Exporting firearms from the USA - especially for the first time - can be a nerve-wracking experience.
At EasyExport, we’re here to help. Below, we’re sharing helpful answers to the 13 most frequently asked questions US merchants ask us when they first consider whether to export firearms from the USA to grow their revenue:
1. Is exporting firearms from the USA worth it?
That really depends on your own business goals. Yes, there are additional aspects to consider when shipping firearms internationally, and there can be a lot more paperwork and bigger legal issues to consider than you have previously experienced domestically.
However, if your goal is to expand your business, gain new customers, and boost your revenue, breaking into international markets can help due to the unsatisfied demand for firearms from the United States and the new ways that are available to ship to international customers.
2. What do I need to know about exporting firearms from the USA?
How much you need to know about exporting firearms from the USA depends on how much of the firearms export process you want to manage independently.
If you plan to carry out all export operations in-house, you’ll need to ensure that either you or someone on your team has a full understanding of US export regulations, and import regulations in various countries. Using EasyExport, you don’t need to know anything at all.
3. What products can I export?
There are a number of different products that can be exported, and each country will have its own set of criteria for whether an import permit is required.
As a general rule, any item that is not export-controlled (EAR99), or that is controlled under the Export Administration Regulations, can be exported to countries that permit the item to be imported. This includes sporting and hunting firearms, parts, rifle scopes, accessories, and more. Some exports require an export license, but they can be exported.
4. Who can I export to?
Generally speaking, exporting firearms and related products from the USA is permitted. However, there are regulations relating to which type of product can be exported to which type of buyer.
In many countries, for example, automatic and semi-automatic rifles and large capacity magazines can be imported only by governmental agencies and others with special permission.
5. Which countries can I export to?
Most countries accept imports of firearms from the US. However, each country has its own rules and regulations, with some being more strict than others and, therefore, more difficult for merchants to ship to.
At EasyExport, we help US merchants ship to 82 countries around the world. Our software identifies import permit requirements, reducing the risk of exporting firearms from the USA for our customers.
6. Do I need an export license?
Some products need prior authorization from the US Government before a merchant can ship them abroad. With products intended for the civilian market, it all comes down to the export classification (ECCN) of the product, the country it is being shipped to, the end user and the end use. The value being shipped can matter, too.
Some types of goods, such as rifles and handguns, always require a Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) export license. The easiest way to know if a license is required is to use EasyExport which scans orders automatically.
7. How do I get an export license?
BIS licenses are all obtained through the online SNAP-R system. This is a digital application portal that allows US merchants to apply for authorization to ship firearms and related products to international customers. It can take up to 60 days for a license to be approved.
Merchants will need to apply for a separate license for each individual customer. Then, licenses must be correctly decremented for each shipment. Knowing when a license is about to expire so you obtain a replacement license in advance, can spare your customer from waiting for the replacement. That’s why merchants use us; we manage the whole license process for them.
8. How do I know that I’m selling to lawful customers?
As an exporter, it is your responsibility to make sure that you’re selling to lawful buyers. It is advisable to ask to conduct due diligence, including screening buyers against restricted lists to ensure they are parties to whom you can safely ship.
EasyExport vets purchasers on behalf of merchants, helping speed up the process and reduce error.
9. How much does exporting firearms from the USA cost?
Obtaining an export license is now free. However, there are additional costs associated with exporting firearms from the USA, including shipping costs, and the cost of hiring more staff to handle the increased workload.
It can often be more cost effective to use software like EasyExport rather than paying out full time salaries. Lower exporting costs means lower costs you have to pass along to customers or bear yourself.
10. How can I take payment for international orders?
As it’s customary for merchants to take the full amount at the time of order, it is important to implement the right payment processing method.
The payment processor you use for domestic sales may not be the best option for processing international sales. Get in touch with the EasyExport team to learn more about how to make the right choice.
11. Do international couriers accept firearms and related products?
Each of the direct carriers - USPS, UPS and others - has its own rules as to where it will carry firearms, parts and accessories. There are options, but they vary by carrier and the type of product being shipped.
If you are unable to find a direct carrier for a shipment, a commercial freight forwarder generally can be used instead. Larger shipments, in particular, are best shipped via freight forwarders. Using freight forwarders is more expensive, but sometimes will be the best, or even the only, option.
12. Am I responsible for duties and customs fees?
No! As a merchant exporting firearms from the USA, you are not responsible or liable for any import fees that the receiving country imposes. Import charges are imposed by the destination country, in the destination country, so they’re handled by the purchaser.
You can, however, help to ensure that everything goes smoothly at customs clearance by correctly completing and including all the export documents needed.
13. How can I make exporting firearms from the USA easier?
Exporting firearms from the USA isn’t an art; it’s a science. There is a standard set of procedures that must be adhered to, and ensuring that procedures are followed can make the process is as easy and as smooth as possible.
Much of the process can be automated using tools like EasyExport. We’ve designed our software to do all of the hard work for you, leaving you with more time to focus on your core business.