When you’re trying to decide whether you should get a federal firearms license (FFL), one of the things you may wonder about is how long it’s going to take the ATF to approve your FFL application, and give you a federal firearms license.
This is a fair concern, especially when dealing with the ATF. After all, it takes the ATF sometimes up to a year just to approve a suppressor transfer and issue a tax stamp, via an ATF Form 4.
In this article, we’re going to cover the federal firearms application process timeline and let you know what to expect with regard to how long it will take the ATF to issue you a license, after you submit your FFL application.
How Long Does it Take to Get an FFL?
So, how long does it take to get an FFL? It takes 2 months to get an FFL (assuming certain things, which I’ll explain further down).
To be clear, The BATF only has 2 months to approve or deny your application (I’ll explain more below). However, the ATF might be faster, and/or you might be slow on your part – yes, you have a part in becoming an FFL holder.
From this point on, assuming you haven’t already signed up for, and are working through, our How to Get an FFL course (because this is covered in the course), you have three different phases that will each have their own time commitment before you can be a firearms dealer or manufacturer (or even a home-based FFL).
- Phase 1 – Learning the Requirements and the FFL Process
- Phase 2 – Completing the FFL Application
- Phase 3 – ATF Application Review
Time to Learn ATF Requirements
Before you apply for your FFL license, you really should learn some background about the federal firearms license process, and what is required.
Yes, it is 100% possible to do this on your own. However, you have to make a few important decisions along the way (more than just what type of FFL to get or what type of business, if any, to form).
If you make the wrong decisions now, you run the risk of having to start over again. Maybe because your FFL application was denied or, perhaps worse, you became a licensed FFL dealer (or manufacturer) but set things up the wrong way. Even worse, you could get into SERIOUS trouble with the ATF, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
However, that’s very unlikely. Why? You’e already here reading and learning. You’re already showing you’re the type of person that knows how important it is to do things the right way.
Also, we just so happen to have an awesome course on How to Get Your FFL. You don’t have to just take my word for it, you can read the reviews yourself!
In our course, we cover the background of the federal firearm license system, basics on the legal background topics (like the difference between laws and regulations), individual requirements (like who must be a responsible person on your license), which FFL type is right for you (you might be surprised), basic ATF compliance, and more.
Of course, we also provide a step-by-step checklist for your application packets, explain the entire application process line-by-line (including things like how you can complete your own fingerprint card), and make the process EASY AND FAST.
How long does it take to learn everything? You can finish the whole course in a couple of hours, and continue to study at your own pace. You’ll have unlimited access to your courses – no time limits!
Federal Firearms License Application Time
To actually complete the application, should take no more than an hour.
It’s true that it can take 8 or more hours for someone to do this completely on their own, or if they really don’t know what they’re doing.
But, the reason we’re called “RocketFFL” is that we are the fastest and simplest system to getting your FFL license.
We even have follow-on courses to help you become a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT), so you can work with NFA firearms like silencers (suppressors), machine guns, short barreled rifles (SBR), short barreled shotguns (SBS), and more!
If you’re interested in things like armor piercing ammunition, you’re going to need a special type of FFL. Fortunately, I cover this in-depth in our start-up course.
ATF FFL Application Processing Time
By law, the ATF has 2 months to approve or deny your application.
Assuming everything is correct with your application (which it should certainly be if you followed along in our course), you’ve met each FFL requirement, you (or any other potential responsible person) aren’t a prohibited person, you’ve filled out each copy of the ATF Form 7 properly, etc. etc., then you will likely be a Federal Firearms Licensee within 2 months.
Just imagine how much faster this is then the process for acquiring an NFA item.
You could be a firearms dealer within a couple of months and be buying silencers at dealer pricing, receiving them just a couple of days after placing an order, and selling them for a profit WAY before your paperwork for getting a silencer through an FFL as a regular customer (non-FFL) would be processed by the ATF.
If the ATF doesn’t respond within 2 months, there is an administrative process you can take. However, in most cases, we don’t recommend that.
Unless the ATF can show a clear reason why you can’t have an FFL, they have to give it to you – it is a “shall issue” license.
Why? Well, in most cases, that particular field division might be a little behind, and you might have to wait an extra couple of days. Although you could fight it, it’s often better not starting off as an adversary.
We hope that this helps you better understand the process and how long it takes to get your FFL. We look forward to having you as a member in our FFL community, and having you be part of our industry!
FFL Application Timeline FAQ
How Long Does it Take to Get an FFL?
It typically takes 2 months from the time the ATF receives your application, to receive your FFL.
What Happens if the ATF Takes Too Long?
There is an administrative remedy you can take to force the ATF to approve or deny your application.
How Long Does the FFL Application Process Take?
It takes a couple of hours to learn the requirements, a little over an hour to complete the application, and typically two months for the ATF to respond.
Ryan Cleckner is a former special operations sniper and current attorney specializing in firearms law/ATF compliance and is a firearms industry executive (former govt. relations manager for NSSF, Vice President of Remington Outdoor Company, and a SAAMI voting board member).
6 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Get an FFL?”
I precision had my 07 license that I surrendered several years ago because it was too competitive in my area and I was buying a new home, moving, etc.
Is reinstating a license like that the same as getting a new one or is it easier?
Hey Todd! You’ll have to apply for a new FFL. -Jackie
even though i am able to have and ccl firearms i had a judgement to set aside my conviction. would i still be able for a ffl ?
You will be able to get an FFL if you are legally allowed to purchase/possess firearms.
My FFL has been in pending for over 5 months; they are not providing any updates, what are my options?
You must call the ATF licensing center – something is wrong.