New Zealand firearms licence application

Changes to firearms administration services

[updated 9 Apr 2020] In response to the Covid-19 alert level 4 being in place, requiring people to stay at home and maintain physical distance, some firearms administration activities have been deferred.

Below is a summary of the changes which are now in effect.

  • Deferral of all face to face vetting for firearms licence renewal applications – alternative vetting options are being looked into.
  • Once an alternative face to face vetting option is identified, firearms licence renewals will be able to be considered on a case by case basis with priority given to:
    • Employment related firearms licence or endorsement renewal applications.
    • Dealer licence renewal applications.
  • Deferral of first time licence and endorsement applications, and the firearms safety programme for first time applicants.
  • Deferral of the following activities:
    • Processing permits to import.
    • Processing new dealer licence applications.
    • Dealer premises visits.
    • Existing endorsement holder (collectors, pistol shooters, and pest controller) security checks and holdings audits.
    • Pistol endorsement holder minimum annual shoot requirements.

For people who had made an application, your application will now be deferred. If your licences expires, you should not be using your firearms and once the alert level lowers and restrictions on travel are lifted, then you should move your firearms to be safely and securely stored by a person who has a current firearms licence and apply for a licence as soon as you are able. 

Applications from licence holders whose licences expired during the Covid19 lockdown period will remain at the price for renewing a current A category licence: $126.50. Applications will be processed as quickly as possible but there will be delays.

Updates will be provided when there is new information.

Please stay at home and stay safe.  And remember that while you can leave your residence under COVID level 4 for exercise close to home, this excludes hunting.


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.