Category

Firearm Export Sales

Export-Sound-Suppressors-from-the-United-States

5 Things to Know About Exporting Firearm Sound Suppressors to Civilian End Users

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

The Department of State relaxed export controls on sound suppressors (aka silencers) in July 2020. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) now authorizes exports of sound suppressors to non-governmental end users, ending a policy that had been in place since 2002.

DDTC’s requirements for DSP-5 licenses for exports of suppressors to civilians are stringent, however.

Here are 5 things you need to know if you want to export suppressors to civilian end users:

  • Exports of sound suppressors continue to be governed by the ITAR
  • Foreign dealers cannot import suppressors for stock; a separate DSP-5 license is required for each end user
  • A purchase order, import permit, DSP-83, and end user statement are required with every license application
  • Consider using a DSP-73 to supply dealers with samples
  • Limit the number of suppressors you export to any one end user

Exports of Sound Suppressors Continue to be Governed by the ITAR

Sound suppressors did not move to the Commerce Department in March 2020 along with other non-military firearms, parts and accessories. Suppressors remain on the United States Munitions List (USML) and continue to be classified for export purposes as Category I (e) defense articles. As such, suppressors remain subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

This means that it is expensive to export suppressors. Exporters of suppressors are required to register with DDTC — $2,250 per year. (Manufacturers of suppressors are required to register even if they don’t export.) Exporters also must pay a fee of $250 per license if they obtain more than 10 ITAR licenses in a one-year period.

In addition, the more complex ITAR licensing requirements apply to licenses to export suppressors. DSP-5’s are required for permanent exports and DSP-73’s for temporary exports. Unlike Commerce Department licenses, ITAR licenses require that supporting documents be attached (more on this below).

Dealers Cannot Buy Suppressors for Stock; A Separate DSP-5 is Required for Each End User

In a major blow to the commercial potential for sound suppressors overseas, DDTC will not approve DSP-5 licenses for shipments to dealers or distributors who want to stock suppressors for resale.

Dealers in other countries are permitted to aggregate orders from their customers, but they must collect a lot of paperwork for each resale. Every ultimate end user needs to fuss with the supporting documents that are required for DSP-5 licenses. 

Here’s how it works if a dealer places an order for one or more end users.

  • The purchase order from the dealer to the U.S. exporter must not only identify the suppressors being purchased but also the customers to whom each suppressor will be resold. So, all the suppressors ordered by the dealer must be pre-sold.
  • The dealer collects the supporting documents (see below) for each ultimate end user and sends them to the exporter.
  • The exporter applies for a separate DSP-5 for each ultimate end user.
  • When all the licenses have been approved, the exporter can ship.
  • From a DSP-5 standpoint, the dealer is a foreign consignee identified in Block 16, not an end user in Block 14. The dealer’s customer is the Block 14 end user.

Obviously, with these rules, selling to distributors outside the U.S. for resale to dealers is out of the question.

A Purchase Order, Import Permit, DSP-83 and End User Statement Are Required with Every License Application

Required supporting documents for each DSP-5 license include the following:

  • A purchase order on the letterhead of the purchaser. If a dealer is making the purchase, the purchase order should be issued on the dealer’s letterhead or the dealer’s normal PO form if it includes the dealer’s name and address. In addition to listing the items being purchased, the purchase order must identify by names the ultimate end user of each suppressor.
  • An import permit issued by the appropriate authority in the destination country. If a dealer is purchasing for multiple end users, there should be a separate import permit for each end user because there will be a separate license for each end user.
  • A properly completed Form DSP-83 is required. If a dealer is aggregating orders, there should be a separate DSP-83 for each end user. The dealer should sign Block 6. The end user signs Block 7. The exporter signs Block 9 last. Exporters should remember that they are not permitted to change the DSP-83 after it has been signed by any other signatory.
  • Each end user (not the dealer) should sign an end user statement stating the intended use of the suppressor.

Licenses to Provide Dealers with Samples and Display Items

DDTC will approve DSP-5s to supply foreign dealers with display and demonstration suppressors but these items cannot be resold. They can be used only for display and demonstration purposes.

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries. The required supporting documents are the same as those described above with the following changes:

  • The purchase order will list the dealer itself as the end user. The PO should state the intended use of the suppressors as display and demonstration items and should describe with specificity how they will be safely stored when not in use.
  • The import permit should be for the dealer’s own use.
  • The dealer should sign the DSP-83 in Block 7. Leave Block 6 blank.

Although DDTC will approve a DSP-5 for display and demonstration suppressors, consider using a DSP-73 temporary export license instead. The problem with using a DSP-5 is how to deal with the disposition of the suppressors when they are no longer usable for display and demonstration purposes. The DSP-5 does not allow the dealer to transfer them and if a DSP-5 was used to send them out in the first place, it will be hard to ship them back to the U.S. or to authorize a transfer in the foreign country. The exporter remains responsible for the ultimate disposition under ITAR Section 127.1(c) even when a DSP-5 has been used to permanently export the suppressor. So, if the dealer sells the suppressors at the end of their useful life without DDTC authorization, that’s the exporter’s problem.

You may make it easier to close the loop properly if you use a DSP-73 temporary export license, instead of a DSP-5. In most cases, a term of two or three years will cover the useful display and demo life of a suppressor, but you can select a term as long as four years. Before the license expires, the dealer should ship the items back to the U.S., where they can re-enter under the authority of the DSP-73. You can obtain a new DSP-73 to ship current-model replacements to the dealer.

Supporting documentation for a DSP-73 is a little different from the documents required for a DSP-5. Here is a quick summary:

  • In lieu of a purchase order, prepare a letter for the dealer to put onto its letterhead, sign and send back. The letter should request the suppressors (identify them specifically in separate line items, as would be the case with a PO, with description, number of units, unit price and extended price). In the letter, the dealer should state that the items will be used only for display and demonstration, won’t leave the dealer’s possession and will be stored safely and securely when not in use. Describe how and where they will be stored. For your own benefit, the details of when and at whose expense the suppressors will be returned to the exporter should be stated.
  • An import permit is required, just as would be the case with a DSP-5. 
  • A DSP-83 should be obtained, completed the same way as it would for a DSP-5 for an export to the dealer as ultimate end user.
  • The letter that takes the place of a purchase order will substitute for an end user statement.

Limit the number of suppressors you export to any one end user

The process described above is so complex and expensive as to tempt foreign purchasers to buy suppressors not only for themselves but also to resell or gift some to others. As noted above, even legitimate dealers legally authorized to sell suppressors are not permitted to buy U.S. suppressors for resale. Individual end users who claim to be buying for their own end use certainly are not allowed to resell.

But the temptation will exist. How can you manage this risk?

When foreign dealers aggregate orders for their customers there is a certain amount of built-in control. Dealers should be reluctant to help their customers do what the dealers themselves can’t do. On the other hand, you’re here and they are over there, so it is hard to be certain that the foreign parties are behaving as they are supposed to.

This points to the importance of thorough due diligence of every commercial party to whom you export a sound suppressor — both dealers and ultimate end users. If all you do is run a restricted party screen through the BIS Consolidated Search Engine or through a commercial restricted party screening product, ask yourself whether a clean search gives you all the comfort you need.

Suppose an end user wants to buy 10 suppressors. That seems like a very nice order indeed from a single individual. But if the ten consist of four units of one model and six of another, is that the type of purchase people would make for their own use? Asking questions of the purchaser will give you answers, sometimes good ones, but that takes time. 

It may be a good idea to impose a strict per-order and annual limit on the number of suppressors any one end user can buy. Good due diligence combined with self-imposed limits can help manage the risk that end users you don’t know and can’t see will buy your suppressors for resale rather than for their own use.

DDTC has said it will limit the number of suppressors it will approve for export to a single end user, as it should in light of its overall posture toward suppressors, but you are the one on the front line. Imposing your own limit would be consistent with your obligations as an exporter under ITAR Section 127.1(c).

