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Old September 6, 2018, 11:32 AM   #1
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Join Date: September 2, 2018
Posts: 1
importing guns to the US


my grandpa in Germany would like to pass down his 5 riffles to me. I live in the US and would love to import them. I have a lawyer who specializes in gun laws (also a FFL dealer) but he never imported guns so he offered to do it Pro-bono. I also have some legal contacts in Germany who take care of the legal export. I found a company who would ship the rifles over and everything is set BESIDE the broker.
I have been getting very mixed answers about weather or not I have to have a broker.
These rifles are about 10 to 20 years old and just "plane" rifles and they are not for resale. The company I contracted with the shipment said that a broker is not required but when my lawyer contacted CBP they said a broker will be needed.

Did anyone by any chance go through this process or is aware about the broker/no broker issue and could help me out clarifying if I need to find one or not.

Thanks in advance.
chrissy is offline  
Old September 6, 2018, 06:32 PM   #2
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Join Date: August 10, 2002
Posts: 2,081

Firearm Imports
For Firearms Shipped into the USA from Foreign Countries

Thank you for choosing Simpson Ltd as your firearms importer. To help this process go as smoothly as possible, here are some general guidelines. To apply for your license, you can fill out our on-line PDF application form by clicking here. Or submit the following information, which is required:

Name, address, phone and FAX of foreign seller.
Name, address, phone and FAX of foreign shipper, if needed.
Name, address, phone and FAX of U.S.A. end-user.
Name, address, phone and FAX of U.S.A. FFL Dealer, if different than end-user.
Manufacturer & country of manufacture, Model, Type (RI = rifle, SG = Shotgun, PI = pistol, RE = Revolver, RI/SG = Combination or Drilling), Caliber, Barrel length in inches, Overall length in inches, New or Used and value in US Dollars for each firearm.
End use of firearms (ie. collection, resale, sport shooting, consignment sale, etc.)

Surplus Military or Police Curio & Relic (SMPCR)

For any firearms that are categorized as Surplus Military or Police Curio & Relic (SMPCR) models, additional documentation is required. One of the requirements the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has for this type of firearm is that it must have been in the country of exportation for at least the last five (5) years. You will need to provide a letter from someone in the country of exportation certifying they have been there for "at least the last 5 years". This "5 Year Letter" must be an original document. We can provide a sample "5 Year Letter" upon request, or click here. We can generate a 5 Year Letter to send to your contact for their signature and have them mail it back to us. Do not submit this information unless we ask for it. We must receive the original or certified copy via mail.

After we receive these documents, we will apply for your license. For obscure firearms that are not in the database, the BATF may ask for you to provide quality pictures of the firearm(s) including overall sides, close up of markings and serial number, and specific model and caliber information. An approval can take 2-4 weeks to get back from the BATF, sometimes longer. The clearer the supporting documentation is, the quicker the application is processed. We cannot guarantee approval for every firearm you want to import. There are some guns that cannot be imported. This includes assault weapons, many U.S. Military weapons, machine guns and most .25, .32 and .380 caliber pistols. Pistols with a barrel length of 3" or less are denied. The U.S. Department of State is constantly changing the list of "friendly" countries from which we can receive guns, which can affect approval. We cannot currently import firearms manufactured in China or Russia.

We will email you a copy of the approved import permit and give them instructions on packaging, addressing and documents to put on the parcel. Please make sure to follow the instructions closely to ensure safe arrival and the avoidance of storage costs.


Many countries require Air Freight shipments for firearms, especially for larger quantities. Some countries allow Air Parcel Post for firearm shipments. If so, the shipping costs will probably be lower. Check with your local service first, and notify us if your firearms are to be shipped via Air Parcel Post. Some of the shipping details will be different. Note that the maximum amount of insurance available for Air Parcel Post is usually less than for air freight. There are also weight and dimension restrictions.

When your guns are shipped to us, please have them shipped in sturdy containers that can be opened by U.S. Customs, if needed, and resealed. Most parcels are not opened by Customs, unless our instructions have not been followed.
What is it going to cost?

Our fee for processing your import license is $50 plus $75.00 for each firearm, with a minimum fee of $200.00. Firearm parts are $50 per line item. This includes the cost of Laser Engraving the import marks upon arrival. This fee needs to be received before we can submit your application. $100 is refundable in case of rejection from the BATF. All other fees are not refundable for any other reason you may not receive your firearms. If we need to re-crate your shipment for shipping to the U.S. end-user, there may be an additional costs. We accept cash, wire transfer, Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

There are additional fees that we have little control over. They include all shipping costs from the foreign shipper to us, broker’s fees, storage fees, insurance, duty, etc. Some of these costs need to be paid by the shipper at the time of shipment. Please do not send them freight collect. When your shipment arrives in U.S. Customs, we must pay duty, customs broker fees and shipping to us. We will bill those actual costs to you (or charge a credit card, if you desire) along with the additional freight to get them from us to your U.S. FFL of choice. The broker’s fees are usually between $300-400. The duty is approximately 3% of the value of the shipment. The firearms will be shipped after these fees have been paid. You will be liable for these fees, even if there is an error made by our agents or customs personnel.
Firearm Laser Engraving

U.S. law dictates that we place our "Import Mark" on all modern firearms (those manufactured after 1898) we import. The required information is our name, city and state, country of manufacture, caliber, model and serial number if not already on the firearm. This will be done as discreetly and professionally as possible. See examples below.
Please Note:

Once we have an approved import permit, Simpson Ltd or our bonded Customs Broker must present the original Import Permit and all other paperwork to US Customs to clear the shipment. The owner or shipper cannot clear or hand carry the items through U.S. Customs. This is a Federal liability for us, and we will be forced to report infractions.

Thank you for letting us serve as your U.S. firearms importer. We will try our best to make this sometimes difficult process as smooth as possible.

For more information, you can send an e-mail to Rich or Nica at [email protected].
Rembrandt is offline  
Old September 9, 2018, 06:42 AM   #3
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Join Date: August 14, 2001
Posts: 1,135

I imported over 50 firearms from Germany, handling the export from Germany myself and the import here. Your FFL01 can import the rifles for"the occasional personal import" for you unless they are milsurps, those can only be imported by FFL08.
He needs to file ATF Form 6 , the import permit. With this form you can get the export permit in Germany. Getting the export permits in Germany is much, much harder than getting the import permit here. You will most likely need a German exporter to handle the paperwork and a freight forwarder to handle the export shipment. The exporter needs a German tax number, an EORI number and has to have access to the BAFA online site and a freight forwarder needs to declare the export using a specail German customs software system.

The shipment has to go by airfreight and you need a customsbroker to clear the shipment in the first US port of arrival with a filled out ATF Form 6A. From there it needs to be forwarded to your FFL01 and you fill out 4473.

It would be good for customs purposes to have a statement that the guns are gifts from your grandfather.

You will need a customs broker located at the airport of arrival, clearance has to be done using codes that I could never find. For my last import of about 30 firearms I paid the broker about $250. That is still cheaper than you going to the airport of first arrival and do it yourself. Most airlines that ship firearms, like Lufthansa, only ship using direct flights to reduce the theft risk.

Personal imports done by an FFL01 are exempt from the import marking requirements.

Last edited by PzGren; September 9, 2018 at 06:54 AM.
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Old September 9, 2018, 11:10 AM   #4
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Join Date: November 28, 2010
Location: Washington state
Posts: 322
Here is a list of FFLs and foreign agents that do international transfers. I am not familiar with the process, and I do not know how complete this list is.

Last edited by cjwils; September 9, 2018 at 11:22 AM.
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atf , import , laws , rifles

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