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What if I move before my ATF Form 1, ATF Form 4, or ATF Form 5 Paperwork is Approved?

There are many reasons why you would move before your ATF paperwork is approved, as in some cases the ATF paperwork takes more than 7 months to be approved.  But what happens if you move from the location that you used on your ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm, ATF 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm or ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm paperwork?  These questions need to be broken down into two scenarios.  The first is moving or changing your address to another address within the same state.  The second is moving or changing your address to another state that is friendly to the NFA firearm that you purchased.   

Scenario 1: Moving or changing your address to another address within the same state.

You have a few options if you are moving or changing your address to another address within the same state that you used to apply on your ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm, ATF 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm or ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm paperwork.  Your options are below:

  • If your ATF application was approved and sent to your SOT dealer, but your address changed during the time that your application was approved and the time that you were able to pick up your NFA Firearm.  Then you are able to go to your SOT dealer to fill out the ATF 5300.9 - 4473 paperwork.  If your ATF 5300.9 - 4473 paperwork is approved, you will then need to fill out and send in via mail, fax or email, the ATF 5320.20 Application to Transport NFA Firearms.  This is required to do because you are permanently moving your NFA Firearm to a new location.  Make sure you check "No" in box 2. that asks if "Firearms to be returned to original Location".  The return time for this paperwork from the ATF varies between 1 to 4 weeks with wait times extending past that in some cases.  You can read our whole ATF 5320.20 Application to Transport NFA Firearms walk-through guide here.
  • Keep your pending application active:  You can keep your pending ATF application active.  Once your paperwork is approved you are able to go to your SOT dealer to fill out the ATF 5300.9 - 4473 paperwork.  If your ATF 5300.9 - 4473 paperwork is approved you will then need to fill out and send in via mail, fax or email, the ATF 5320.20 Application to Transport NFA Firearms.  This is required to do because you are permanently moving your NFA Firearm to a new location.  Make sure you check "No" in box 2. that asks if "Firearms to be returned to original Location".  The return time for this paperwork from the ATF varies between 1 to 4 weeks with wait times extending past that in some cases.  You can read our whole ATF 5320.20 Application to Transport NFA Firearms walk-through guide here
  • Cancel your pending application and reapply:  You can cancel your current application and reapply with the new address that you want to register your NFA Firearm at.  This should only be used only as a last resort.  Here are a few reasons why:
    • Your paperwork will lose the current position with the ATF.  This might not be a problem if you applied a few months before you decide to cancel.  But if you are 6 to 7 months into your application, then you will loose that time and will need to start your wait time again with your new form.  
    • The paperwork and contents of your application might not be returned to you. Your canceled form will be sent back to your SOT dealer.  But your FD-258 fingerprint cards, passport photos and the copy of your NFA Gun Trust, if applicable, will not be returned to you.  If you plan on reapplying you will need to provide the ATF with another set of fingerprint cards and a passport photo for every responsible person on the ATF application.  If you applied with a NFA Gun Trust you will need to send another copy of your notarized NFA Gun Trust. 
    • If your payment was already processed with the ATF, you will need to start the return process.  It takes around one month for your application to be canceled.  If you paid with a check or a credit/debit card your payment will be returned to you in 60 to 90 days after your application was canceled, which could be 90 to 120 days [factoring in the one month time to cancel your application].  If you paid with a cashiers check or a money order the ATF will send a refund check back to the applicant with the same time frames as the check and the credit/debit card payment methods.

    Scenario 2: Moving or changing your address to another state that is friendly to the NFA firearm that you purchased.

    If you are moving or changing your address to another state that is friendly to the NFA firearm that you purchased you have limited options.  Per the ATF they state that you cannot change your address and that your application should be canceled with them and recommend reapplying with your updated address in the state that you are moving to.  However, a ATF specialist might be able to update your address and the SOT dealer to send the approved application to.  This should not be relied upon though.  Before you cancel your ATF application, you do have a few options that we describe below:

