Tips When Traveling Abroad With Firearms
After returning from a trip to New Zealand, I’ve learned quite a few things about traveling overseas with firearms.
Some things have been learned the hard way, but in the end I’ve come up with 4 ways to help you prepare for your trip and make traveling with your firearms a stress free process. Here is a list of itmes I found out through a lot of research before I took my trip. Hopefully, they’ll save you some time if you vetnure overseas for a hunt.
- Fill out a 4457. This is a form from US Customs that you can print online and then bring into any customs office. Most major airports have a customs office that can help you out with this. You will need your flights, dates, and serial number of your firearms. This form was explained to me as a passport for your gear. I usually put my scope serial number on this form as well. This ensures when you take it out of the country they won’t try to tax you on it when you return or say you bought it overseas. It’s a simple form that I keep right alongside my passport through the entire trip. Here is a link for you to download it online and have it ready when you arrive at a customs office. I would not recommend doing it the same you day you travel. It can be done this way, but allow yourself plenty of time as there are not always agents available right away and can take up to a half hour or more.
- Use 2 Locks. TSA has started to demand that at least two locks be on every gun case. In the past they were fine with just one lock but now they’ve become quite strict on having two locks. I prefer using combination locks (so I don’t accidentally loose the keys on long trips) and getting TSA approved locks. That way if they have an issue with your case they can open it up without paging you over the entire airport.
- Keep Ammo & Boost Easily Accessible. When you’re traveling within the country it’s ok to put your ammo in your gun case as long as it’s in the original boxes and doesn’t exceed what they allow. However, other countries sometimes can be very strict with ammo and generally want it in a separate bag. Upon arrival into Africa and New Zealand they wanted to see my ammo so it’s helpful to keep it in an easily accessible area. I also try to keep my boots easily accessible, as many customs agents will make you get them scrubbed before and after being in the country. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but I’ve been in a few airports ripping through luggage and looking for boots and ammo and it’s not fun. Also remember that when the trip is finished to remove any cartridges from your backpack, sling, etc. as they all need to go back in the original boxes.
- Fill Out Police Forms Ahead of Time. I try to talk with the outfitter ahead of time to find out what forms need to be filled out or submitted prior to my arrival. Many times you need to stop at the local police station in the airport so having your paperwork already filled out makes a huge difference and can really speed up the process.