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April Garafano

Importing Firearms From The United States New Zealand

7 Things New Zealanders Should Know When Importing Firearms from the United States

By International Firearm Purchasers No Comments

Recent changes to United States regulations give firearm owners and dealers in New Zealand much greater access to the American products they want to buy. There are even new opportunities to buy these products online!

If you live in New Zealand, there are 7 important things to know if you want to buy firearms, parts, riflescopes and other firearm accessories from sellers in the United States.

New Zealand Regulations Have Changed

The New Zealand Arms Act was revised in 2019 and was revised again in June 2020.

This post looks at New Zealand laws as they stand today. For a review of what has changed and for supplemental information, please see the “New firearms laws and what they mean” section of the New Zealand Police website.

Certain Firearms, Parts and Accessories Cannot be Imported into New Zealand

Certain firearms, parts and accessories are considered “prohibited items” under New Zealand law.

The following are considered “prohibited items:”

  • Semiautomatic centerfire rifles
  • Bolt, pump-action, or lever-action centerfire rifles if they include a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds
  • Bolt, lever-action, or semiautomatic .22 or smaller rimfire rifles if they include a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds
  • Pump-action or semiautomatic shotguns if capable of being used with a detachable magazine
  • Pump-action or semiautomatic shotguns with a non-detachable tubular magazine capable of holding more than 5 cartridges
  • Semiautomatic pistols that are not considered a “small semi-automatic pistol.” (A “small semiautomatic pistol” has an overall length or 400mm or less, a barrel length of 101mm or more, is capable of firing specified shooting range ammunition only at a muzzle velocity of 1,600 feet per second or less, and is suitable for shooting on a certified pistol range.)
  • Rifle magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds
  • Shotgun magazines that can hold more than 5 rounds
  • A part of a prohibited firearm
  • A component that can be applied to enable a firearm to fire with, or near to, a semiautomatic or automatic action
  • Pistol carbine conversion kit
  • Certain ammunition
  • Offensive weapons such as bayonets, knuckledusters, certain knives, and swordsticks. See the full list here.

How to Obtain License Endorsements for Prohibited Items

Authorization to import or possess prohibited items can be obtained for certain purposes.

The following entities may be eligible for an endorsement to their firearms license that allows them to import prohibited items:

  • Licensed dealers
  • Certain collectors of firearms
  • Museums
  • Theatre, society, cinematic, film or video companies
  • Pest control or wild animal recovery companies or individuals
  • Certain agriculture, horticulture, of silvicultural business or individuals

Please visit the endorsement section of the Police website for details on eligibility and requirements.

A person or entity who obtains the appropriate endorsement to import a prohibited item also must obtain an import permit as described below.

Obtaining an Import Permit to Bring Firearms, Parts, and Accessories Into New Zealand

An import permit is required to import the following items into New Zealand:

  • A firearm, pistol, blank firing gun (including a starting pistol), restricted airgun, or restricted weapon
  • Any part of a firearm, pistol, blank firing gun (including a starting pistol), or restricted weapon
  • A prohibited firearm, prohibited magazine, or prohibited part (endorsement to firearms license must be obtained first).
  • A pistol carbine conversion kit or air pistol carbine conversion kit
  • Ammunition

To apply for an import permit for these items, an application must be submitted to and approved by the New Zealand Police.

Import permits will be issued only to a person or entity with authorization to possess the items, such as a firearms license or dealer license and, in the case of prohibited items, an endorsement for prohibited items.    

 

United States Export Regulations May Affect Your Purchase

A U.S. export license is required for the export of firearms to New Zealand except for shotguns with a barrel length of 18 inches or more, antique firearms (manufactured before 1890), muzzle-loading black powder firearms, BB guns, pellet rifles, paintball guns, and air rifles.

Exports of many firearm parts and components from the United States also require an export license unless a “license exception” is available. One license exception, the LVS exception, authorizes U.S. exporters to export up to $500 of semi-automatic and non-automatic firearm parts to New Zealand without an export license. The LVS exception is not available for frames, receivers, or breech mechanisms, but other parts qualify for the exception if their total value in the shipment does not exceed $500.

Certain minor parts and accessories such as stocks, grips, scope mounts, accessory rails, iron sights, sling swivels, butt plates, recoil pads, slings, holsters, cases, bipods, magazine components, and compensators, do not require an export license or license exception regardless of the value.

U.S. exporters do no require an export license to export to New Zealand most telescopic, holographic, reflex (“red dot”), and reticle sights and laser aiming devices. U.S. sellers do need an export license, however, to ship military riflescopes to New Zealand.

U.S. exporters were not allowed to sell or ship sound suppressors to commercial (non-governmental) purchasers in other countries until a change in policy occurred in July 2020. New Zealanders now can buy American-made sound suppressors, but U.S. exporters must obtain an export license from the U.S. Department of State prior to shipment. If you make a purchase, you will be asked to provide the exporter with a signed purchase order, an “end-user statement“, DSP-83, and import permit. The exporter will require these documents to apply for an export license. Note that, although the United States has relaxed its export policy for sound suppressors, dealers in other countries are not permitted to buy suppressors for stock. Each ultimate end user must be identified in the export license and must sign a DSP-83.   

Fully automatic firearms and shotguns, firearms using caseless ammunition, and magazines with a capacity over 50 rounds can be exported from the U.S. only to military or law enforcement end-users.  

Keep in mind that U.S. export regulations do not affect New Zealand’s firearms and import regulations. Items that are prohibited under New Zealand law cannot be imported from the United States even though the U.S. permits them to be exported.

