Recent changes in BATF regulations require nonimmigrant aliens to have an approved import license to bring firearms or ammunition into the United States. Although the text of the regulations states that persons engaged in hunting and competition shooting have an exemption from the licensing requirement, recent information from the BATF indicates that they are using their regulatory authority to override this exemption and require an approved import permit of all visitors.
BATF seems to view the import form as a way of verifying that visitors to the country really do fall within the exemptions outlined in the law. Without this form, most foreign nationals may not possess, nor receive a firearm while in the United States for any reason (this and more information appears in the Form 6 FAQ and Form 6 NIA FAQ).We strongly suggest reading the entire FAQs, as some of the regulatory hoops contained therein are complex, pertaining to seemingly unrelated issues like hunting licenses and W.W.II era United States military support for other countries - i.e."lend-lease"). Thankfully, BATF's latest form, the Form 6 NIA (for Non Immigrant Alien) is much simpler than the military-equipment-oriented Form 6 that competitors were required to use in 2002. This changes periodically, so be sure to check the ATF site directly.For example, we point out these recent corrections.
In early 2002, competitors were required to get new Form 6's (the long form) each time they came into the United States. Not long thereafter, visitors were allowed to roll all their Form 6's into one (still on the long form). Today we're on to the short form (Form 6 NIA), but shooters must still submit invitations from every event where they intend to compete.
One way of sidestepping most of the match-related paperwork is to purchase a state-issued hunting license. Using the hunting exemption, a person can enter the United States with a firearm at their discretion, and stay for as long as they like. Details from the ATF website (as seen on 6/03/03) appear below:
Q. I am a nonimmigrant alien and come to the United States for multiple competitive target shooting events each year. Do I need to file a new Form 6 application for each event?
A. No. When you apply for your import permit, you should attach your invitations/registrations to all the events you will be attending during the next 12 months. These will be attached to your approved permit. The import permit you receive will authorize you to bring in the firearms and ammunition listed on the permit repeatedly for 12 months after the date the permit is approved, as long as the invitations/registrations attached to the permit are for future events. If you do not expect to have invitations/registrations for future competitions until shortly before the competitions, you may want to rely on the hunting license exception to the nonimmigrant alien prohibition. If you attach a hunting license to your application, you will be able to bring in the firearms and ammunition listed on the permit repeatedly for 12 months after the date the permit is approved, as long as you have a valid State hunting license to present to the Customs Inspector at the time of entry. You may rely on this exception even though you are coming to the United States for competitive shooting events, and not to hunt.
When you send in your Form 6 paperwork, you will need to attach invitations to compete, and may supply 'supporting documentation' such as a copy of your USPSA membership card. USPSA offers an eligibility letter to members in good standing applying for their Form 6 NIA. This is 'supporting documentation' only - not an invitation. To attend any particular event, you need an invitation FROM THAT EVENT. If you're coming to the U.S. for one of our national events, we'd be happy to send you an invitation. If you're coming to an Area match, or any other function not run directly by USPSA, you need to get an invitation from the local club president or match director.
Non-USPSA members will need to submit their request through their local regional director who must submit and endorse the request. Letters to such individuals will be forwarded to them via the submitting regional director.
We have prepared a template to assist clubs who wish to provide confirmation of registration letters to visitors to their match. (Remember, with the exception of the Nationals, USPSA Headquarters cannot provide foreign visitors with written confirmation they are registered for a particular match).
Each state in the USA has different laws regarding posession, transport and use of firearms and ammunition. The posession of an approved ATF Form 6 indicated that the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has granted you permission to import your firearm(s) under federal law. This does not exempt you from state level laws which may apply in those states which you will be visiting while in the US.
One excellent web site which provides information on state laws, including links to offical sources such as the web sites for variuos state attorney general's offices and state police agencies is www.packing.org. Please note, however, that this web site is not in any manner affiliated with USPSA and USPSA is not responsible for any content on that site.
If you plan on attending a match within the US, please check this and the ATF Form 6 update page frequently in the weeks prior to your arrival. Also contact ATF imports branch directly at (202) 927-8320 to make certain you are in compliance, and there have been no changes to the process. We will try to update this page as we discover additional information, but we cannot predict what changes ATF will make, much less when.