo ID, credit card/bank card). At least one of the documents needs to have a photo of you.

What happens next

Step 5

Police background check

Police will carry out an initial background check relevant to whether you are a fit and proper person to possess firearms or airguns.

Step 6

Firearms safety programme

  • If you’re applying for your first firearms licence then you need to complete the Firearms Safety Course to obtain a firearms licence for the first time.
  • If you’re applying for your first firearms licence and you have previously successfully completed the old firearms safety course, or the Whakatūpato programme, then you don’t need to complete the new firearms safety course.
  • If you’re an existing or previous licence holder applying for a new firearms licence, you will be directed by Police to either complete a firearms safety test (in the application form) during the licensing process, or to undertake the Firearms Safety Course.

Note: You need to receive the Firearms Safety Course confirmation letter from Police before you enrol to attend a Firearms Safety Course, which includes sitting the theory test and completing the practical handling session.

To complete the firearms safety programme you will need to:

  • study the Arms Code thoroughly. We also recommend that you complete the Arms Code Quiz to help you to prepare
  • attend the Firearms Safety Course. The course includes
    • sitting the firearms theory test. This is a multiple question test that you must pass
    • practical session covering safe handling and use of firearms.

Step 7

Police interviews and security check

Police will arrange a visit to interview you and check your firearms security arrangements. We’ll also interview your referees and complete any remaining enquiries.

Step 8

Firearms licence approval

Police will evaluate if you are a fit and proper person to possess or use firearms, before deciding whether to approve your firearms licence application. If your application is approved, you’ll be issued a firearms 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 currently 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 A Category firearms under immediate supervision of a current firearms licence holder while waiting for your new licence.

Contact your nearest Arms 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 within 30 days. Change address on firearms licence.