Welcome to the Online Firearms application process FAQs. In this section you will find some useful information about the changes being made to the Firearms application process.
To view an answer, click on the question.
Online Firearms Application Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you going on-line with your Firearm application process?
Due to resource challenges Firearms & Explosives Branch have to re-design processes so as to deliver a more effective service to the public.
What are the benefits to going online?
It provides the opportunity to capture information right first time thus reducing the requirement to return applications, which will improve turnaround times.
Less need for you to source specific data such as Address or Dealer names as the new system will aid this providing lookups and lists to select from.
Referees and club officials for target firearms can submit their declarations online saving time and effort completing the paper based form.
No additional forms/letters of permission to shoot from landowners will be required. You will simply provide the landowner information online and verify that they have given you permission to shoot.
When submitting a variation the need to provide all Firearm information has been removed. You need to submit information only relating to the Firearm you wish to vary.
The new on-line process will reduce the requirement for manual entry of data required by FEB processors. This will make the approval process more efficient.
Payment will have been captured upon application submission, ensuring you know when money (and the correct amount) has been taken from your account. Should you require a refund it will be processed and paid directly to the card you used to make payment.
No additional costs for postage, no unnecessary delays for incorrect postage payment or having photographs taken professionally.
What assistance will you provide to helping me complete my on-line application?
Please review the video on the PSNI face book and website (psni.police.uk). In addition you can review the Guidelines on PSNI Web Site (from June 2016). There will also be prompts/guidance at various stages as you go through the application. PSNI will also have a helpline once the system goes live.
Prior to ‘go-live’ PSNI are working with other public sector organisations such as Libraries NI who offer free IT training to all members of the public. In addition there are computer facilities across the 26 Libraries which are accessible to the public.
PSNI are aiming to conduct a number of roadshows in August across Northern Ireland. We will have the capability to enable a member of the public to familiarise themselves with the new application prior to ‘go-live’. Updates will be placed on our website in the future. https://www.psni.police.uk/advice_information/firearms/online-application-information/
Where do I go to fill in my on-line application?
You can access the on-line Firearms application form on the PSNI Website. You can also access this through the NI Direct website. (A link will be provided prior to go-live).
Dealers are not directly involved in either the online banded transaction or the new online firearm application unless the member of the public seeks their assistance or utilises a dealers computer to complete a transaction.
How do I pay for my Firearms application?
Payment will be taken at the end of the online process. Most major VISA /DEBIT cards are accepted (MasterCard, VISA, Delta, Electron, Maestro, Switch, Amex, Solo). Cheques will no longer be accepted once the process goes on-line. Refunds will be available where relevant.
When will the process be available Online?
The date for roll out of the new system has yet to be confirmed. The final build is with NI Direct. The next stage once built, is to user test the system before go-live. Confirmation of go-live date will be issued once the system is built.
What Applications are going online?
The ability to apply for an Initial Grant, Re-Grant, Re-Grant & Variation and Variation only. FEB has not asked for any additional information as a result of processing the information online. On occasions (Variations) will not need to submit the same level of information as that of the paper based form. This will save time and make the process more efficient and user friendly.
What are the main changes with the on-line process?
Submitting the online application will be quicker and more user friendly, for all involved. It is imperative that all the information you require is available prior to starting the process so as to complete the application, otherwise you may need to re-submit.
- Where a referee is required they will be notified to declare on your behalf once you select the Finish / Pay button.
- It is up to the applicant to choose their referees. They must know the applicant at least 2 years.
- Your referees will each receive an email with a link to your online application. This email will have the applicants Application ID.
- Once the referees click the link within the email they will be prompted to enter the Application ID (available from within the email) and their own mobile phone number.
- Once they select the Verify button the referees will receive a unique code to the mobile number they provided.
- The referees will be asked to enter the code on the online form.
- Once it has been submitted the referees will have access to the applicants Firearm Application form, where they have the ability to either decline as a referee or declare as a referee.
- Should any of the two referees decline, the applicant will receive an email to say the referee has declined and they will automatically receive a refund for the application.
- Where the referees have made their declarations the applicant will receive an email to say they have declared. Once both referees have declared the application will be submitted to FEB for processing.
- It must be noted that the referees have 7 days to respond. Should they fail to respond within the 7 day period the application will not be submitted to FEB for processing and the applicant will receive a refund. Should this happen the applicant will need to complete the online application process again and identify new referee(s).
Please do not complete your application if your referees and/or club official are not available to confirm your details within the 7 day time frame. PSNI (FEB) will not receive your online application form for processing in this instance.
- In relation to farmers, they no longer need to submit land permission.
Why can’t I save my application and come back to it later.
The safety of your personal details are important to PSNI therefore minimising the need to store personal information unnecessarily is important.
Data will reside for no longer than seven days at any one time and only where the interaction of a Referee, Parent or Target club declaration is required.
All other online submissions will at various stages throughout the day of submission transfer to PSNI secure infrastructure, therefore being removed from the online platform. To ensure the data residing for a maximum of seven days is secure it will sit encrypted and only transport across Government specific networks.
Can I print/save my on-line application once I have completed.
Once you have submitted your online application and made payment, you will receive an email with a link to view your online application. Should you wish to print this you can do so.
How long will it take FEB to process my application?
Firstly it is important to note that FEB will only receive an Initial Grant, Re-Grant and Re-Grant & Variation upon the referee making their declaration. They have a period of seven days in which to do so. For a Variation FEB will receive the application form on the day it was submitted and processing will commence upon receipt of application. The time it takes to process will depend on the application and the need to involve any third party organisations.
Each application is unique to the applicant. Where an application is submitted e.g. initial grant or in some cases a variation you should allow time for an FEO visit and all the necessary checks to happen. In addition if you have any medical conditions you should allow time for FEB to communicate with your GP. It is important to note that not declaring medical information in an attempt to speed the application is a criminal offence.
If you are submitting a Variation whereby you intend to acquire or intend to give up your firearm to another firearm certificate holder, the application and processing time will depend on when the certificate holder acquiring / giving up submits their variation. The system is designed to support and identify when both applications are received so as to process them together. It is advisable to lodge the firearm(s) that you are transferring with a firearms dealer so that you are not at any time in possession of a firearm that is not contained on your firearm certificate.Therefore the time it takes to process an application is unique to each individual set of circumstances.
How do I contact FEB?
If you have information which is pertinent to your application which you need to share with PSNI, you can contact FEB between the hours 14.00-16.00 each day (Monday to Friday). Telephone the police non emergency number 101.
Will the system undergo testing prior to going live?
The system will be designed and developed following best practice including all testing phases. All members of the Project are qualified and experienced in delivering Enterprise Level security sensitive solutions within industries such as corporate and international banking.
Testing will follow best practice and where required changes will be made to address fixes required. PSNI will test the online application and data transfer rigorously prior to going to live Beta.
How secure will my information be on this Government site?
NI Direct is a government site which is accredited to ISO27001: 2013. This provides you, the applicant, with assurance of your personal safety, with regards data submitted and reassures you that the infrastructure meets with the standards of the internationally acclaimed standard for information security management.
The payment portal is PCI DSS compliant suggesting the network processing the payments must operate from a secure environment that meets with the standards defined by The Payment Card Industry Data Security. The following are the other public sector organisations which use this facility:
- Land & Property Services – Pay your rates online
- Land & Property Services – Buy a map online
- General Registry Office – Order a birth certificate online
- Department of Justice - Access NI
- PSNI – RADAR
- Department for Communities – Landlord Registration Scheme
- Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs – Fishing Licences
- Department of Justice – Planning Appeals
- DVLNI not mentioned her but mentioned on page 10
The following organisations plan to use this pay facility in the future:
- Department for Communities – PRONI search
- Department for Infrastructure – Hazardous Waste
- Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs – CAFRE course booking
- PSNI – Firearms Licensing
- Department for Infrastructure – Blue Badge
In relation to security of information, all data captured on the NI Direct site will be encrypted prior to being submitted to PSNI systems.
It is important to note that once all the relevant processes have been completed your data is securely transported via the public services network to PSNI’s highly secure infrastructure that is capable of securing data at CONFIDENTIAL levels. Once PSNI have received your data- no data will reside on the Government Network. It is managed, maintained and processed from PSNI Infrastructure in a similar way to that of the data received via the post and paper based form.
Data will reside on the Government site for a maximum 7 days, the amount of time your referee / parent will have to declare on your behalf. Where a referee or other declaration is not required your data will be received by PSNI within a 24 hour window, upon transferring to PSNI it will be removed from the Government site.
Other additional security measures are the 2 step authentication process which the referees complete and the firewall which surrounds PSNI systems providing assurance around the security of personal information..
What if the system fails, will you lose my data?
