Unless a deal is reached before December 31st, the European Firearms Pass (EFP) will no longer be available to British citizens, or recognised by British border forces for EU citizens travelling to Britain. This is a major blow to those to travel frequently with firearms to the continent. The Alliance is lobbying hard to secure a workable equivalent, but in the meantime has produced a Q&A for those who intend to travel to Europe with firearms after 31st December.
What is happening to the European Firearms Pass?
From 1 January 2021, when the UK transition period ends, residents of Great Britain will no longer be able to apply for a European Firearms Pass (EFP), or use one to travel to the EU with their firearm or shotgun.
Residents of Northern Ireland will still be able to request an EFP and to use it to take a lawfully owned firearm to an EU country, including the Republic of Ireland, from 1 January 2021.
What does this mean for those travelling with firearms?
Before travelling, GB residents will need to check and follow the licensing requirements of any EU country they will be in with a firearm from 1 January, as well as UK import and export controls. This includes if you are in an EU country on 1 January.
Countries may have varying lead times for applying for licenses, so it is recommended that requirements are checked well ahead of travelling.
If you are sponsoring an EU visitor bringing a firearm to GB, you should apply to the local police force for a visitor’s permit like now but will not need to produce the visitor’s valid EFP. Visitor’s permits issued before the transition period ends will stay valid until they expire.
How do I apply for a visitor’s permit for foreign countries?
The best way to apply for a visitor’s permit is to approach the Consulate or Embassy of the country you will be travelling to, as well as any through which you may also be travelling. They will either have the application form available for download from their website or will be able to supply you one on request via email.
What if I am driving to one country (e.g Germany) through another (e.g France)?
You will need a visitor’s permit for every country that you visit, even if you are simply transiting through.
Are there any other restrictions?
You should always check the conditions of travel prior to booking. For example, airline fees for travelling with a firearm vary considerably from company to company, as do their terms and conditions. Some carriers prohibit the carriage of firearms entirely, and others require considerable advance warning.
What is the Countryside Alliance doing on this issue?
We are lobbying hard for an EFP equivalent, which will not only benefit UK residents travelling abroad with firearms, but also EU residents travelling to the UK.