Foreign Nationals

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permitted & prohibited person for possessing firearms and ammunition

A non-immigrant alien is someone who is in the United States on a temporary basis, usually on a work, student, or tourist visa. Under the provisions of 27 CFR 178.97, non-immigrant aliens here on a student or work visa are prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms and ammunition while in the United States. A citizen or national of the Visa Waiver Program (below) here meeting any ONE of the below listed exceptions in section 922(y)(2) of the GCA or here under a tourist visa is allowed.

  1. Possess a hunting license or permit lawfully issued by the Federal Government, a State, or local government, or an Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is valid and unexpired. The hunting license does not have to be from the State from Washington.
  2. Were admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes
  3. Is an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States.
  4. Are an official of a foreign government or are designated as a distinguished foreign visitor by the Department of State, or
  5. Are a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.
  6. Has received a waiver issued by the Attorney General of the United States or Department of Justice and obtaining approval under section 922(y)(3).


Permanent resident aliens and aliens lawfully admitted to the U.S. without a visa (e.g. Visa Waiver Program) do not fall within the prohibition, and therefore do not need to meet one of the above exemptions to rent and shoot a firearm. Canada and Mexico are exempt from this requirement.

The following 38 countries are Visa Waiver Program participants:

Andorra, Australia, Austria
Belgium, Brunei
Chile, Czech Republic
Finland, France
Germany, Greece
Iceland, Ireland, Italy
Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Malta, Monaco
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway
San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
United Kingdom*

A penalty for violation of this federal law is imprisonment of 5-10 years per occurrence. If you are here from another country and do not meet the criteria for permitted persons you may not shoot at SafeFire indoor Shooting Range.

**With respect to all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1). Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the Visa Waiver Program authorizing legislation, Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1187, are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.
*British citizens only with the unrestricted right of permanent abode in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Updated: 06/08/2018