Does this all sound too hard? If you make or sell sound suppressors in the United States, EasyExport can enable you to sell them from your online store directly to end users in 15 countries, with more countries to come. Schedule a call to learn more.

SCHEDULE A CALL
Step-by-Step-Instructions-for-Selling-Firearms-Internationally-from-Your-Gun-Store

12-Step Instructions for Selling Firearms Internationally from Your Gun Store

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Have you had to turn down a sale to a visitor to your store from another country who wants to buy a gun to take home? Or a potential online sale to someone from another country who wants you to ship the gun?

New U.S. export regulations took effect in March. Now you can sell and ship sporting rifles, pistols and shotguns to citizens of other countries. There are no registration or license fees, but it is important to follow each step of the process carefully.

Follow these 12 steps to export most handguns, rifles and shotguns legally:

  • Ship the gun; In-store transfers are not possible
  • Know your customer
  • Obtain a copy of the buyer’s import permit
  • Price for the international market
  • Determine whether an export license is required
  • Obtain an export license if required
  • Pack with the correct shipping documents
  • Submit an AES filing if required
  • Use a carrier that can deliver to the destination country
  • Let your customer deal with duties, import taxes and other import charges
  • Enter the export sale in your bound book
  • Keep records for five years

1. Ship the Gun; In-Store Transfers Are Not Possible

With few exceptions, ATF regulations do not permit FFLs to transfer firearms in their stores to visitors from other countries. The exceptions are outlined in the instructions for Question 26.d on Form 4473. They do not include sales to foreign visitors to the U.S. who simply want to buy a gun to take home.

If an FFL ships a firearm to another country, however, ATF regulations do not govern the sale. Export regulations do. Export regulations do allow FFLs to ship a gun to a foreign visitor’s home address, as long as you jump through the right hoops, discussed below.

2. Know Your Customer

There is no NICS check for export sales. Instead, you are required to make sure the person you are exporting to is not a sanctioned party prohibited from receiving exports. You also want to satisfy yourself that there are no “red flags.”

Here’s how to do this for an export sale.

First, obtain the person’s passport, check to make sure it looks genuine and hasn’t expired, and make a copy of the photo and personal information pages for your records.

Second, chat with the customer. Try to confirm that the customer is on the up-and-up and that the firearm is legal in the customer’s country. Look for anything that doesn’t seem right. There are many possible red flags that should, if you spot them, cause you to decline to make the sale. One would be an evasive customer who doesn’t want to provide any information. Another would be a customer who knows very little about firearms, especially if that customer wants to buy more than one. The U.S. Commerce Department has posted a long list of other possible red flags. If you are not comfortable that the buyer and the intended use of the gun are legitimate, don’t complete the sale.

Next, visit the export.gov Consolidated Screening List to screen the person’s name against lists of sanctioned persons. You can do this when you leave the room to photocopy the passport. Input the person’s name in the second block, turn “Fuzzy Name” on, leave the Address and Sources fields empty, and select the person’s country of residence and, if different, the country of citizenship (both countries of citizenship in the case of dual citizenship). Then click on Search. If you see “No result” to the left of the Search button, the name has been cleared. In the rare case where a name is returned after you click Search, you would be wise to decline the sale unless you can clearly determine that the name returned is not your customer.

Use the “print screen” feature on your computer to keep a copy of your search, both the completed search form and the “No result” that came back when you clicked Search. Keep the copy of the search with your copy of the person’s passport and the other records of the transaction (see below).

3. Obtain a Copy of the Buyer’s Import Permit

You should obtain a copy of the customer’s import permit for the gun before you ship it. If the customer is in your store, they most likely will need to return home, obtain the import permit and email a copy to you.

A dealer’s license or individual’s firearms permit in the home country is not an import permit. Import permits clearly state that they authorize imports of firearms and almost always specifically identify the firearm(s). If English is not an official language in the customer’s home country, request a translation together with a copy of the import permit in the original language.