    • Moving without changing your driver's license:  If you are moving without changing your driver's license you will need to follow the guide for Scenario 1.  Your options are to either wait for your application to be approved or cancel your application.  If you wait for your application to be approved, you will fill out your ATF 5300.9 - 4473 with your SOT dealer and then file your ATF 5320.20 Application to Transport NFA Firearms via mail, email or fax and then wait for your approved ATF 5320.20 application before you permanently relocate the NFA Firearm to your new state.  Note: Make sure that your NFA Firearm is allowed in the state that you are planning on relocating it to.  The ATF won't approve a ATF 5320.20 Application to Transport NFA Firearms for a NFA Firearm that is restricted in the state that you are planning on moving it to.  This option does require you to travel to the SOT dealer that has your approved application in your old state.
    • Moving and changing your driver's license with a pending application:  If you are moving to another state with a pending ATF application and you are changing your drivers license to the new state you will need to cancel your application and reapply.  You can try to talk to a ATF specialist to update the address of your application and update the SOT dealer to send the paperwork too.  This route isn't guaranteed, but is worth trying before you cancel your application.  Please note the below for canceling your ATF application.   
      • The paperwork and contents of your application might not be returned to you.  Your canceled form will be sent back to your SOT dealer.  But your FD-258 fingerprint cards, passport photos and the copy of your NFA Gun Trust, if applicable, will not be returned to you.  If you plan on reapplying you will need to provide the ATF with another set of fingerprint cards and a passport photo for every responsible person on the ATF application.  If you applied with a NFA Gun Trust you will need to send another copy of your notarized NFA Gun Trust. 
      • If your payment was already processed with the ATF, you will need to start the return process.  It takes around one month for your application to be canceled.  If you paid with a check or a credit/debit card your payment will be returned to you in 60 to 90 days after your application was canceled, which could be 90 to 120 days [factoring in the one month time to cancel your application].  If you paid with a cashiers check or a money order the ATF will send a refund check back to the applicant with the same time frames as the check and the credit/debit card payment methods. 
    • Moving and changing your driver's license with an approved application:  If you are moving to another state and have an approved ATF application in the state that you are moving from and your drivers license has been changed to the new state, you have one option.  The SOT dealer that has your application will need to contact the ATF to void your application, under the premise that the NFA Firearm will be moving across state lines.  If you want the $200 that you have already paid to the ATF to be help by the ATF for your new application in your new state, then make sure you tell your SOT dealer to let the ATF know that.  Your SOT dealer can have the ATF void your approved ATF application and ask the ATF to hold your $200 that will be used when you reapply for your ATF tax stamp in your new state.  From there your SOT dealer will submit a ATF 5320.3 - Form 3 - Application for Tax-Exempt Transfer of Firearm and Registration to Special Occupational Taxpayer (National Firearms Act).  Once the ATF 5320.3 is approved, they can then ship your NFA Firearm to the SOT dealer of your choice in your new state.  From there you will need to reapply with the ATF for your tax stamp and start the ATF process all over again.  You will need to contact the ATF about getting the held payment transferred to your new application, they track the payments based on the serial number of the NFA Firearm that you are trying to register. 
    • Moving with the military and have Permanent change of station orders [PCS Orders]:  If you have PCS orders before you apply for your ATF tax stamp, you can include a copy of the PCS orders in with your application to be expedited.  If you receive PCS orders while your ATF application is pending, then you can send a copy of your PCS orders to the ATF via mail, email or fax.  Be sure to include in the letter, email or faxed document the name and address of the transferee [if your application is a ATF 5320.4 or ATF 5320.5] or the applicant's name and address [if your application is a ATF 5320.1], and the make, model, and serial number of the NFA Firearm that you are trying to register.  For either of the above two PCS situations above, the ATF determines whether they will expedite the ATF application on a case by case basis that is determined by the branch chief.  The ATF will try to expedite your ATF application however, this is not a guarantee and you should talk with the ATF about your current situation to see if your application can be expedited or not.  You can contact the ATF at (304) 616-4500, you made need to talk to a specialist about your specific situation. 

    Mail the paperwork mentioned above to:

    National Firearms Act Branch
    Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,
    244 Needy Road, Martinsburg, WV 25405

    FAX or EMAIL the paperwork mentioned above to:

    The paperwork mentioned above in this article can also be submitted via facsimile to the NFA Branch at (304) 616-4501 or may be scanned and emailed to NFAFax@atf.gov.


    Information located within this article is current as of August, 2018. Information located within this article is an original guide created by National Gun Trusts and not to be cited or used without the written permission of National Gun Trusts.

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