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We have received inquiries regarding changes to the enforcement procedures for individuals traveling abroad with their firearms. Previously, if an individual was traveling with not more than three non-automatic firearms and not more than 1,000 cartridges of ammunition (provided this is for the person’s exclusive use and not for re-export or other transfer of ownership), the individual would complete U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) Form 4457 and present it to Customs.  Now there have been changes in CBP enforcement procedures for such articles which have targeted those who use firearms for hunting trips or sporting events.

CBP is responsible for the enforcement of Department of Commerce and Department of State regulations when it comes to the export of certain controlled items. Specifically, the export regulations for handguns, rifles, associated parts and components, and related ammunition are found in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).  Additionally, the export regulations for sporting shotguns (barrel length of 18 inches or more), muzzle loading firearms, associated parts and components, and related ammunition are found in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

All persons who travel from the United States to a foreign country with firearms and/or ammunition must comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing the lawful exportation of these controlled items. This includes understanding whether or not you are required to obtain a license prior to permanent or temporary export.  Thus, one should contact an attorney experienced in handling such matters to determine what type of license or license exemption you fall under.

I determined the type of license or license exemption I require, now what? 

Per U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Website (

Before exporting any firearms and/or ammunition with a valid DDTC or BIS export license or a qualifying license exemption, the traveler, or an agent acting on the traveler’s behalf, must file the Electronic Export Information (EEI) using the Automated Export System (AES) or the Internet-based system AESDirect which is publicly available and free of charge. In addition to filing the EEI in AES or AESDirect prior to export, all firearms, ammunition and additional mandatory documentation (e.g., certifications, foreign import permits, proof of AES filing; such as the Internal Transaction Number) must be presented to [Customs] authorities for visual inspection at the port of departure from the United States.

If you failed to file an EEI you can read about the consequences here.

UPDATE: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today [April 27, 2015] that it is returning to its previous system of facilitating the international transport of personal firearms and ammunition, after meeting with representatives from the NRA, firearms industry and sportsmen’s groups, and key members of Congress.” Read more:

For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs lawyer at (800) 549-5099. Also visit to chat with a customs lawyer — who has insight into the federal agency export requirements — about your company’s export situation and to schedule a consultation.  To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.

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