Understand U.S. “Know Your Customer” Requirements

Be patient with U.S. exporters who ask a lot of questions before agreeing to do business with you. U.S. exporters of firearms are expected to vet and approve foreign purchasers before exporting guns, parts, riflescopes or ammunition to them. The exporter must know the name of the end-user, the ultimate destination country, and how the firearms or other products will be used. U.S. exporters also screen purchasers against government lists of parties to whom Americans are not permitted to sell firearms or who are subject to other sanctions. U.S. exporters will not do business with parties who appear on one of these lists.    

U.S. regulations require that firearms and related products authorized for export to New Zealand must remain in New Zealand. To emphasize this to importers, a “destination control statement” will appear on the commercial invoice included with your shipment. It will state

“These items are controlled by the U.S. Government and authorized for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the ultimate consignee or end-user(s) herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized ultimate consignee or end-user(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations.”

U.S. sellers are expected to refuse to do business with purchasers they believe may re-export or transfer controlled products or use them in a manner inconsistent with U.S. or foreign law. When sellers suspect wrongdoing, they are encouraged to report it to law enforcement authorities.    

Don’t Let New Zealand Import Duties and Taxes Surprise You

You may be required to pay New Zealand duties or Goods and Services Tax (GST) on firearms, rifle scopes and related products you buy from from sellers in the United States. 

Shipments with a value of NZ$1,000 or less are exempt from duties, taxes and import charges.EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries.

Goods and services tax (GST), import duties, and import transaction fees apply to orders that exceed NZ$1,000 as follows:

  • The GST is 15% of the shipment value (including freight).
  • An import transaction charge of NZ$55.71 is imposed without regard to the value of the shipment.
  • There is no import duty for firearms, parts, or sights/optics brought into New Zealand from the U.S. A 10% import duty is imposed on apparel. The duty for holsters, cases, and similar items is 5%.  

Do you want to buy firearms, parts, rifle scopes and accessories online directly from U.S. manufacturers? You will soon be able to do exactly that. Click the button below to learn how your free EasyExport purchaser account will unlock the gates to the American online market in the near future.

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7-Keys-to-Avoiding-Export-Import-Trouble-When-Traveling-with-Firearms

The 7 Keys to Avoiding Export/Import Trouble When Traveling Outside the U.S. with Firearms

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Are you going on a hunting trip in a foreign country or attending an international shooting competition?  Not sure how to bring your own firearms, ammunition and accessories with you?

Generally speaking, Americans can bring guns with them when they leave the U.S. for lawful purposes, but keep in mind that the round trip involves four border crossings – leaving the U.S., entering the destination country, leaving the destination country, and entering the U.S.

Follow these 7 rules to avoid problems at the borders:

  • Check the foreign country’s firearm regulations
  • Determine whether an export license is required
  • Carry all authorization documentation with you
  • Notify U.S. Customs and Border Protection when you leave
  • Comply with airline regulations
  • Be sure to bring the products back to the United States if you’re using the BAG exception
  • Dot every I

Check the Foreign Country’s Firearm Regulations

Make sure the guns you plan to bring are allowed in the country you are visiting. Foreign regulations for firearms vary greatly by country and can change at any time. For example, Canada and New Zealand have recently changed their regulations and many firearms that used to be permitted are now prohibited. 

Civilian possession of AR rifles is prohibited in many countries. Some countries limit magazine capacities. A few restrict laser pointers.

Once you verify that your items can be brought into the foreign country, determine what permits or other authorizations are required for both the import into and the export back out of the country. Regulations vary greatly by country.  

Determine Whether An Export License is Required

To leave the United States with licensable or export-controlled firearms, riflescopes, ammunition, parts, and accessories, you must have export authorization from the U.S. government. The authorization may be in the form of an export license or a license exception.

Export Administration Regulations

Semiautomatic and non-automatic firearms and shotguns as well ammunition and certain parts, components, accessories, and attachments for them are controlled by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) under ECCNs 0A501, 0A502, 0A504 and 0A505. Exports of these items may require a license from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) unless a license exception is available.

Subsection (e) of the §740.14 Baggage (BAG) exception allows an individual to temporarily export the following items without an export license if all of the requirements stated in the section are met:

  • 3 semiautomatic or non-automatic firearms controlled under ECCN 0A501.a or .b
  • 1,000 rounds of ammunition controlled under ECCN 0A505.a
  • Parts, components, accessories, and attachments controlled under ECCN 0A501.c, .d, .e, or .x This is limited to “quantities that are reasonable” or “that are necessary for routine maintenance of the firearms being exported” as stated in the EAR. Sound suppressors require an export license and are not included among the accessories described here.
  • 3 shotguns with a barrel length of 18 inches or over controlled under ECCN 0A502
  • Shotgun shells controlled under ECCN 0A505.
  • Riflescopes and optical devices controlled under ECCN 0A504 that are attached to a firearm or in a quantity that is reasonable.

To use this exception, the items must be for your own personal use and must be with your baggage (they cannot be mailed). All firearms, shotguns, parts, components, accessories, attachments and unused ammunition must be returned to the United States, they cannot remain in the foreign country after your return. Pages 30-34 of the FAQ’s posted on the BIS website provide additional information on using the BAG license exception.

Certain accessories and attachments such as stocks or grips without fire control parts, scope mounts, accessory rails, iron sights, sling swivels, butt plates, and recoil pads under ECCN 0A501.y, as well as compensators, magazine components, and certain shotgun components that are classified as EAR99 do not require an export authorization (license or license exception) when taken to most countries.  

If you want to bring higher quantities than the BAG exception allows or if you are moving and want to bring the EAR controlled products with you permanently, you must obtain a BIS export license through the SNAP-R system.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations

The following items are controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) on the United States Munitions List (USML), Category I:

  • Firearms using caseless ammunition
  • Fully automatic firearms
  • Fully automatic shotguns
  • Silencers, mufflers, and sound suppressors
  • Magazines with a capacity greater than 50 rounds
  • Certain types of ammunition that are primarily used for military purposes

These products require an export license from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) through the DECCS system. A license exemption is not available for USML Category I items for personal travel.

Carry All Authorization Documentation With You

Carry all import and export licenses, permits, or other authorizations with you during your trip. Assume that U.S. and foreign customs agents will need to see the documentation as you leave and re-enter the U.S and when you arrive and depart from the destination country. Police or other authorities also may request to see your documentation as you travel in the other country.  

 

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries. Notify U.S. Customs and Border Protection When You Leave

Shipments of firearms, scopes, parts, accessories and ammunition under the BAG exception must be declared to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer prior to departure. A CBP Form 4457 (Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad) must be completed and presented to CBP at the time of export out of and re-entry into the United States. Section §758.11 Export Clearance Requirements for Firearms and Related Items of the EAR details the specific reporting requirements for using the BAG exception.

If you are not able to use license exception BAG and obtain an ITAR or EAR export license, you are required an Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) AESDirect system instead of the CBP Form 4457.

Comply with Airline Regulations

Check with all airlines on which you will be traveling on your way out or back to acquaint yourself with their packing requirements before you arrive at the airport. Firearms must be unloaded when packed and must travel in your checked baggage. Investigate whether your airline has any other requirements, especially regarding ammunition you carry with you.

Also, check with the airline on which you will be returning to make sure you will be able to get inside the destination country airport with your firearms when you come home. Some countries screen baggage at the airport entrance.

Bring The Products Back to the United States if You’re Using the BAG Exception

The BAG license exception is only for temporary exports, you cannot use it for a permanent export. You must bring all items exported under the BAG exception, except for used ammunition, with you upon your return from the foreign trip. The CBP Form 4457 must be presented upon your arrival back in the United States.

Dot Every I

A final piece of advice is be careful in every respect. Guns are, well, guns. Don’t expect border agents in any country to have a sense of humor about your careless mistakes, especially mistakes that look like intentional concealment of guns, ammunition, parts and accessories.

 

If you sell firearms, parts, accessories, or optics online and want a safe and cost-effective way to export them without making mistakes, EasyExport probably can help. Schedule a call to learn more.

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3-Shipping-Documents-You-Must-Include-When-Exporting-Firearms

The 3 Shipping Documents You Must Include When Exporting Firearms

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Did you know that when you ship firearms from the United States to a recipient in another country, you are required to include a commercial invoice, a Destination Control Statement and a packing slip with every shipment?

Continue reading to learn how to prepare these documents correctly so you can avoid problems with U.S. Customs and Customs officials in the destination country.

How to Prepare a Commercial Invoice for an International Shipment

A commercial invoice is a document between an exporter and foreign buyer that details the products being sold in an international shipment. Everyone knows what an invoice is, of course, but commercial invoices have some special uses in international transactions.

When your shipment leaves the U.S., Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) uses the commercial invoice as a means of identifying the contents of your shipment. This is part of their process for confirming that export regulations have been followed correctly and that the package does not contain items that have not been submitted for export clearance.

Customs officials in the receiving country use the commercial invoice to verify that information provided by the importer on the Customs Declaration is accurate. That’s how they determine the correct duties, import charges and, in many countries, Value Added Tax (VAT) that are due from the recipient.

Mistakes can lead to seizure on the way out of the U.S. or into the destination country, so it is important to use a consistent form for international commercial invoices and to include all required information every time.

At a minimum, the commercial invoice should include the following information:

  • Invoice number
  • Invoice date
  • Name, address, and contact details of the U.S. shipper / exporter
  • Name, address, and contact details of the foreign consignee / importer
  • Shipper’s part number of each product
  • Description of each product
  • Quantity of each product
  • Unit price of each product, including the type of currency (i.e. USD for US Dollar, CAD for Canadian dollar, EUR for Euro, etc.)
  • Extended price of each product (i.e., the quantity times unit price for each line item).
  • Any additional fees such as shipping, handling, licensing, etc. (List these individually if you charge for them individually).
  • Total cost of all products plus any additional fees
  • Incoterm
  • Destination control statement (see below for details)

Although not required, we recommend that you also include:

  • Schedule B or HTS number(s)
  • BIS export license number(s) if applicable
  • Export classification (ECCN or USML category)
  • Shipment weight
  • Number and type of packages
  • Any special instructions if applicable

When ITAR-controlled products are included, the following information must also be included in the commercial invoice:

  • The country of ultimate destination
  • The end-user
  • The license or other approval number or exemption citation

Destination Control Statement

When shipping items controlled by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), exporters are required to include a “Destination Control Statement” on the commercial invoice.

The purpose of the Destination Control Statement is to inform the recipient that the goods remain subject to U.S. export controls even when ownership has passed to the end user. Transfer and re-export are not permitted without authorization from the applicable U.S. regulatory authority.

The precise wording to be used is specified in §758.6 of the EAR and §123.9(b) of the ITAR. The wording in both regulations is identical:

“These items are controlled by the U.S. Government and authorized for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the ultimate consignee or end-user(s) herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized ultimate consignee or end-user(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations”

Every shipment that contains an EAR- or ITAR-controlled item must include the Destination Control Statement, even if an exemption or license exception is relied on as the export authorization.

