Apply for a New Zealand firearms licence

Important notes:

  1. Be aware that firearms licence processing times are currently around:
    • 12 months for new applicants; and
    • 6 months for existing licence holders who apply prior to expiry of their existing licence.

For first-time applicants, firearms safety courses are now subject to COVID-19 Traffic Light settings. Please see the Firearms Safety Course booking and preparation guidance for more information.

  1. The changes made in 2020 to the Arms Act 1983 are supported by amendments to the Arms Regulations 1992. The Arms Amendment Regulations 2021 came into force on 1 February 2022. The purpose of these amendments is to enhance community safety through providing firearms licence holders with greater transparency of their legal obligations while possessing and using firearms.
  2. The Firearms Licence Application form has been updated to align with the amended regulations and now requires information that covers the following key areas:
    • countries stayed in for a period of 14 days or more at any one time in the previous five years
    • criminal history checks from other countries where the applicant has stayed for over six months (not necessarily consecutively) in the preceding 10 years. These checks are to be done at your own cost and discretion.
    • licence holder’s security precautions for the location and storage of their arms items and ammunition
    • security arrangements for mobile homes (including campervans and caravan units if used as temporary/permanent accommodation where firearms/ammunition will be stored)
    • details of additional referees.


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:

  • non-prohibited firearms (that do not require an endorsement – more information on endorsements follows) and ammunition (if you are 16 or 17 years of age)
  • specially dangerous airguns (including pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles).

You need one or more endorsements (a special addition to your licence) and a permit to possess to possess pistols, restricted weapons, prohibited firearms or prohibited magazines in the following capacities:



Member of a target pistol shooting club


Bona fide collector

restricted weapon,
prohibited firearm, or
prohibited magazine

Person to whom the item has special significance as an heirloom or memento

restricted weapon,
prohibited firearm, or
prohibited magazine

Employee/member of a broadcaster or bona fide theatre company or society or cinematic or television film production or video recording company

restricted weapon,
prohibited firearm, or
prohibited magazine

Person who meets one of the pest control-related criteria set out in section 4A(1)(f) to (j)

Prohibited firearm or
prohibited magazine

Employee of a licensed dealer

restricted weapon,
prohibited firearm, or
prohibited magazine

Anyone can use a non-prohibited firearm without a licence if they are under the immediate supervision of a licence holder at all times while in possession of the firearm. ‘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.

If you are a visitor to New Zealand and are planning to use firearms (such as for hunting or participating in a firearms competition) and the visit is for less than a year, you will need a firearms licence. Apply for a visitor licence.

Requirements for applying


A firearms licence will be issued, if an applicant meets the following requirements:

  • is aged 16 years or older
  • is not disqualified under section 22H of the Arms Act 1983 from holding a firearms licence (see the ‘Disqualified Persons from holding a firearms licence’ section below)
  • has not had a firearms licence revoked in the previous 5 years
  • is, in the opinion of Police, a fit and proper person to be in a possession of a firearm or an airgun (see ‘Fit and Proper’ section below)
  • storage facilities for firearms and ammunition that meet requirements and have been inspected by a member of the Police
  • does not have firearms or airguns in their possession that are reasonably likely to be accessed by a person who is disqualified from holding a firearms licence, who has had their firearms licence revoked, or who is not themselves a fit and proper person.
  • has met all of the requirements for applying for a firearms licence.

If you are a visitor to New Zealand applying, in addition to the above requirements, you will also need:

  • to provide evidence of a current firearms licence or permit from your residing licensing authority; and
  • appropriate arrangements for the storage of firearms and ammunition you will possess while in New Zealand.

Disqualified Persons from holding a firearms licence

You are disqualified from holding a firearms licence if:

Fit and Proper person to possess a firearm or airgun


A fit and proper person is a person of good character who can be trusted to use firearms responsibly and will abide by the laws of New Zealand and the provisions of the Arms Act 1983 and the Arms Regulations 1992.

Section 24A of the Arms Act 1983 and regulation 15A of the Arms Regulations 1992 set out some circumstances where Police may find that a person is not fit and proper to be in possession of a firearm.

