You need a visitor’s firearms licence to use a firearm unsupervised during your visit to New Zealand.

When you need a visitor’s firearms licence

You need a visitor’s firearms licence if you want to hunt or enter competitions in New Zealand without the supervision of a New Zealand firearms licence holder.

When to apply

You should submit your application at least 4 months before you arrive in New Zealand.

Who is eligible to apply

To apply for a visitor’s firearms licence, you must: 

  • be aged 16 or over 
  • have a firearms licence or an equivalent from your home country 
  • be from a country that has similar firearms safety and licensing practices to New Zealand 
  • be a fit and proper person to possess and use firearms while in New Zealand 
  • usually live outside New Zealand 
  • plan to stay in New Zealand for less than 1 year. 

For your application to be successful, Te Tari Pūreke must find that: 

  • you are a fit and proper person to have and use firearms 
  • your firearms and ammunition are stored securely during your visit 
  • no one who has had a firearms licence revoked, been disqualified from having a firearms licence, or been found not fit and proper to have and use firearms has access to your firearms and ammunition. 

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 use and possess 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 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
  • had a protection order made against you under section 79 of the Family Violence Act 2018, or section 14 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995
  • given grounds for a protection order under the Family Violence Act 2018
  • had a restraining order made against you under the Harassment Act 1997
  • 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
  • been a member or affiliated with a gang or organised criminal group
  • exhibited, encouraged, or promoted violence, hatred, or extremism
  • been assessed as a risk to national security
  • a mental or physical illness or injury that affects your ability to safely possess firearms
  • abused alcohol or been dependent on alcohol
  • used drugs that affect your judgement or behaviour.

If Te Tari Pūreke deems you not fit and proper, we will advise you of our reasons and give you the opportunity to refute or comment on it.

Who cannot apply

You cannot get a visitor’s firearms licence if you:

  • plan to stay in New Zealand for more than 1 year 
  • plan to emigrate to New Zealand. 

In these circumstances, you must apply for a New Zealand firearms licence. 

Before you apply for a firearms licence

How much it costs

A visitor’s firearms licence is NZ$25.

Information you need to provide in your application

To complete the form, you must provide: 

  • a recent, passport-style high-quality digital photograph
  • a scan or photo of your passport ID page
  • return flight information
  • proof of your good character
  • a scan of your firearms licence or similar certification from your home country
  • the purpose of your visit
  • the firearms activities you will participate in
  • details of security arrangements for the safe storage of all firearms and ammunition you will use (your own or borrowed)
  • details of criminal convictions, including driving-related offences
  • details of pending criminal charges
  • details of unsatisfied judgements in court
  • details of any adverse findings against you by a court in civil proceedings
  • details of a current New Zealand firearms licence holder with whom you will store firearms and ammunition:
    • their firearms licence number
    • name, address, and email address.

If you are bringing firearms to New Zealand, you must provide information about them.

Bringing arms items when you visit NZ

Photograph specifications

You must supply a recent, good quality digital photograph that is a good likeness of yourself. A scanned copy of a photograph will not be accepted.

The photograph must meet the minimum requirements as set out in Regulation 30 of the Arms Regulations 1992. Passport photos from commercial outlets will typically meet these requirements. 

This means the photograph must: 

  • have been taken within the last 12 months 
  • be a full front view of your face – chin to forehead and both sides of your face
  • show head and shoulders, with the head filling most of the photograph
  • be of you without a hat or head covering (except where your religion requires you to wear a hat or head covering)
  • have a plain, light-coloured background
  • be in colour and in focus
  • be in portrait format (with a 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • be in JPG or JPEG format
  • be between 25KB and 10MB
  • be between 900 and 4500 pixels wide and 1200 and 6000 pixels high.

We will not accept photographs that do not meet these standards

Proof of your good character

Proof of your good character is a police certificate or criminal history check from your home country. 

Use the tool on the Immigration New Zealand website to find out how to get the right documentation from your home country. 

How to get a police certificate – Immigration New Zealand website

Firearms licence or similar certification from your home country

Some countries and jurisdictions, like some states of the United States, do not issue firearms licences. 

If you are from a country or state that does not issue firearms licences, you must have a document that shows you: 

  • can legally own a firearm in your home country 
  • are trained in the safe use of firearms. 

Example documents: 

  • hunting permit 
  • concealed carry permit 
  • hunter education certificate. 

Theory test

You must complete an online, multi-choice theory test as part of your application. 

The test is based on the New Zealand Police Firearms Safety Code. You can download the code for free. 

Firearms Safety Code

Duration of licence

A visitor’s firearms licence lasts until the end date specified on the licence. 

The end date of your licence is your planned departure date from New Zealand.

If you do not get a visitor’s licence

If you do not get a visitor’s firearms licence, you can only use a firearm under the immediate supervision of a current New Zealand firearms licence holder. 

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.
Last updated
22 December 2023


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