Look at the import permit when you receive it. Does it look like an official government-issued document? Check the issuance and expiration dates to confirm that the permit is in effect. Confirm that the name of the importer on the permit corresponds with the name on the passport you copied. (If the customer is a dealer, ask the customer to provide a copy of the dealer’s license. The name on the dealer’s license should correspond with the name on the import permit.)

4. Price for the International Market

It is customary for exporters of firearms to be paid in full before they ship. Many take a 50% deposit with the order and collect the balance, plus shipping cost, before shipment, but after the export license and import permit have been obtained.

There are extra costs associated with exports. It is totally “market” to pass them along to the customer in the price or by adding them to the invoice. In addition to shipping, it is appropriate to add a service charge as compensation for the extra work, such as obtaining an export license. Anything in the range of $100 to $250, on top of shipping, would be in line with what other exporters charge.

That said, there is a silver lining when you export a firearm. FET is not collected on export sales so you can keep that portion of your price. You may decide to let the FET savings substitute for the service charge recommended above.

5. Determine Whether an Export License is Required

You will need to obtain an export license from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) if the gun is a rifle, handgun or combination gun. Shotguns with barrel lengths of 18 inches or more can be shipped to 30 countries without a license. You can find a list of the 30 countries at the end of this blog post. Note that Canada is not one of the 30 countries; if you ship a firearm to Canada, will you need an export license.

You can use the following table to determine whether an export firearm license is required for the firearms specifically listed in the table. The table also includes information you will need for the export license (if required), AES filing and shipping labels (discussed below):

Type of Firearm*

Export Classification (ECCN)

Export License Required?

Schedule B No.

Handguns

 

 

 

       Pistols – Semi-auto

0A501.a

Yes

9302.00.0040

       Pistols – Other pistols

0A501.a

Yes

9302.00.0090

       Revolvers

0A501.a

Yes

9302.00.0020

Sporting Rifles

 

 

 

       Centerfire – Autoloading

0A501.a

Yes

9303.30.7010

       Centerfire – Bolt Action – Single-Shot

0A501.a

Yes

9303.30.7012

       Centerfire – Bolt Action – Other

0A501.a

Yes

9303.30.7017

       Centerfire – Other

0A501.a

Yes

9303.30.7025

       Rimfire

0A501.a

Yes

9303.30.7030

Sporting Shotguns (Barrel length ≥ 18”)

 

 

 

       Shotguns – Pump Action

0A502

All but 30 countries

9303.20.0030

       Shotguns — Other

0A502

All but 30 countries

9303.20.0035

       Combination Rifle-Shotguns

0A501.a

Yes

9303.20.0080

* List above does not include the items below. They all can be exported but the mechanics are outside the scope of this post:

  • Any type of firearm not specifically listed
  • Automatic firearms or firearms that shoot caseless ammunition
  • Firearms with caliber greater than .50
  • NFA firearms
  • Black powder or antique firearms
  • Magazines with over 50-round capacity
  • Blank-firing guns
  • Spare parts, scopes extra magazines not boxed with the firearms, sound suppressors
  • Ammunition

6. Obtain an Export License if Required

Export licenses authorize a specific transaction or group of transactions between one exporter and one purchaser. If you do multiple exports that require licenses, you will need separate licenses for each customer.

If the table above says an export license is required, this is how to go about obtaining one.

Start by registering with SNAP-R, the portal for submitting export license applications to BIS. Registration is free. Just follow the instructions here.

After your registration is complete, log in to your SNAP-R account. Login will take you to a screen that says “Welcome to SNAP-R.” In the menu on the left side, click on “Create Work Item.”

At the “Create Work Item” screen, make sure that the dropdown menu says, “Export License Application.” Then insert a reference number you want to use for this license (you can choose any reference number you want) and click Create. That takes you to the license application. Instructions are embedded in the form, but you might want to watch this excellent 7-minute BIS training video for guidance on completing and submitting your export license.

After submission, you will receive an email confirming receipt of the license application.

You will be notified of the approval of your export license by email. Allow up to 30 days from the time you submit the license, but it is unlikely to take that long. You can check on the status here.

