Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission to help support our testing. Learn more.

International Travel with Firearms

Using a travel agency will make the whole process much easier.
Flying internationally with a gun may seem like a daunting prospect, but it can be surprisingly simple if you know what you're doing. Let's talk about what you need to do if you're traveling outside the country with a firearm.
We review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission to help support our testing. Learn more.
JUMP TO SECTION Jump To:
    A while back, I wrote a post about how flying with a gun is actually surprisingly simple, but we focused primarily on domestic travel.  It can be an ordeal to deal with just the differences in gun laws, and especially concealed carry laws, from state to state within the US.
    Plane Landing
    Traveling with a gun doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
    As you can probably guess, international travel introduces a whole new set of steps as you have to deal with the laws of multiple countries and the intricacies of taking firearms across national borders.  However, regardless of if you’re bringing your firearm for hunting, competitive shooting, or self defense, with the right information and proper planning, traveling internationally doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In this post you’ll find out what you need to know to leave and re-enter the United States, how to navigate firearms laws of different countries, and some tips and tricks to make the whole process easier.   Let’s get started!

    What Every International Traveler Needs to Know

    The short and sweet version of the TSA’s requirements for traveling with firearms is that guns, along with ammunition, must be properly stored in checked baggage and must be declared upon checking your baggage.  Remember to declare again when you come back into the US.  For more detail, check out our post on flying with a gun.  
    Firearm Declaration Slip
    Firearm Declaration Slip
    Most airlines also have rules about flying with firearms, so you’ll also need to find those, either via the airline’s website or by contacting customer service. Remember that you’re technically exporting anything you take out of a country and importing anything you bring in, including your firearms, so you have to comply with import/export related laws, and may be expected to pay related taxes as well.  Fortunately, you really only have to work with Customs and Border Protection.
    US Airport Border Control
    US Airport Border Control
    For any trip out of the country, you’ll need a US Customs Form 4457 that has been signed by a US customs official. This verifies that you had your firearms (and any other dutiable personal possessions) before leaving the country, so you don’t have to pay duty when you return to the country – especially important for foreign made firearms.   Remember to also include any ammunition on this form to avoid problems bringing any unused ammunition back into the States.  This form can be used multiple times, so keep it handy for future travel.  
    US Customs Form 4457
    US Customs Form 4457
    You will also need to file electronic export information (EEI) via the Automated Export System (AES) before you leave the country.  To file, you’ll need to know the Schedule B number of the firearms, ammunition, parts, etc. that you want to bring with you.  This number is just a way for Customs to catalog what’s coming in and out of the country.  Schedule B numbers can be found via the US Census Bureau website. When you return, you’ll also need to remember to declare your firearm and ammunition.
    Declared Firearm
    Declared Firearm

    Firearms in Foreign Lands

    We’ve covered what you need to know to leave and re-enter the United States, but what about in between? US Customs officials, TSA agents, and airline staff aren’t checking to see if your possessions can be legally imported to your destination.  That’s not their job, and like everyone else, they’re not just hopping at the opportunity to do things they aren’t getting a paycheck for.   The fact that they let you go will not stop you from being detained, fined, or arrested by customs when you attempt to bring your firearm with you in violation of your destination country’s laws, and law enforcement won’t find “I didn’t know” to be a valid excuse.  
    Sydney Airport International Terminal Check In
    Sydney Airport International Terminal Check In
    (If something does happen, either contact the country’s US embassy or have the authorities do so for you. The embassy will help you get legal counsel, visit you if you’re detained, and ensure that you’re treated ethically and fairly.  That’s what they’re there for.) Not all countries allow the temporary importation of firearms.  In these cases, there’s no amount of paperwork that you can do to get to bring your firearm with you.  The only solution is to leave your guns behind or pick a new vacation destination.   Many countries that do allow temporary importation require a Form 4457, so keep it accessible when crossing borders.  Some countries, like Canada, don’t require the form, but having it handy can still speed up the process.
    Passport and Chinese Visa Application
    Just Keep It with Your Passport
    Aside from what the rules are to bring your gun into the country, you will need to know what’s permitted when you get there.  Can you carry your firearm concealed?  Do you have to register it with local authorities?  Will you need some sort of license to carry it at all? You can find out this information pretty easily by simply contacting a diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) in the United States for the countries you’ll be visiting or passing through. If they don’t have the information you need available, they’ll try to get it for you or can at least let you know how you can get it.  
    Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC
    Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC
    One option is to call or email the mission, but it may be easier and more straightforward to schedule an appointment, especially if the mission is fairly near to where you live or you have to go anyway for other travel paperwork, to make sure you understand and can ask any questions you have.   You may also be able to go ahead a fill out and submit any paperwork that requires you to go to the mission, letting you go ahead and get started.