Any one of the circumstances noted in section 24A does not automatically mean an application will be refused, but it will likely lead to further examination. You should familiarise yourself with the requirements for applying for a firearms licence prior to making an application. If you have any queries about your eligibility, contact your local arms office.

The important thing is that you inform Police of any circumstances that may impact on your eligibility, so that we can assess your suitability to hold a firearms licence.

Application steps

Step 1: Complete the application form

Download the application form and enter all the requested information. You can do this electronically using the editable PDF below and uploading the form to the firearms forms upload page.

Important note: Do not use an Internet browser or Apple's Preview application to open this form. Please save the form first to your device then open it using Adobe Acrobat Reader. If the form is completed using a browser, the entered information may be lost if you click on the ‘back’ button, or if you try to save it.

Before you apply, please ensure you read the application form carefully. An incomplete form will cause delays in processing your application.

To apply for a firearms licence you will need to:

  • meet the requirements for applying
  • have secure firearm and ammunition storage facilities at your home address, and any other location where your firearms and ammunition will be stored from time to time, such as holiday or mobile home
  • be able to supply names, addresses and contact details for referees who will be interviewed by Police as to your suitability to have or use firearms. Your first referee will be your spouse or partner, or (if you don’t have a spouse or partner) a near relative who knows you well. If you don’t have a near relative either, the first referee will be a close associate who knows you well. The second referee needs to be an additional person who knows you well and who resides in New Zealand. If your first referee is overseas, you also need to nominate a third referee who resides in New Zealand and knows you well
  • be able to supply the name, address, and contact details of any ex-spouse or ex-civil union or de facto partner during the last five years
  • be able to provide details of people who live at, work at, or may have free or unsupervised access to, the premises where you intend to store firearms and ammunition
  • provide passport style photographs of yourself (see below for detailed requirements)
  • provide copies of the required identification documents
  • provide criminal history checks from countries (other than New Zealand) you have stayed in for over six months (not necessarily consecutively) in the last 10 years. Please refer to the NZ immigration website on how to get an overseas Police certificate.
  • pay the required fee at a New Zealand PostShop
  • be available for an interview with Police at your home to discuss your suitability to hold firearms
  • be able to attend a course on firearms safety if you are a first-time applicant or are instructed to do so by Police
  • be able to complete a multi-choice safety test (based on the Arms Code) at your interview, if you hold a firearms licence and are applying for a new one before it expires.

Step 2: Pay your application fee

Pay the application fee at a New Zealand PostShop and attach a copy of the receipt to your application. This can be a scanned copy or digital photo of the receipt.

When you make payment, you'll need to tell PostShop staff the amount that you need to pay so they can charge the correct fee.

Please note that the application fee is non-refundable.

Firearms licence application fees (including GST) 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
  • a collection of pistols or restricted weapons (bona fide collectors or museum endorsement)
  • pistols or restricted weapons for performing a play/film/re-enactment (theatrical endorsement)
  • prohibited items
  • pistols or restricted weapons for hire or sale (dealers)



Find a New Zealand PostShop that offers firearms licence payments using the locator below:

Postshop/Kiwibank Locator
Filter using the ‘Pay a Bill’ option after indicating your location. Note that Post Centres do not accept payments.


Step 3: Get recent passport style photo

Your photo/s must:

  • have been taken no more than 12 months before you supply it
  • be a full front view of your face, head, and shoulders with the head filling most of the photograph
  • be of you without a hat or head covering (except where your religion requires you to wear a hat or head covering)
  • have a plain, light-coloured background
  • be in colour

Photographs in electronic format must be:

  • portrait photographs (with a 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • in jpg or jpeg format
  • between 25KB and 10MB
  • between 900 and 4500 pixels wide and 1200 and 6000 pixels high.

If you are submitting a hard copy application, you must provide two identical photographs on printed photographic paper measuring 45mm x 35mm untrimmed on good quality paper.

Digital and printed photos from commercial outlets will typically meet these requirements.