If you have questions, you will probably find the answer at SNAP-R Online Help for Exporters. If you can’t find the answer, you will find a phone number for the SNAP-R Help Desk on that page. Additional BIS user resources are located at the BIS Home Page.

7. Pack with the Correct Shipping Documents

After the export license has been approved, or in the case of shotguns that do not require an export license, the next step is to pack the box.

When packing, be sure to pack the correct item. Do not include extra parts, magazines or optics.

You are required to include certain documents when shipping firearms internationally. You will find detailed instructions here.

EasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries. 8. Submit an AES Filing if Required

If you use USPS or another courier service to ship your gun (as opposed to a commercial freight forwarder), you will need to submit an AES filing prior to shipment. After you submit the AES filing, you will receive an Internal Transaction Number (ITN).

You will need to create a free ACE Exporter Account first. Do that here. After you obtain your account ID and password, click here and follow the instructions to obtain an ITN.

Additional information on submitting AES filings can be found here. A user guide with easy step-by-step instructions can be found here.

If you use a commercial freight forwarder to ship (see below), confirm that the freight forwarder will complete the AES filing on your behalf.

9. Use a Carrier that Can Deliver to the Destination Country

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will accept firearms for delivery to certain countries, including Canada. Click here to check on shipping restrictions that apply to shipments to your customer’s country.

If USPS will not accept your shipment, you can check with the big-name couriers. Historically, they were reluctant to carry firearms, but since the change in export regulations earlier this year, there have been reports that in some cases, past policies may be undergoing changes.

As a last resort, you can use a commercial freight forwarder to arrange the shipment for you. This will work but is considerably more expensive than USPS or private couriers.

Use the table above for the ECCN (export classification) and Schedule B number. If the shipping label asks for the “HS Code,” use the first six digits of the Schedule B number.

10. Let Your Customer Deal with Duties, Taxes and Other Import Charges

Duties, taxes and other import charges imposed by the destination country on the shipment are for your customer to address. They will be collected by the customer’s government after the goods arrive in the destination country.

11. Enter the Export Sale in Your Bound Book

Don’t forget to record the disposition of the firearm in your bound book. Record it as an export sale and enter the name and address of the customer. If you were required to obtain an export license, attach a copy to the record in your bound book.

12. Keep Records for Five Years

Keep a copy of every document or record mentioned or referred to in this article for at least five years from the date you ship. Also keep a copy of the delivery receipt and purchase order or sales order. Keep all the copies together in one folder (except for the bound book).

13. You’re an Exporter!

Congratulations! You’re an exporter.

It will be easier the second time.

Does this sound too hard? If you think you can sell 25 or more firearms or scopes a month from your website to customers outside the United States, EasyExport™ may be the right solution for you. Click here now to learn more and schedule a call.

SCHEDULE A CALL
international firearms marketing data

The 6 Keys to Using Data to Drive International Marketing of Firearms

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

Suppose you knew that the countries with the best prospects for increasing international sales of your products were Canada, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and France.

Would you know how to translate that information into sales?

We’re not international marketing experts, but we do generate monthly market research reports about exports of U.S. firearms and related products. How international market data can be used to generate sales is of great interest to us, so we will pass along what we have learned from the experts.

Target the Best Markets

For starters, it’s important to recognize that “the international market” is a collection of markets. Each country is a unique niche, with its own laws, culture, history of firearms usage and opportunities for sport shooting.

Publicly available market data can help you identify and prioritize the countries that are likely to offer the best opportunities for growth. That’s the first step in finding the users of your products and honing your messaging to them.

EasyExport Insights (www.easyexport.net/insights) is a free monthly downloadable report that provides detailed export sales statistics for 20 categories or firearms and related products.

Use EasyExport Insights to identify the international markets in which your products are likely to sell best.

Take Control of Your Brand

American exporters of firearms have traditionally relied very heavily on their international distributors, dealers and representatives to establish their products’ position in international market. There hasn’t been a good alternative, so this approach has made a lot of sense.

