Check what you need to do if you are moving to New Zealand for more than 1 year and you want to bring, possess or use firearms.

When you need a New Zealand firearms licence

You must apply for a New Zealand firearms licence if: 

  • you are moving to New Zealand, and 
  • you will live here for more than 12 months, and 
  • you want to possess or use firearms and ammunition without supervision. 

Before you have a New Zealand firearms licence

Until you have your own New Zealand firearms licence, you: 

  • can only use firearms under the immediate supervision of someone with a New Zealand firearms licence 
  • cannot have firearms in your possession while you are in New Zealand (for example, you cannot store firearms at home). 

Immediate supervision means the licence holder: 

  • is physically present and actively supervising the shooter  
  • can take immediate control of the firearm being used by the shooter   
  • is not using another firearm while providing supervision. 

When to apply

We recommend you wait until you are in New Zealand to apply for a firearms licence. 

You must be in New Zealand to: 

  • complete the firearms safety course 
  • be interviewed  
  • install secure storage.  

You will also need to provide: 

  • details of referees in New Zealand who know you well 
  • the name of your New Zealand health practitioner. 

When you do not need a New Zealand firearms licence

You do not need a New Zealand firearms licence to possess the following items, but you do need a permit to import them to New Zealand:

  • restricted airguns – however, people aged 16 or 17 must have a firearms licence, and people under 16 may not import an airgun
  • antique firearms
  • blank-firing firearms.

For definitions of these items, visit:

Arms Act 1983: Interpretation – Legislation website

You can apply for a permit to import before you move to New Zealand.

Permit to import – if you are bringing arms items and ammunition to New Zealand

If you are bringing arms items and ammunition into New Zealand, you must have a permit to import.

Before you apply for a permit

If you are importing any items that require you to have a firearms licence, we recommend you leave them in your home country until you get to New Zealand and have:

  • a New Zealand firearms licence
  • any necessary licence endorsements
  • a permit to import.

Visitor’s firearms licenses

You may not apply for a visitor’s firearms licence to use in the time between your arrival in New Zealand and when you have a New Zealand firearms licence. 

You may need to provide a criminal history check

You need a criminal history check from any country you have been in for over 6 months in total (not necessarily consecutively) in the last 10 years.

We need this information so we can assess if you are a fit and proper person to have a firearms licence.

If you immigrated to New Zealand less than 10 years ago

You can use the same document you used in your immigration application – but only if you have not been back to the country it was issued from. If you have, you need to re-apply for the document.

What you need to provide

The name of the document you need to provide depends on the country it comes from.

Tip: It can take a long time to get the document. Give yourself enough time to apply for the criminal history check before you apply for a New Zealand firearms licence.


You need to apply for a National Police Check. 

National Police Checks – Australian Federal Police website


You need to apply for a Name-based Criminal Record Check.

Criminal record checks – Royal Canadian Mounted Police website

United Kingdom

You need to apply for a Police Certificate.

Criminal Records Office

United States

You need to apply for a Local Police Check.

However, you can only apply for this in person, at a local police station in the United States.

Criminal Record Checks – Travel.State.Gov website

If you are already in New Zealand, you can contact the U.S. Embassy & Consulate for advice.

U.S. Embassy & Consulate

Other countries

If you are from any other country, check with the embassy.

Embassies – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website

Tip: Use the ‘Foreign representatives to New Zealand’ tab.

How we assess if you are a ‘fit and proper person’ 

A fit and proper person: 

  • is a person of good conduct and character 
  • possesses and uses firearms responsibly 
  • stores firearms and ammunition securely 
  • abides by the laws of New Zealand. 

When Te Tari Pūreke assesses if you are a fit and proper person, we consider: 

  • your overall character and conduct 
  • information provided by you and your referees 
  • information we hold or receive from any source. 

The Arms Act 1983 gives some circumstances in which Te Tari Pūreke may find you are not a fit and proper person to have and use firearms. If any of these circumstances apply to you, we do not automatically refuse your application.  

We will probably have more questions if: 

  • you have been charged with or convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment 
  • you have been charged with or convicted of an offence under the Arms Act 1983, against section 231A of the Crimes Act 1961, or against the Game Animal Council Act 2013, the Wildlife Act 1953, or the Wild Animal Control Act 1977 
  • you have had a temporary protection order made against you under section 79 of the Family Violence Act 2018, or section 14 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 
  • there are grounds for a protection order under the Family Violence Act 2018 
  • you have had a restraining order made against you under the Harassment Act 1997 
  • you have not complied with the requirements of the Arms Act, regulations made under the Arms Act, or the conditions of a permit, licence, or endorsement issued to you under the Arms Act 
  • you have been a member or affiliated with a gang or organised criminal group 
  • you have exhibited, encouraged, or promoted violence, hatred, or extremism 
  • you have been assessed as a risk to national security 
  • you have a mental or physical illness or injury that affects your ability to safely possess firearms 
  • you have abused alcohol or been dependent on alcohol 
  • you have used drugs that affect your judgement or behaviour. 

If Te Tari Pūreke has a reason to find you are not a fit and proper person, we will tell you the reason and give you an opportunity to refute or comment on it. (Some exemptions apply.) 


Need help?
phone Phone 0800 844 431 (04 499 2870)
8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday