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Apply or Renew a Firearms Certificate

The possession and use of firearms in the UK is prohibited unless you have been granted a suitable licence by the police. A licence to use or possess firearms or shotguns will only be granted to those people who can demonstrate they have good reason for using a firearm and pose no risk to the public.

Applying for a Licence

Possessing and using a firearm in the UK requires a license to be applied for from the local policing area in which you reside. Your local licensing team would be happy to offer guidance on these requirements.

How to Apply

To apply for, or renew a firearms/shotgun licence, you can download the Application for Firearm/Shotgun Certificate, complete, print and sign the form and return to the Firearms Licensing Team.

Who Can be a Referee?

Each application must be supported by an endorsement from two people who have agreed to be a referee. The referees must meet the following requirements:

  • Be resident in Great Britain
  • Have known the applicant for at least two years
  • Be of good character
  • Not be a family relation to the applicant

Photographic Evidence Required

Each application must also be supported by four passport photographs of the applicant showing them in their current true likeness. One photograph must be signed by the applicant.

Supporting Information Required

Supporting information demonstrating your good reason for possessing a section 1 firearm is vital when we make our decision on granting or renewing your license.

  • Target shooting - you will need to provide details of the club of which you are a member
  • Quarry shooting - we require details of your permission to shoot over at least one piece of land

Please provide this information on the Request for Additional Information form.

Certificate Renewal

Firearms and shotgun certificates are valid for five years, after which they will have to be renewed.

When Will I Receive my Certificate?

Applications are dealt with in order of their expiry date.  

Certificates are renewed approximately 7-14 days before the expiry date to ensure you remain in lawful possession of your guns. 

Depending on current renewal procedures, you may not receive an inspection visit.

If you are having difficulty viewing the application forms, download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader by visiting

Related documents

  • PDF icon Form 201 Application for Firearm-Shotgun Certificate
    Last updated: 22 December 2016
  • PDF icon Form 646 Request for Additional Information
    Last updated: 22 December 2016