(Note: The regulations require that the Destination Control Statement be included verbatim, but the regulations do not prohibit exporters from using additional means of communicating the substance of the message in ways importers, especially those who do not speak English, may find easier to understand.)

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries. Include a Packing Slip

The packing slip includes much of the same information as the commercial invoice and it is used for similar purposes at outgoing and incoming border clearance.

There are a few exceptions, however. Typically, prices are not included in the packing slip. Also, the Destination Control Statement is not required to be on the packing slip, but we recommend that you include it anyway.  

At a minimum, the packing slip should include:

  • Packing slip number
  • Shipment date
  • Name, address, and contact details of the U.S. shipper / exporter
  • Name, address, and contact details of the foreign consignee / importer
  • Part number of each product
  • Description of each product
  • Quantity of each product
  • Incoterm

We recommend that you also include:

  • Destination control statement
  • Export license number(s) or citation of the applicable exemption/exception
  • Number and type of packages
  • Weight (pounds and ounces or metric, whichever you use)
  • Dimensions
  • Any special instructions if applicable

Worried you won’t do it right? If you sell firearms, parts, accessories, or optics online and want a safe and cost-effective way to export them without making mistakes, EasyExport probably can help. Schedule a call to learn more.

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Export of a Firearm Require an AES Filing

When Does the Export of a Firearm Require an AES Filing?

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Do you know when the export of a firearm, sighting device, component or accessory requires an AES filing? Do you even know what an AES filing is?

If your answer to these questions is anything other than “Yes!” read on.

As with most other export control regulations, AES mistakes can land you in trouble, so it is important to know the rules.

What Is AESDirect?

AESDirect is the platform for filing Electronic Export Information (EEI) with the U.S. Government. These EEI filings are required by the Foreign Trade Regulations and are used by the United States Government for statistical purposes.

AES is the Automated Export System. When an EEI is submitted, AES will process the information and provide an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) to the filer. The ITN confirms receipt of the EEI. The ITN must be included on the bill of lading, air waybill, export shipping instructions, or other commercial loading document that accompanies the shipment.

All these acronyms can be confusing, so we use the term “AES filing” to refer to the submission of EEI through the AESDirect platform.

Additional information about AESDirect, including registration instructions, user guides, and videos is available on the U.S. Census Bureau website.

When and How Do I Submit AES Filings?

An AES filing is required for any export that requires an export license issued under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), regardless of destination.

Exports that do not require export licenses require an AES filing only when (i) the shipment includes more than $2,500 of items sharing a single Schedule B number and (ii) the destination country is not Canada.

AES filings may be submitted by an exporter or an exporter’s authorized agent, such as a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders ordinarily take care of AES filings when they handle a shipment.

An AESDirect account is required to submit an AES filing. There is no charge to create an account or to submit a filing. Please see the U.S. Census website for instructions.

AES Filings Are Always Required for Permanent Exports of Rifles and Handguns

The permanent export of firearms classified under ECCN 0A501.a or 0A501.b always require an AES filing. The AES description must start with “0A501.a” or “.a”, or “0A501.b” or “.b” as applicable.

AES filings for 0A501.a or 0A501.b firearms exported under exception TMP or a BIS license authorizing a temporary export must include the manufacturer, model, caliber, and serial number of the exported items. Please see §740.9 of the EAR for TMP exception requirements.

A filing is not required for exporting 0A501.a or 0A501.b firearms under the §740.14 Baggage (BAG) license exception. This exception allows travelers to bring up to three firearms with them on a foreign trip. In lieu of an AES filing, the traveler / exporter must declare the firearm(s) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when leaving the U.S. by providing a CBP Form 4457. Please see the requirements for using this exception in §740.14(e)(3) and §758.11 of the EAR.

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries. AES Filings Are Required for Exports of Shotguns and Optical Devices to Most Countries

Any export of shotguns or optical devices that requires an export license also requires an AES filing.

Exports of shotguns with barrel lengths of 18 inches or more to the 30 countries for which an export license is not required fall under the general rule that an AES filing is not necessary unless items sharing a single Schedule B number exceed $2,500.

Exports of shotguns with a barrel length less than 18 inches do require an AES filing. Note that the AES description must start in one of three prescribed ways: “0A502 barrel length less than 18 inches” or “0A502sb” or, simply, “.sb”.

AES filings for exports of shotguns under exception TMP or a BIS license authorizing a temporary export of shotguns with a barrel length less than 18 inches under ECCN 0A502 must include the manufacturer, model, caliber, and serial number of the exported items.

An AES filing is not required for exporting 0A502 shotguns with a barrel length of 18 inches or greater if the §740.14 Baggage (BAG) license exception applies. This exception allows travelers to bring up to three firearms with them on a temporary foreign trip. In lieu of an AES filing, the traveler / exporter must declare the firearm(s) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when leaving the U.S. by providing a CBP Form 4457. Please see the requirements for using this exception in §740.14(e)(3) and §758.11 of the EAR.

AES Filings Generally Are Not Required for Low Value Shipments of Parts and Accessories

Exports of 0A501.c, 0A501.d, 0A501.x items, certain 0A502 parts and components, or 0A504.g parts for sighting devices do not require an AES filing if they are shipping under the LVS exception and the shipment does not contain more than $2,500 of items sharing a single Schedule B number.

The same rule applies to LVS shipments of 0A501.e parts to destinations in Canada.

Non-licensable parts, components, accessories, and/or attachments that are classified as EAR99 or controlled by ECCN 0A501.y do not require an AES filing unless the shipment exceeds $2,500 per Schedule B number and the destination is not Canada.

