It’s got better since 1 February 2020 when Brexit threw it into doubt. Research by the SCI’s UK chapter reveals that most European countries only require you to have a visitor’s hunting licence for the country where you plan to hunt, such as a German Jagdschein, plus a valid UK gun licence. The UK government rules that a UK gun licence can also work as an export and import permit.
The Austrian embassy puts it most clearly: “For category C and D firearms (which includes most hunting weapons), there are no import or transit restrictions from non-EU countries,” it says.
France was first to break ranks and make it easy to cross through its channel ports with guns. As laid out on this webpage, it allows you to pass through French borders with two long guns (sporting rifles and shotguns) and 100 rounds of ammunition as long as you have a temporary hunting licence for your destination country and your UK gun licence.
Belgium followed suit. Flemish government legal adviser Milan Godin confirms that, “For the transit through Flanders, Belgium of a civil firearm from an non-EU country to an EU member state, no document or separate authorisation is required from our unit under the condition that there is a valid (UK) export authorisation and a valid (German) import authorisation, where required under their respective national legislations.”
Even further into Europe, countries make it easy. Austria’s official advice forbids ‘category A firearms’ such as machine guns and pump-action guns and demands a certificate issued by the Austrian Embassy for category B firearms such as pistols, revolvers and semi-automatic guns. It says: “You can bring weapons of the category C (rifled guns, smooth bore guns) with you in case you are not resident and in case it was not forbidden for you to hold such a gun by court in the past.”
There are exceptions, such as the Netherlands’ customs officials, who enforce tougher rules. Dutch customs officer Korné Dekker says you need to fill out this form and include a copy of:
- your passport / ID
- a firearms license to show that you may carry the weapon(s) in your country
- a travel schedule with dates
- the invitation of hunting or sport shooting from the land or company of destination
You can send all these files by e-mail as well to the email address: CDIU@douane.nl