    Making the Process Easier

    This is a lot of information to gather, and some documentation, including the EEI, can take some time, so it is vital that you start getting it together sooner rather than later.  
    Filing an EEI
    Filing an EEI
    It’s also a good idea to allow yourself a buffer in case there are complications with getting your paperwork processed.  It is far better to have everything ready a month before your trip than to be trying to rush things through at the last minute. You’ll also want to book direct flights and other means of travel as much as possible to avoid having to go through extra and unnecessary customs.  Remember, you have to conform to customs requirements even if you’re just passing through.   It may be tempting to try to go around these rules by shipping your firearm, but that just requires more steps and a greater time commitment.
    Mail Insurance Form
    Even More Paperwork
    The best thing you can do to simplify your trip is to use a travel agency that specializes in travel for shooting sports.  These people help travelers do exactly what you’re trying to do all the time, so they have the most up to date knowledge on requirements for both the United States and other countries, and have the know how and connections to make getting the proper documentation go much smoother.  
    Travel Agency
    Using a travel agency will make the whole process much easier.
    If you’re attending a shooting event, even just contacting event staff can be invaluable in helping you get any information you need.  They may also have a travel agency that they recommend.   Of course, if you’re taking your gun with you for defense, rather than sporting, travel agencies may not be as helpful.  It’s still worth a shot to contact one or two to see if they can help you ensure that you obtain and file the correct paperwork.

    Wrapping Up

    Planes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Planes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Let’s recap:
    • Don’t forget the TSA’s requirements,
    • Remember to fill out your Form 4457 and file your EEI,
    • Contact an embassy or consulate to find out what firearm related laws are,
    • Simplify your trip as much as possible to minimize your work and avoid complications.
    Now I want to hear from you guys.  Have you ever traveled internationally with firearms?  Where did you go and how was your experience? Tell us your tips, tricks, and exciting stories in the comments!

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    14 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Jozef

      I am not able to file up an EEI . They ask me to make export account. I don’t like this, because I’m not exporter, I have just my own firearms.

      May 6, 2024 10:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Roger Greene

      I plan to sail my boat from the US to other countries (Canada, Mexico, Central America, beyond?). I know every county has different rules regarding firearms, but I am interested in having a pellet gun on board rather than a weapon that uses actual cartridges. Are pellet guns generally regarded the same as a weapon that uses cartridges?

      January 28, 2024 2:45 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      MavEryck Stevenson

      Hi everyone,

      I conceal carry every day in the U.S. everywhere that it is legal for me to do so. I have permits and/or reciprocity for most of the United States. I'm literally on a plane right now with my firearm checked in and riding in cargo below me.

      I also travel internationally often but have never considered taking my firearm with me on any inteenational trips.

      This article is very helpful. Can anyone add any information they have been able to find?

      Thanks,

      MavEryck

      November 24, 2022 9:56 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chris

      Just woke up from a bad dream that I was on a flight to Turkey and noticed that I still had my concealed carry on. At first I was happy and then terrified at what to do next.
      There’s no good options in that dream, glad I woke up.

      November 7, 2021 9:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Teddy J Ndouba

      Hey everyone! I am going to apply for those forms before taking my personal pistol and hunting gun I bought for my dad to Africa in January. I'll let you guys know about my experience.

      December 4, 2020 4:35 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        James

        How did it go? Which African country and what process did you follow? Did you have to return with the guns as you said you bought one for your dad. If you did not return with the gun, what was your reason? I'm trying to do same and will like to hear about your experience. Thanks

        May 7, 2021 8:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      charles

      Where do you go to file an EEI? Airport? I can't seem to find a website? Same for the 4457 can it be done at the airport when leaving?

      October 12, 2018 11:09 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Maribel Costa

        You probably found this by now, but just in case... I found the 4457 form at the U.S. Custom site on this page: Form 4457 - Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad

        January 7, 2024 5:50 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jozef lopata

        Yourself, by online or find a broker.
        Option 1
        The quickest option would be to have a Broker or Authorized Agent file all of the Electronic Export Information on your behalf. If you are not a US citizen and do not have a US Social Security Number then this will be your only option for obtaining an ITN.

        You can locate a broker on the CBP website below:
        Option 2
        Alternatively, you may register on the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and file this information for yourself.

        May 7, 2024 9:00 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jozef

        Option 1
        The quickest option would be to have a Broker or Authorized Agent file all of the Electronic Export Information on your behalf. If you are not a US citizen and do not have a US Social Security Number then this will be your only option for obtaining an ITN.
        Or
        Option 2
        Alternatively, you may register on the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and file this information for yourself.

        May 7, 2024 9:03 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jozef

        You can locate a broker on the CBP website “ find broker”

        May 7, 2024 9:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Janos

      "You will also need to file electronic export information (EEI) via the Automated Export System (AES) before you leave the country."
      Great article! However, could you please expand on the filing of an EEI? I researched and it is not as clean cut as I thought it would be. Gets a bit confusing. ...at least to me. Can I as an individual get this done? Do I have to hire a company to do it for me? etc.
      Thank you in advance!

      August 30, 2018 6:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Clint

      I have never traveled internationally with my firearm, although I carry daily in the U.S. and have traveled extensively internationally. I have taken a domestic flight to a firearm training facility and it was fairly easy. I am wondering if Italy and/or Panama has laws restricting carry (open or concealed). I am planning trips to both countries.

      August 27, 2018 6:48 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Will Martin

      Awesome story, great info

      March 10, 2018 12:51 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    or
    Register
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    By unsubscribing, you will not be able to access exclusive training courses in your profile. You will still be able to save and access your products and articles.
    or
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Password
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments