How to Get an FFL Without a Business: A complete Process

Obtaining a Federal Firearms License (FFL) can be a complex process, often associated with running a firearms-related business. However, did you know that there’s a way to acquire an FFL without being engaged in a business? In this guide, we will explore the steps and requirements for getting an FFL without a business, allowing you to engage in legal firearm activities for personal use or collecting purposes.

Understanding FFL Types

The first step is to understand the different types of FFLs issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). While most FFLs are related to firearm sales and manufacturing, there is a specific type that suits individuals interested in firearms without a business angle: the Collector’s FFL (Type 03).

Research the Type 03 FFL

The Collector’s FFL, formally known as the Type 03 FFL, caters to individuals with a keen interest in firearm collection as a hobby. This specialized license facilitates the acquisition of firearms, excluding destructive devices, expressly for the purpose of enriching personal collections.

 The license serves as a testament to the ATF’s recognition of the historical and cultural significance that certain firearms hold. It’s crucial to emphasize that the foremost intent of the Collector’s FFL is centered around fostering the passion of collecting, rather than engaging in the commercial trade of firearms. As such, this license offers enthusiasts a legitimate avenue to curate their collections while adhering to the regulations that guide the responsible ownership and preservation of firearms with distinct historical value.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a Type 03 FFL, you need to meet specific eligibility criteria set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Generally, the requirements include:

  • Age of the Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
  • Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency: Applicants need to be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
  • Criminal History: Individuals with felony convictions or restraining orders related to firearms are typically ineligible.
  • Meeting these criteria is essential to proceed with the application process.

 Application Process

      The application process for the Type 03 FFL involves several steps:

  • Obtain the Application Form: Start by obtaining ATF Form 7CR, the Application for License (Collector of Curios and Relics). This form is specific to the Type 03 FFL and can be downloaded from the ATF website or requested by contacting the ATF directly.
  • Complete the Form: Fill out the form accurately and completely. Provide all required personal information and ensure that your answers are truthful.
  • Additional Requirements: The ATF may require you to submit passport-style photographs and fingerprints as part of the background check process. These additional requirements help the ATF verify your identity and conduct a thorough background check.
  • Application Fee: As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there is an application fee associated with the Type 03 FFL. Ensure you include the appropriate fee with your application.
  • Submission: Once the form is completed and all required documents are gathered, submit the application to the ATF for processing. You should double-check that all information is accurate before submission.

Fulfill Additional Requirements

While the Type 03 FFL is for collectors, it doesn’t mean there are no responsibilities. The ATF may require you to provide photographs and fingerprints as part of the background check process. Ensuring that your criminal record is clear and your reputation is in good standing is crucial for a successful application.

Submitting the Application 

When your application is fully prepared and all required documents are collected, proceed to submit everything to the ATF for processing. Ensuring accuracy and currency of all provided information is absolutely vital during this stage. Double-checking the completeness of your application package before submission is a prudent measure. 

This submission marks a pivotal juncture, as the ATF will carefully evaluate the materials you’ve provided. Keep in mind that any inaccuracies or outdated information could potentially lead to delays or complications in the processing timeline. Therefore, adhering to precision and timeliness is paramount. Upon successful submission, the ATF’s review process will commence. This phase involves meticulous scrutiny of your application and supporting documents. 

Patience is key during this period, as processing times can vary. By maintaining the accuracy and completeness of your application, you contribute significantly to the efficiency of the evaluation process.

Waiting for Processing

After submitting your application, the ATF will review your materials and conduct the necessary background checks. The duration of this procedure can span from a few weeks to several months, influenced by a variety of factors.

Receiving Your FFL

Upon approval of your application, you will be granted your Type 03 FFL. This significant milestone authorizes you to acquire firearms classified as curios and relics, facilitating the growth of your collection. However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that the scope of this license strictly prohibits engaging in firearm sales.

 The FFL empowers you to make lawful acquisitions aligned with your passion for historical and cultural firearms. It underscores your commitment to responsible firearm ownership and preservation, allowing you to delve into a realm of significant pieces with distinctive historical value. 

The Type 03 FFL is a testament to your dedication to fostering a curated assortment that mirrors the evolution of firearm craftsmanship. This license, while unlocking opportunities for enriching your collection, emphasizes the ethical boundaries that prevent the commercial trade of firearms. As a custodian of this FFL, you’re entrusted with the privilege to contribute to the preservation of firearm history while honoring the legal responsibilities it entails.


Obtaining an FFL without a business is achievable through the Collector’s FFL (Type 03). This license is designed for individuals passionate about firearms collecting. By meeting eligibility criteria, completing the application accurately, and undergoing background checks, you can legally acquire firearms for your collection without engaging in the business aspect. Always stay updated with the latest regulations, as firearm laws can change. With this guide, you’re equipped to navigate the process of getting an FFL without a business and pursuing your hobby within the bounds of the law.

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