Now there are better alternatives that give you the power to control your brand in international markets in much the same way you do in the U.S.

In the U.S., your distributors and the dealers who stock and promote your products are your valued distribution partners, but you and the users of your products define your brand. You have the ability to do the same in thing in international markets.

Think Online

The Internet is the source of your new power to control your brand internationally.

Using market data to target a small number of the most promising international markets, you can employ search engine optimization strategies and social media (like influencer marketing) to reach and engage dealers and end users of your products.

Start SmallEasyExport now connects U.S. exporters to 82 Countries.

If you know which markets are the ones where you are most likely to succeed, choose a small number, perhaps the top two or three. Implement your international digital marketing strategy only in those countries at the outset.

Learn on a small scale what works and what does not before scaling up.

Localize

Reach your market in the countries you target by creating an online presence in those countries. International marketing experts call this “localization.”

Did you know that Google’s “search engine” actually consists of more than 200 search engines? The searches that lead U.S. customers to your .com website won’t do the same for potential customers in Australia searching on google.com.au. If you want Australian customers to find you easily, you need to acquire a .com.au domain.

Establishing a localized presence in an international market involves more than acquiring a local domain. The local domain is used to create a gateway to your U.S. website. The gateway uses the local language and culturally tuned messaging to speak to your local audience in ways that will be meaningful to them.

Partner with Marketing Experts

There are talented people who can help you develop international digital marketing programs that fit your budget.

If your team already “gets” digital marketing in the U.S. market, you have the first piece in place. On the other hand, if you want some fresh ideas on how to market more effectively online, Garrison Everest’s Josh Claflin, a digital firearms marketing veteran, has posted a collection of thoughtful pieces on digital marketing strategies for the firearms industry.

To learn more about the international aspects of digital marketing, you will find everything you might want to know in the IBT-Online video library. This fantastic resource will open your eyes to the potential benefits of localizing your website and the relative ease with which it can be done in targeted markets. The videos are free, of course. If they lead you to action, IBT-Online can help you design and implement an international digital marketing strategy with very affordable service packages. They also can show you how to use state-administered STEP grants to cover a portion of the funding to get you started.

Do you want to use the best international market data to drive your international marketing? EasyExport subscribers have exclusive access to reports drawn from the EasyExport system that enable them to understand the purchasing preferences and “buyer personas” of the people who buy their products and similar products. Schedule a call to learn more.

SCHEDULE A CALL
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.

SCHEDULE A CALL
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.

SCHEDULE A CALL
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.

SCHEDULE A CALL
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.

SCHEDULE A CALL
Firearm Exporters: Take These 6 Steps to Prepare for a Visit from the Office of Export Enforcement

Firearm Exporters: Take These 6 Steps to Prepare for a Visit from the Office of Export Enforcement

By Firearm Export Sales No Comments

If you export firearms, you could receive a call at any time from the U.S. Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) asking to visit your company.

Do you know what how to respond?

Here are 6 recommendations.

Say Yes

If you export firearms, it is a very good idea always to be ready for a visit from government regulators or law enforcement.

OEE generally calls to request and schedule meetings. Say yes but schedule the meeting a week or two out so you have time to prepare. The meeting should take place at your facility, not off-site.

If OEE calls in advance to schedule a visit, assume that they are not coming to arrest you or to execute a search warrant. If that were the case, it is unlikely they would give you a heads up.

Much more likely is that the visit is part of OEE’s normal outreach to industry. These visits are intended to be, and can be, very helpful to you as an exporter.

Consider Whether To Contact Legal Counsel

The first thing to do after setting the meeting date and time is to consider whether to bring in legal counsel. If your company has an export compliance program and you believe that your export business is being conducted lawfully, you probably don’t need your outside counsel at the meeting, but you may want to check with your counsel anyway for peace of mind. If your company employs attorneys, then you should ask one of them to join you.

The analysis of whether to bring in counsel is not the same if you have no export compliance program or, worse, if you know that your organization is not following the rules. In either of these cases, it is wise to give legal counsel a chance to help you prepare.