Your personal data is not stored permanently of the Government site. It temporarily resides on the Government site until your application is complete (a maximum of 7 days to allow for your referee or other declarations to be made). It will be transferred to PSNI secure network where it will be managed, maintained and processed by FEB. Applicants data has been stored on PSNI systems for the past 11 years so it is a well-established system, and has resilience and failover options currently in place.
With regards losing data, should your referee decide to decline your application, you will be required to submit a new application with a suitable referee, as with the paper based process. This is not loss of data but deemed a declined application, so it is important you have referees to complete your application within a 7 day period.
Resilience is in place for the Government site to ensure provisions are in place in the event of a technical failure. The Government site will not hold any data after the 7 day period.
Will the ‘Previous’ button lose the information that has been added in the previous stage? For example, if I want to return to the previous page to edit the details inserted, will data be lost?
No data will be lost if you select the ‘Previous’ button, therefore if you notice an error in the information you have inserted, you will have the ability to make changes (prior to the payment).
If the referee has no email address, is it possible for the applicant to verbally give the referee the Application ID for them to complete their section?
No, the referee must have an email address so that the link to their section can securely be accessed. The referee will have to create an email address or use an email address from a family member or friend.
What is the cut off time for the referee/parent/guardian to complete their section?
The referee/parent/guardian will have until approximately 11.59pm on the seventh day to complete their section of the form. If they fail to complete their part within that time frame, the application will be cancelled and an automatic refund will be generated.
Will the form work on my computer/device?
The form has been designed to work across multiple device types and internet browsers.
How will the photo be sized?
There is a maximum limit set on the system – the applicant must ensure the photo taken is to the same standard as a UK passport photograph.
With regards to the quality, it should be of UK Passport standard with no objects blocking the face, e.g. a hat.
Can a mobile number be used as well as/instead of a dealer email address?
The dealer’s email address is a mandatory field, thus must be completed. However, we will provide guidance on the online form so the applicant can inform us, should they choose to use the email address of a relative/friend.
I don’t have much IT experience, how can I improve my abilities?
There are 26 Libraries across Northern Ireland. The libraries are offering courses which are being offered to all members of the public. Training programmes outlined below.
These courses are referred to as the ‘Got IT’ and ‘Go On’ programmes with a link to the current timetable and some testimonials.
The ‘Got IT’ course will take you through the basics of computers in small, simple steps.
The course is divided into three sessions with each session lasting between 45 minutes and an hour. Library staff will be on hand to get you started, explaining the names and breaking down the jargon one piece at a time.
1. Introduction to computers
This module covers the basics of a computer. You will learn about the parts of a computer, how to log on, how to use the mouse and how to open and close a program.
2. Introduction to the Internet
This module will help to remove your fears and anxieties about the Internet. Training includes how to find your way around a webpage, how to use the forward and back buttons and the address bar and how to do a simple search.
3. Introduction to email
Email is a very valuable way to keep in touch with loved ones and friends. This module will help you set up an email account and send an email.
Once you’re able to navigate your way with a computer, to use email and enjoy the Internet, the GO ON course will take you one step further.
You will find Timetable for classes on Libraries NI website.
The course is divided into sessions and includes the following modules:
Social Networking – Facebook and Twitter - are they for you?
Library in Your Living Room – A world of knowledge at your fingertips. Discover our wide range of reliable, up-to-date online reference sources including local and national newspapers, encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Travel – Use the internet to plan journeys and holidays.
Editing Digital Photographs – Some basic sessions for the absolute beginner. Pick up some tips on editing your digital photographs. Learn how to get them from your camera to your computer, how to save them, make adjustments and print.
Get That Job – Explore websites offering jobs, benefits and career information.
Organise Your Life Online – Find out about online banking, how to pay utility bills, link to websites offering money advice, access to benefits information and use NI Direct website e.g. to book your MOT.
Shopping Online – Learn the basics of shopping securely online.
Your Health Online – Explore the Health in Mind website. Get tips and hints on keeping mind and body healthy, including self-help techniques. Learn who else can help with health issues.
iPad – a basic introduction to the iPad.
How long can I retain my Banded Transaction?
The applicant must use their Banded Transaction payment within 3 months or they will lose it.
Can I get a refund on the Banded Transaction?
Yes, the applicant has up to 3 months to apply for a refund. To process a refund you must contact FEB. The applicant will lose their transaction after 3 months if not used.