Does this all sound too complicated? If you sell firearms, parts, accessories, or optics online and want a safe and cost-effective way to export them without making mistakes, EasyExport probably can help. Schedule a call to learn more.

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The 5 Requirements for Exporting Firearm Optics Legally

The 5 Requirements for Exporting Firearm Optics Legally

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

You know there are special export regulations for firearms, but did you know that export restrictions also apply to riflescopes and other sighting devices for firearms?

Failure to comply with these regulations when you export sights and scopes can result in seizure, fines and, in some cases, criminal penalties.

To stay out of trouble, here are 5 steps to follow before shipping firearm optics to customers in other countries.

Make Sure You Have The Correct Export Classification

Before you can determine which export requirements apply to an iron sight, fiber-optic, holographic, red dot, laser or other sighting device, you need to know its export classification.

Nearly all firearm sighting devices that are used for sporting purposes are controlled by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

The EAR use a five-character alpha-numeric code (referred to as an ECCN) to classify items for export purposes. The list of classifications is called the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Classifications for sighting devices generally include a one- or two-character subcategory, too.

  • Fiber-optic and iron sights are tricky. They may be classified as either EAR99 or 0A501.y.3.
  • Most other sights used for sporting purposes are classified as 0A504 and are subcategorized as follows:
    • Telescopic sights (0A504.a)
    • Holographic sights (0A504.b)
    • Reflex or “red dot” sights (0A504.c)
    • Reticle sights (0A504.d)
    • Other sighting devices that contain optical elements (0A504.e)
    • Laser aiming devices or laser illuminators specially designed for use on firearms, and having an operational wavelength exceeding 400 nm but not exceeding 710 nm (0A504.f).
  • High-power and precision riflescopes that are specially designed for military use are generally classified as 0A504.i).
  • Military-grade night vision and laser devices are classified in Category 6 of the CCL (often referred to as “600 series”) or Category XII of the United States Munitions List (USML) depending on the capabilities and specifications of the device. (The USML is listed in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)).

How can you determine the correct export classification for the sighting device you want to export?

  • If you bought the product from the manufacturer, ask the manufacturer (you may even find it on the manufacturer’s website in the products specs).
  • If you are the manufacturer, the EAR allows you to determine the correct classification yourself if the classification is clear.
  • If you are not sure which category your product falls under, you can submit a classification request to the Department of Commerce via the Commodity Classification Tracking System (CCATS). If your sighting device was designed for military use, it may be appropriate to submit a classification request to the Department of State via a Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ).

Determine Whether An Export License Is Required

After you know the correct export classification, you can determine whether you need to obtain an export license. If an export license is required, you must obtain it before you ship.

For the sighting devices listed above, here’s how to find out whether you need an export license:

  • Fiber-optic and iron sights classified as EAR99 or 0A501.y.3 can be exported to almost every country without an export license. (Note that an AES submission may be required for shipments valued more than $2,500. Click to learn more.).
  • There are 30 countries to which you can export telescopic, holographic, reflex, red dot and reticle sight, other sighting devices that contain optical elements, laser aiming devices and laser illuminators — which are classified in ECCN 0A504.a through 0A504.f – without an export license. An approved export license is required for exports to all other countries, including Canada. (You can find a list of the 30 countries at the end of this blog.)
  • Exports of high-power and precision riflescopes classified in ECCN 0A504.i always require a BIS export license, regardless of destination.
  • Exports of military-grade night vision and laser devices classified in the 600 Series of the EAR require an export license regardless of the destination unless a license exception applies.
  • Exports of military-grade night vision and laser devices classified in Category XII of the USML require an export license from the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) unless an exemption applies.

BIS license applications are submitted through the Simplified Network Application Process Redesign (SNAP-R). There are exceptions to license requirements that apply in certain instances, such as (i) temporary exports to trade shows, demonstrations and product evaluations and (ii) temporary exports in baggage for personal use while outside the U.S. When using a license exception to export an optical device without an export license, it is important to comply with all requirements for using the license exception. They can be quite complicated and failing to meet any one of the requirements can result in an unauthorized export and can lead to seizure of the item(s) and penalties. The EAR license exceptions can be found here.

DDTC license applications are submitted through the Defense Export Control and Compliance System (DECCS).

Be Sure To Satisfy Import Rules In The Destination CountryEasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries.

Import regulations for firearm optics vary by country. Some countries require an import permit. Others do not. Some countries even prohibit certain devices, such as laser pointers or optics shipped with lithium ion batteries.

Be sure to find out from the foreign purchaser what the import requirements are before you ship. Otherwise, the products may be seized by the foreign country’s Customs service.

Know Your Customer

Even if an export license is not required for the country you are shipping to, one may be required for a party involved in the transaction if they are on a restricted or debarred list.    

The U.S. Government publishes and regularly updates lists of parties to whom certain exports are not allowed or require special licensing. These prohibitions and restrictions may apply to end users, buyers, brokers, agents, sales representatives, U.S. and foreign freight forwarders, and even banks.

Export.gov has a free Consolidated Screening List which searches against the lists published by the Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Department of Treasury. Alternatively, you can use a fee-based software company that conducts automated screenings against these lists and other lists that are not included in export.gov’s search engine.

Include the Correct Shipping Documents

Incomplete or inaccurate shipping documents can result in the seizure of shipments by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on their way out of the U.S. Seizures result in delays, extra expense and possible penalties. Incomplete or inaccurate shipping documents also can create problems for the importer when the goods seek to clear Customs in the receiving country. To learn more, check this post.

Conclusion

Comply with all applicable U.S. export and foreign import regulations to stay out of trouble. Violations can lead to seizures of goods, loss of export privileges, fines, and even criminal penalties. Remember to keep records of all commodity classifications, export licenses, import permits, and restricted party screenings.

