Weapons and ammunition (consent and export licences)

Tax and Customs Administration/Customs Groningen/Central Office for Import and Export (CDIU) has been designated by the Minister for Security and Justice to issue:

  • consent for the entry into, the exit of, or the transit through the Netherlands for category II and III weapons, ammunition and parts of weapons and ammunition, which are not destined for public service or the armed forces
  • export licences for the export out of the European Union (EU) for the firearms and ammunition cited in Appendix I of EU Regulation 258/2012, on grounds of EU Regulation 258/2012, if this export takes place from the Netherlands


The Central Office for Import and Export (CDIU) assesses an application for consent and/or an export licence application on both ‘formal’ as well as ‘substantive’ aspects.

Weapons and Ammunition Act (Wet wapens en munitie or WWM)

The Weapons and Ammunition Act has the following aims:

  • combating the illegal possession of weapons and ammunition in the Netherlands by prohibiting in principle a large number of dealings involving weapons and ammunition
  • making the possession of weapons and ammunition that are permitted as checkable as possible by setting the condition of having a licence, in the form of a consent, for certain dealings and by granting exemptions

The Weapons and Ammunition Act prohibits a large number of dealings involving weapons and ammunition.

This includes the following dealings involving weapons and ammunition:

  • manufacture
  • trade
  • enter into the territory of the Netherlands
  • leave the territory of the Netherlands with the destination being another EU Member State or a country outside the EU
  • transit (entry followed by exit)
  • possess and carry

The Weapons and Ammunition Act sets out rules for the legal possession of weapons and ammunition (the rules concerning weapons also apply to parts and accessories that are specifically destined for those weapons and that are of an essential nature).

These rules state that dealings such as entry into, exit from or transit through the Netherlands, as well as possession, are sometimes permitted on the condition that you are eligible for an exemption or if you possess a licence.

Such a licence can be issued under various different titles. The Weapons and Ammunition Act cites exemption, recognised status, authorisation and consent.

Consent

The Central Office for Import and Export (CDIU) may grant consent for entry into, exit from or transit through the Netherlands of weapons and ammunition in the categories II and III. This also applies to intra-Community movement between the EU Member States.
You may apply for the following consents:

  • consent for entry
  • consent for exit
  • consent for entry followed by exit (transit)
  • consent for exit followed by entry (temporary export)

Exemptions

On application, the Minister of Security and Justice may grant an exemption from the prohibitive provisions contained in the Weapons and Ammunition Act (Section 4.1 of the Weapons and Ammunition Act).

Authorisation or recognised status

An authorisation to possess weapons and ammunition or recognised status for the commercial manufacture, hire, trade, etc of weapons and ammunition must be applied for from the Chief Constable of the police in the place of residence or place of business of the applicant.

Regulation 258/2012 of the European Union

The EU Regulation 258/2012 came into effect in connection with the implementation of Article 10 of the United Nations Protocol against the illegal manufacture of and trade in firearms, their parts, components and ammunition, and to supplement the United Nations Convention on combating cross-border organised crime (UN Firearms Protocol). This convention includes measures relating to:

  • the obligation for a licence for export out of the EU
  • the transit through countries outside the EU
  • the import into countries outside the EU

The EU Regulation 258/2012 establishes the obligation for a licence for the export of firearms, parts, essential components and ammunition cited in Appendix 1 of the regulation and for the measures coupled to this, which relate to the export of firearms for civilian use to countries outside the EU.

Besides the obligation for consent on grounds of the Weapons and Ammunition Act, the obligation for a licence applies in a number of cases on grounds of the EU Regulation 258/2012 relating to the export of weapons and ammunition when being exported from the EU to a country outside the EU. In such cases you are required to apply for an export licence.

There are three types of licences. The specific characteristics of the licences cited below can be found in EU Regulation 258/2012.

  • single licence
  • multiple licences
  • general licence

No export licence is required under certain conditions in relation to the export and re-export of small numbers of firearms for hunters and sport shooters. Simplified procedures are possible for exhibitions or repairs. The regulation does not apply to:

  • transactions between EU Member States
  • firearms, their parts, essential components and ammunition that are designed especially for military use and never for fully automatic firearms
  • firearms, their parts, essential components and ammunition that are destined for the army, the police or government bodies of the Member States
  • collectors and institutions that are concerned with the cultural and historical aspects of firearms, their parts, essential components and ammunition
  • firearms that have been rendered unusable  
  • antique firearms or replicas of these, as defined in accordance with national legislation, on the understanding that firearms manufactured after 1899 do not fall under the category of antique firearms

The regulation applies to all EU (European Union) countries, but a few sections (sanctions, authorised bodies, elaboration of simplified regulations) must be implemented nationally. In the Netherlands the Weapons and Ammunition Act and the Weapons and Ammunition Regulation will be amended. The Minister of Security and Justice has designated the Central Office for Import and Export (CDIU) as authorised body for the issue of export licences.

Military goods on grounds of the Strategic Goods Decree

Are goods designated as military goods? Then you must also apply for an export licence for military goods besides a consent or export licence. The obligation for a licence for military goods applies both to the transfer to an EU (European Union) Member State as well as to the export to outside the European Union. For further details relating to this, visit the section  on our website. You will find explanatory notes attached to the application forms for a consent or an export licence.

In case of transfer of weapons and ammunition through the Netherlands for hunters and sport shooters you can use the consent for entry, exit and as individual transit licence for military goods. In that case a separate licence for military goods is not required.

Submitting applications

You may apply for a consent or export licence by using one of the following forms:

Information is given in the form as to how you can make your application and how to submit your application.

Further information

For further information you may contact:
Tax and Customs Administration/Customs Groningen/Central Office for Import and Export (CDIU)
PO Box 3070
6401 DN Heerlen
Telephone number + 31 88 151 21 22
Fax number: + 31 88 151 31 82

Please note!

Toy weapons and fake weapons that look like real weapons are prohibited. These products fall under the Weapons and Ammunition Act.

Travellers

For travellers (private or otherwise): Go to the sections on this website listed under Individuals, Abroad and Customs, Luggage, from a non-EU country, Special products and pets, part Weapons and ammunition, toy guns and fake weapons.

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