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Apply or renew a firearms licence

Anyone who owns or uses a firearm in the UK requires an appropriate licence or certificate from the police. Firearms and shotgun certificates are valid for five years, after which they will have to be renewed.


Due to the impact of COVID-19, there are currently extensive delays in the processing of applications for firearms and shotgun licences. Home visits and inspections will need be carried out as part of application for a licence and will be in line with the government’s latest COVID-19 guidance.

Licence renewal applications are currently being processed on time.

You can find advice for shooters during COVID-19 on the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) website.

Applying or renewing a licence

If you live in the Avon and Somerset area, you can apply for the grant or renewal of a firearms and/or shotgun certificate online.

What you need before making an application

Before making an online application for the grant or renewal of a firearm or shotgun certificate, you must:

What you need to include with your application


Your application must be supported by an endorsement from two people who have agreed to be a referee. The referees must:

  • be resident in Great Britain
  • have known you for at least two years
  • be of good character
  • not be a family relation
  • not be a partner or partner’s family member

Photographic evidence

Your application must be supported by a passport photograph showing your current true likeness and signed by yourself.

Good reason

You must provide a good reason for possessing a section 1 firearms. For example:

  • Target shooting – you will need to provide details of the club of which you are a member
  • Quarry shooting – you will need to provide details of your permission to shoot over at least one piece of land
About the application process


All firearm and shotgun licence applications require a security inspection and visit to your home before we can issue your licence.

If your application is complete, payment will be processed immediately.

All incomplete applications will be returned for your attention.

Renewing your certificate

Your application for renewal must be submitted at least 8 weeks before your certificate expires. Failure to do this may result in delays.

Your new certificate will be sent to you five working days before the expiry date of your current certificate.

We deal with a high number of renewals every month and are therefore unable to acknowledge individual applications.

Inspection visit

Depending on the current renewal procedures, you may not receive an inspection visit.

Other ways to apply

Alternatively, you can download the PDF documents and return them with your payment and supporting information to Firearms Licensing.

If you are not completing the online form, you will need to provide a good reason for possessing a section 1 firearm on the request for additional information form.

For more information on applying or renewing a firearms certificate, contact Firearms Licensing.

If you want to apply for an explosives certificate, see licensing of explosives


View firearms certificate and permit fees.

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