Step 4: Complete and submit your application to Police

Once you have completed the Firearms Licence application form (Editable PDF 656KB), upload it at the link below. You will also need to upload the supporting documents listed below.

  • a photo or scan of the receipt for your application fee
  • a recent passport style photo (or two identical printed photos if you are submitting a hard copy application).
  • identity documents
    • a photo or scan of proof of address within the past 3 months (e.g. utility bill, bank statement, electoral roll) AND
    • a photo or scan of either
      • two documents that prove your identity (passport, birth certificate, driver licence, photo ID, Kiwi Access card, credit card/bank card). At least one of these documents needs to have a photo of you
      • your current firearms licence (if you have one)
  • any relevant overseas criminal history checks.

Upload application documents

Once your application form and supporting documents have been successfully uploaded, you will receive an email confirming your application has been submitted.

If you have any questions or need any help, please contact your arms office.

Identity requirements for firearms licence applications

Along with your applications, you must provide documentation to prove your identity. You can choose to prove your identity with one of the following two options below.

Note: If you are 16 or 17 years of age and cannot provide the required identification, a parent or guardian may provide a written declaration to support your application.

All forms of identification must be current, or as otherwise stated. If you cannot meet the below identification requirements, please call Police on 105 number to discuss your application.

If submitting a handwritten application, please attach copies of the original documents to your application. Do not send original documents.

Option 1

Provide the following photo identification:

  1. New Zealand firearms licence, current or expired within 12 months
  2. Proof of address dated within the last 3 months (e.g. bank statement, utilities bill, electoral roll, etc).
    This can be a scan/digital photo/screenshot of a paper or electronic document with your name and address on it.

Option 2

Provide one (1) of the following photo identification:

  • New Zealand passport
  • Overseas passport
  • New Zealand driver licence
  • Police identity card
  • New Zealand Defence Force photo identification
  • Kiwi Access card (18+ Card)
  • Identity document issued by New Zealand government


Proof of address dated within the last 3 months (e.g. bank statement, utilities bill, electoral roll, etc).
This can be a scan/digital photo/screenshot of a paper or electronic document with your name and address on it.

AND provide one (1) of the following identification:

  • Birth certificate
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Permanent resident document
  • Identity document issued by secondary or tertiary institution
  • Card issued by a New Zealand bank with your full name and signature
  • Educational records or certificates
  • Professional or trade association membership certificate
  • Other (as noted in your application form).

If you are unable to access technology to apply for a firearms licence online

You can submit a paper application, along with the respective supporting documentation, by dropping it into a Police station or by posting it to our National Support Team at:

National Support Team
Arms Safety and Control
Kāpiti Digital Services Centre
PO Box 722
Paraparaumu 5032

Suitable Referees


Referee 1 and Referee 2 should not be related to each other and should not live together.

Referee 1 must:

  • be a spouse or partner
  • in the absence of a spouse or partner, a near relative who knows you well
  • in the absence of any of the above people, be a close associate who knows you well
  • not be an employer or employee
  • have regular face-to-face contact with you
  • be available for an in-person interview
  • be able to attest to your character and fitness to possess firearms.

Referee 2 must:

  • be unrelated by blood or marriage/de facto relationship and independent
  • be at least 20 years of age
  • know you well (for at least the last 3 years) i.e. you have regular face to face contact with this person
  • not be an employer or employee
  • be resident in NZ and available for an in-person interview.

If referee 1 is overseas you will need a further referee who resides in NZ and who knows you well.

Applicants must also provide details on former spouses or civil union partners from the previous 5 years.

Why we ask for former spouse/former partner?

Former spouses/partners are an important consideration when assessing an applicant's fit and proper status. These are people who will know the applicant well and will have material information from the domestic sphere of the applicant's life. They are also people who may potentially be affected by the applicant acquiring access to firearms. They may also be people who have an ongoing relationship with the applicant through childcare or other domestic arrangements.

We acknowledge and accept that not all separations will have been amicable, and we take this into account during the interview process and when considering your application.




Helpful information


Need help?

Find your local Firearms Office