Also, if OEE agents show up unannounced with a search warrant, call your attorney immediately and do nothing until you have spoken with counsel.

Most practicing attorneys are not familiar with firearm export regulations. If your attorney is among them, consider contacting Phil Milks, Johanna Reeves, Scott Braum or Camden Webb.

If you engage legal counsel, implement the recommendations below only as directed by your attorney.

Prepare Yourself to Discuss These 6 Topics

If you will be meeting with OEE, you want to be prepared to discuss these 6 topics:

  • The products your company exports
  • The foreign recipients to whom you ship
  • The countries to which you ship
  • The end uses for which customers outside the U.S. purchase your products
  • Your export compliance program
  • The location of your export records and the name of the person responsible for export record-keeping.

If you are knowledgeable about these topics, you can go into the meeting with confidence and you will convey a positive impression.

Check the State of Your Export Records

Your company is required to retain records of firearm export transactions for 5 years and they should be easy to locate. These are the most important records for each transaction:

  • Purchase order and any other purchase documents (e.g., sales contract, letter of credit)
  • Export license, if required
  • Export license decrementation record, if applicable
  • Record of usage of Low-Value Shipment (LVS) license exception and other license exceptions, if applicable
  • Signed end-user statement
  • Import permit from purchaser, if required
  • Destination control statement
  • Packing slip
  • Commercial invoice
  • Warranty certificate, if applicable
  • Air waybill
  • Shippers letter of instruction, if applicable
  • EEI submission via AESDirect, including ITN
  • Delivery confirmation
  • ATF Form 9, if applicable
  • Denied party screens on parties to the export, including records of any determination that apparent matches were false positives.

You do not need to make these records available to OEE as you would for an ATF inspection. Becoming familiar with the state of your company’s records is simply information you want to have in advance of the meeting. If you discover that your records are incomplete, there’s no need to volunteer that information. Instead, use the discovery of incomplete records as an opportunity to improve record-keeping.

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

Be sure there are at least two people from your company at the meeting. If you have an export compliance manager, that person should be in attendance and should be at least as well-prepared as you are.

Plan to use a comfortable meeting room in the administrative portion of your facility. You will not be required to provide a tour of any portion of your facility, unless they arrive with a valid search warrant, and there’s no reason to offer a tour. So, assume the visitor(s) will travel from the front door to the meeting room and then back out.

Don’t be alarmed if two agents show up for the meeting and if one of them is from the FBI. That happens and doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Ask for official identification and make a photocopy. If you maintain a visitor record (you should), it is okay to ask them to sign in.

Be aware that the visitors are likely to arrive with quite a bit of information about your export activities based on the AESDirect submissions that you or your freight forwarders have submitted. One reason for the preparation recommended above is to make sure they don’t know more about your export activities than you do.

When you sit down, collect their business cards, introduce your attendees and explain their roles in your company. Then, listen to what the visitors have to say. If you are asked questions you can answer, answer them. If they ask to see any documents or ask you to provide detailed information about one or more transactions, offer to put the information together and email it to them unless you have it handy and want to give it to them right away.

During the meeting you may be asked to contact OEE if you encounter suspicious individuals or transactions in your export activities. Tips can be very helpful to them and they appreciate information they receive from industry.

When the meeting is over, be sure you are clear about anything on which you have agreed to follow-up.

After the Meeting

After the visitor(s) have left, consider whether anything that came up at the meeting warrants seeking legal advice. If so, contact your attorney promptly.

If there’s nothing that requires legal help, then be sure to follow-up on anything on which you agreed to get back to them. If the agent(s) made recommendations, try to implement them.

If the preparation or meeting has revealed weaknesses in your compliance program, fix them. If the weaknesses constituted violations of regulations, consider whether to submit a voluntary self-disclosure.

Sound scary? 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.

SCHEDULE A CALL

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.

SCHEDULE A CALL
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.

SCHEDULE A CALL

 


 

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
Translate