Does this all sound too hard? If you sell firearms, parts, accessories, or optics online and want a safe and cost-effective way to export them without making mistakes, EasyExport probably can help. Schedule a call to learn more.

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Avoid These 3 Big Mistakes When Exporting Firearms

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Firearm exports require more stringent procedures than many other exports.

Here are 3 big mistakes you want to avoid when exporting firearms.

Not obtaining the appropriate export and / or import license(s)

Failure to obtain an export license before shipping most types of firearm to a recipient in another country is a violation of U.S. export regulations. In most cases, it is also a violation of U.S. export regulations if the U.S. exporter fails to obtain a copy of the foreign recipient’s import permit.

An export license from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is required to export most non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms and shotguns. Even antique firearms, certain muzzle-loading black powder firearms, BB guns, pellet rifles, paintball, and other air rifles may require an export license to certain countries or end-users despite the fact that they are classified as EAR99 for export purposes.

An export license from the U.S. State Department, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is required to export fully automatic firearms and shotguns and firearms using caseless ammunition.

In addition to an export license, a Form 9 approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is required for firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA), which include fully automatic firearms and shotguns, as well as rifles and shotguns with barrel lengths less than 18 inches.

More information regarding U.S. Government approval is available in this blog.

Most foreign governments require that importers of firearms obtain an import permit. Even firearms that are classified as EAR99 and do not require a US export license may still require an import permit to enter the destination country. You should check with your foreign purchaser to determine what permit(s) is required. If an import permit is required, BIS and DDTC require that you to obtain a copy.

Incomplete or incorrect shipping documents

Incomplete or inaccurate shipping documents can result in the seizure of shipments by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on their way out of the country. Seizures result in delays, extra expense and possible penalties. Incomplete or inaccurate shipping documents also can create problems for the importer when the goods seek to clear customs in the destination country.

Once you have obtained required export licenses and import permits and are ready to pack your shipment, it is very important to include a commercial invoice. The commercial invoice must contain the names and addresses of the exporter and importer, description, quantity, and price of the product(s), and the destination control statement as stated in §758.6 of the EAR and §123.9 of the ITAR. More information on requirements and best practices for commercial invoices can be found here.

If you are using a freight forwarder, you must give the forwarder a shipper’s letter of instruction (SLI). The SLI provides information about the shipment that your freight forwarder needs to process the export. Freight forwarders can give you a template for the SLI.

An AES filing is required for any products shipping under an approved EAR or an ITAR export license. This filing sends important export information to the U.S. Government. The confirmation number (known as an ITN) provided by the AES system after receipt of the filing must be included on the shipping label or air waybill (AWB).

It is very important to retain shipping details and, when available, tracking information, for every shipment. This can be an AWB issued by a freight forwarder or a carrier’s shipping label with a tracking number. The AWB must include the same destination control statement as the commercial invoice. Be sure to obtain and retain delivery receipts for all export shipments.

Not conducting a restricted party screen 

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries.

U.S. export regulations require you to take steps to ensure that you are not shipping firearms to a prohibited or sanctioned party. If you ship to a foreign recipient that is subject to U.S. or international sanctions, you can incur monetary penalties and/or lose your privilege to export, which is called “debarment.”

The U.S. Government publishes and updates lists of parties to whom American exporters are not allowed to ship firearms. These prohibitions may also extend to other parties to an international transaction, such as brokers, agents, sales representatives, U.S. and foreign freight forwarders, and even banks handling letters of credit.

All parties to your export transaction should be screened against these lists. The lists are updated frequently so screenings should be performed prior to submission of an export license application and prior to shipment.

If any party to your transaction appears on one of these lists, you may not be permitted to proceed with the transaction in the manner contemplated, or at all. If the transaction requires an export license, your license application may be denied. For products that normally wouldn’t require an export license, such as an EAR99 air rifle, a license may be necessary. The important thing is not to proceed until you confirm that you are allowed to proceed.

At a minimum, you should screen against the following lists:

List Responsible Agency
Denied Persons List Department of Commerce
Unverified List Department of Commerce
Entity List Department of Commerce
Nonproliferation Sanctions Department of State
AECA Debarred List          Department of State
Specially Designated Nationals List Department of the Treasury
Foreign Sanctions Evaders List Department of the Treasury
Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List Department of the Treasury
Palestinian Legislative Council List Department of the Treasury
The List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Part 561 Department of the Treasury
Persons Identified as Blocked   Persons Identified as Blocked  

Fortunately, it is not hard to screen recipients. Export.gov has a free Consolidated Screening List which searches all of these lists. There are also several well-regarded fee-based software companies that handle restricted party screenings against these lists and many other lists that are not included in export.gov’s search engine.

Note that screens often produce false-positives, names that appear to match a party to your transaction but which, in fact, refer to someone else. If your screen produces an apparent match, confirm that the party identified by the screen is the same party you are dealing with before you determine not to proceed.

Be sure to keep a record of all restricted party screens, including your basis for deciding that apparent matches are false-positives. If something goes wrong with your export, it is important to have proof that you conducted a proper screen.

Mistakes can be costly

Remember that the 3 mistakes discussed above can lead to serious consequences such as:

  • Goods being seized by Customs
  • Loss of export privileges / debarment
  • Monetary penalties / fines
  • In very serious cases, criminal penalties including jail time.

If you sell firearms, parts, accessories or optics online and want a safe and cost-effective way to export them without making these mistakes, EasyExport probably can help. Schedule a call to learn more.

