NEW! You can now apply for PAL licence for the first time ONLINE!
ONLINE PAL APPLICATION FORM
After completing the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and exams, and subsequently receiving your results in the mail, the next step in the process of obtaining your Possession Acquisition Licence (PAL) is to fill out the application.
Click here to apply ONLINE through the RCMP Canadian Firearm Program website:
PAPER PAL APPLICATION FORM
After completing the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and exams, and subsequently receiving your results in the mail, the next step in the process of obtaining your Possession Acquisition Licence (PAL) is to fill out the application form and submit along with your course results and a suitable photo to the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).
The form can be downloaded here:
If you are applying for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) for non-restricted firearms, you must have passed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). If you are applying for a PAL for restricted firearms (also known as an RPAL), you must have passed two safety courses: the CFSC and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC). For further information regarding Safety Training Certification or the application process contact the Canadian Firearms Program at 1 800 731-4000.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
That is a reasonable question, and one that comes up a lot. The CFSC course material states that it takes 2-3 months to get you PAL. In reality there are a few factors:
1. How long it takes to find an instructor/course (with openings)
It was pretty easy to find a course in the Ottawa area with openings. Courses were generally scheduled months in advance so students had plenty of opportunity to book a course. Typically students could find a course within a month of searching for one.
Province-wide shutdowns, mandated reduced class sizes, and increased demand have all combined to make it much more difficult to find a course. As soon as courses are posted online, they fill within hours. It has become very competitive to get a seat in a course recently. Generally, you must book a seat in a course months in advance in order to get in a class. (Ask to be on a wait list for last minute cancellations and you may get in a class sooner).
2. How long it takes to get your course results after taking the course
At the end of your course, the instructor sends your course results to the FSESO for the results to be verified. Based on feedback from previous students, it took two weeks after the course finished for students to receive their course results in the mail.
Based on feedback from previous students, it is presently taking 2-6 weeks after the course finished for students to receive their course results in the mail. UPDATE 30-JUL-2021: Students have been recently been receiving their course results 14 days after finishing their course.
3. How long it takes for the application to be processed by the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP)
Based on feedback from past Ottawa Firearm Safety students (Pre-COVID), the average time was 55-60 days from the day the application was sent to the CFP, to the day you receive your PAL card in the mail.
The timelines have shifted noticeably. Based on only a small number of student feedback so far, it appears that the CFP PAL processing time is 4.5 to 5 months. (We will update this figure as we receive more updates from past students).
What can you do to reduce the time?
Book yourself into a course as soon as possible and add yourself to the course wait lists. There are two good reasons to add yourself to a waitlist even if there are lots of people on the wait list. First, even if there are lots of students on the waitlists, for last minute seats few students end up being reachable and available; and second, it gives us an idea of demand, and we may add more courses to meet extra demand.
Fill out your PAL application form and have it ready to mail as soon as you get your course results. It can be tedious to fill out the forms correctly. You will also require a photograph of very specific dimensions done (similar to a passport photo) and it signed by a guarantor. Many people add time to their application process by not having the forms ready to mail out as soon as they receive their course results.
Fill out your paperwork clearly and carefully, follow all the instructions, take the time to be complete, and choose references that are easy to reach. Your references need to be reached, so choose references that are easy to get a hold of and know you well enough to give a satisfactory reference.
PAL APPLICATION STATUS
After you have sent in your PAL application package with your course results to the Canadian Firearm Program (CFP), you can check on the status of your PAL application by contacting the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP):
- Call the RCMP Canadian Firearm’s Program (CFP) at 1-800-731-4000, or
- Check on the status using their ONLINE service: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/firearms/individual-web-services