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How to Export a Firearm Legally

The 6 Requirements for Exporting a Firearm Legally

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Have you wondered what the regulatory requirements are for exporting a firearm from the United States? Here are the 6 things you need to know.

United States Government Approval

  • A BIS-748P export license issued by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is required to export non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms and shotguns with barrel lengths of less than 18 inches. A BIS-748P license is also required to export shotguns with barrel lengths of 18 inches or greater to all but 30 countries. BIS-748P applications are submitted through the SNAP-R System. A free-of-charge SNAP-R account must be created prior submitting a license application.                   
  • A DSP-5 export license issued by the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is required to export fully automatic firearms, fully automatic shotguns, or firearms using caseless ammunition. The DSP-5 application is submitted through the DECCS System.  A company must register with DDTC prior to submitting a license application.
  • In addition to an export license, a Form 9 permit approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is required to export a firearm controlled under the National Firearms Act (NFA). These include (but are not limited to) fully automatic firearms, fully automatic shotguns, and rifles with a barrel length less than 18 inches. The Form 9 is submitted through the eForms System or via hardcopy after the export license has been issued. A company must be registered with ATF prior to submitting an application.

Import Permit

An import permit, import license, or import certificate (these terms are often used interchangeably) issued by the foreign purchaser’s government is most likely required to allow the purchaser to import a firearm. These documents vary by country and may even vary by the type of purchaser. In many countries, the type of firearm may affect the type of import permit required and some firearms that are legal in the United States cannot be imported at all into certain countries. For instance, semi-automatic ARs cannot be imported into Canada and New Zealand (and a number of other countries) if they are intended for civilian use. BIS and DDTC require you to obtain a copy of the permit from your foreign purchaser prior to shipment.

Schedule B Number

A Schedule B number is used by the U.S. Census Bureau to classify goods that are exported. The correct Schedule B number for the type of firearm being exported is required when completing an AES filing (discussed below). The United States Census Bureau provides a list of Schedule B numbers on their website. They also have a search feature here to help you find the correct Schedule B number for the firearm you plan to export.

Carrier / Freight Forwarder

Some international freight carriers will accept firearms for export while others will not. These restrictions may vary by the country of destination. Certain shipments may have to be handled by a freight forwarder instead of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or a commercial courier service such as FedEx, UPS, etc. Make sure that the carrier you plan to use will handle the shipment.

AES / EEI Filing

Any shipment that requires a BIS or ITAR export license must be cleared for export by filing Electronic Export Information (EEI) with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the Automated Export System (AES). For firearms (regardless of barrel length) or for shotguns with a barrel length less than 18 inches which are approved on a BIS license, the AES description must start with “0A501.a”, “0A501.b”, or “0A502 barrel length less than 18 inches” as applicable. Freight forwarders often submit AES filings on behalf of the exporter. USPS and commercial carriers may require the exporter to submit the filing on their own. Be sure you know in advance who will be responsible for the AES filing.  

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries. Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is required to be included with the shipment by U.S. Customs and the foreign country’s Customs. At a minimum, the commercial invoice should include the following information:

  • Invoice Number
  • Date
  • Name and address of the exporter
  • Name and address of the foreign party (ship-to address)
  • Exporter’s product number(s)
  • Description of the product(s)
  • Quantity of each product
  • Unit price of each product
  • Extended price of each line item (i.e., unit price multiplied by quantity of units)
  • Any additional charges such as shipping, handling, insurance, licensing, etc.
  • Total value of all products plus any additional charges
  • Destination Control Statement as required by 758.6 of the EAR and §123.9 of the ITAR:

 “These items are controlled by the U.S. Government and authorized for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the ultimate consignee or end-user(s) herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized ultimate consignee or end-user(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations.” 

Other suggested information to include on the commercial invoice:

  • Country of origin
  • Schedule B number
  • IncoTerm
  • Payment terms
  • Mode of transport
  • Import agent (if applicable)

Does this sound too complicated? EasyExport may be able to take care of the process for you.

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A U.S. Government export license is not required to export shotguns with barrel lengths of 18 inches or longer to recipients in these 30 countries:

Albania Japan
Australia Latvia
Belgium Lithuania
Bulgaria Luxembourg
Croatia Netherlands
Czech Republic New Zealand
Denmark Norway
Estonia Poland
France Portugal
Germany Romania
Greece Slovakia
Hungary Slovenia
Iceland Spain
India Turkey
Italy United Kingdom
Use-the-New-LVS-Exception-to-Sell-More-Firearm-Products-Internationally

Use the New LVS Exception to Sell More Firearm Products Internationally

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

The LVS Exception in the new firearm export regulations is a powerful tool you can use to expand your company’s international footprint and revenues. In this post, we look at the following topics:

What is the LVS Exception?

LVS stands for “Shipments of Limited Value.”

The LVS exception under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) allows exporters of firearms and parts to ship up to $500 of certain licensable items without a license. It replaces the ITAR Section 123.17(a) exemptions that previously authorized small shipments of most firearm parts without a license, with a limit of $500 for exports to Canada and $100 everywhere else.

The most significant change is that the upper limit for shipments that can go without a license is now $500 everywhere, except for a few restricted countries. This adds convenience for manufacturers, who can now ship small parcels of spare and replacement parts to international customers quickly without waiting for a license. It’s a game-changer, however, for those who sell aftermarket parts. The $100 limit under the ITAR was low enough to rule out the export of most aftermarket parts. This new $500 limit is high enough to permit most of them.

So, everyone who sells firearms and parts should ask, “How can my company use this new authority to grow sales and please international customers?”

Which Items Are Covered by the LVS Exception

The LVS exception cannot be used for complete firearms, but it can be used for almost all pistol and rifle parts that are now subject to the EAR, everything except receivers, frames and complete breech mechanisms (defined in Part 772 of the EAR). LVS shipments to Canada can even include receivers, frames and complete breech mechanisms (ATF serialization and acquisition-disposition regulations continue to apply).

An added benefit of the EAR is that certain items can be shipped without any dollar limit and without being counted towards the LVS limit. These include bolts and pins used as fasteners (not those used in the action of a firearm) as well as other fasteners (e.g., screws, nuts, nut plates, studs, inserts, clips, rivets). Also included are washers, spacers, insulators, grommets, bushings, springs, wire and solder.

In addition, stocks, grips, scope mounts, accessory rails, iron sights, sling swivels, butt plates, recoil pads, and bayonets can be shipped to all but restricted countries without a license and without counting against the LVS limit.

For shotguns, a $500 LVS exception applies to complete trigger mechanisms, magazines and magazine extension tubes. Additionally, the LVS exception for shotgun parts can be used for complete breech mechanisms if the destination is Canada.

There is an LVS exception for lenses, other optical elements and adjustment mechanisms for controlled optics, but not for complete optical sights. (Note, however, that complete non-military grade sights can be shipped to 30 countries without an export license). Lastly, a $500 LVS exception applies to certain ammunition components.

Shipping Small Parcels to International Customers

Don’t take it for granted that you can ship the small parcels of gun parts our government now permits you to export without a license. Depending on where your customer is located, it may be harder than you think. The United States Postal Service is your best option when shipping to countries to which USPS will carry firearm parts, including Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, among many others. But you can’t use USPS to ship firearm parts to Germany, New Zealand or certain other countries due to regulations in those countries.

Can you use private courier services like FedEx, UPS and DHL to ship to countries where you can’t use USPS? They all say they won’t carry gun parts internationally, but many people in the industry can cite exceptions they have encountered. Present properly labeled packages and see whether they are accepted. Air waybills and Customs Declarations must include correct information, including export classifications and Schedule B numbers.

Don’t Overlook Import Regulations

Another obstacle to pay attention to is destination country import regulations. Experienced importers of U.S. firearm products know when they need import permits, but the new, higher LVS exception and other benefits of the new regulations will, we all hope, bring new international buyers into the picture.

Be sure that your customer is familiar with the import regulations of the destination country. Also, your terms of sale should clearly state that the customer is responsible for obtaining import permits. Import permit requirements vary widely from one country to the next so make no assumptions regarding which items can be imported into Country B based on your experience with Country A. Be aware, also, that import requirements can change dramatically in a short period of time, as occurred in New Zealand in 2019.

Two areas of sensitivity in many countries are parts for ARs and magazines with round capacities over 10 rounds. But each country is different.

You may ask, “Isn’t this the buyer’s problem? Do I really care?” We think you should. Do you want to ship your products to countries that don’t let them in? Do you want to do business with customers who may not follow their country’s regulations? What other regulations may they not comply with? Also, in some countries, notably Germany, there are situations in which the U.S. exporter can be held legally responsible for violations of import regulations. We could go on.

How to Handle Product Returns

It is possible to return firearm products to the U.S. for repair or replacement or when the wrong product was shipped accidentally, but it isn’t easy and will rarely be practical for sales made using the LVS exception. Most countries have export regulations that your customer must comply with when exporting firearm parts back to the U.S. and the U.S. has import requirements that apply, too. Bottom line is: it’s complicated for small sales.

Our recommendation is to be careful that your return, repair and replacement policies exclude international sales unless you have solutions in place that you know work. If you don’t, international sales should be final and extra precautions should be taken to ensure that the correct products are packed before you ship.

Don’t Forget These

There are a few more things about which you want to be careful when you use the LVS exception.

  • Annual limit. The $500 LVS exceptions can be used for only $6,000 in total shipments per calendar year to a single international customer. Therefore, you must keep track of your LVS sales to each customer to ensure that they don’t exceed the limit. If this is too hard, consider limiting LVS sales to one per month. That will bring you to the right compliance outcome. Don’t forget that the regulations prohibit orders from being split to bring them under the $500 limit or to straddle two calendar years.
  • Destination Control Statement. Part 758.6(a) of the EAR requires that the following Destination Control Statement be placed on the commercial invoice: “These items are controlled by the U.S. Government and authorized for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the ultimate consignee or end-user(s) herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized ultimate consignee or end-user(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations.”
  • AES filing. When you ship small packages of products to another country using the LVS exception, you are required to submit an AES filing and to mark the ITN on the first page of the bill of lading, air waybill, export shipping instructions or other commercial loading documents (See Section 30.7 of the Foreign Trade Regulations).
  • Correct classification. The foundation on which your efforts to comply with export regulations rest is correct classification of the products you export, including their new Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) and their Schedule B number, which, fortunately, has not changed. Correct classification of your current products under the EAR must occur before you use the LVS exception and every exporter needs a system to ensure that new products are properly classified. For more information on classification, please download our Reference Guide for New Firearm Export Regulations.
  • Record-Keeping. When you use the LVS exception, you are subject to the record-keeping requirements of Part 762 of the EAR.
  • Data privacy. Data privacy is outside the scope of this post, but please give consideration to the European Union data privacy regulations (GDPR) if you use the LVS exception to increase small sales into the EU. Seek expert advice on your privacy policies, practices and data security requirements.

Still too complicated? Don’t turn away. The rewards are too great to pass up. Consider leaving your licensing and regulatory compliance to EasyExport™ so your exports are handled safely, securely and legally. Click below to learn more and schedule a demo.

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