How to Check Status on Your NFA Transfer

The ATF NFA Branch allows individuals to check the status on their own transfers. Most commonly this is an ATF Form 4 for an item you have purchased from a dealer such as a silencer, short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun, or machine gun. The process is quick and easy…

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
National Firearms Act Branch
244 Needy Road
Martinsburg, WV 25405
Voice (304) 616-4500

Simply call the NFA Branch and ask to “check the status of your Form 4”.

NOTE: This process has changed and does change occasionally. The NFA Branch has instituted a phone menu system now where you will need to follow the prompts to check the status of a NFA transfer to be connected to the right person. The rest of the process has not changed.

The person whom answers the phone will then ask you for the serial number of the NFA firearm and also ask you who you are. If your name matches the transferee shown on their computer they will give you the current status. Most often the response is “the form is pending as of (date)”. This is the status update that you will most often receive. If you add on the average amount of time expected for the transfer it will give you an estimation of the approval date.

NOTE: NFA forms are ‘tax documents’ and as such confidential. The NFA Branch will not give you the status for someone else’s form. So please do not call to check up on forms for your friend or even transfers going to/from your dealer.

ATF forms can have the following statuses:
  • None – Paperwork has not been entered into the system yet so status is unknown. This will be the status for several weeks after your paperwork is submitted.
  • Pending – Paperwork has been entered into the system, check has been cashed and paperwork is processing. Will be the status for the majority of the transfer.
  • Error – There is a problem with the paperwork. Usually it is a typo, a non-original signature, or other small problem. An Error status means your forms are near completion but an issues needs fixed first. Your dealer (or transferor) will receive a letter in the mail with the details on the error and instructions to send back for correction of the problem.
  • Approved – This is the best status! Your paperwork has been completed and your dealer (or transferor) will receive the approved forms in the mail within one or two weeks. You can then arrange the physical transfer and pickup of the firearm.

Hopefully now you understand the ATF transfer process better! Any questions simply give them a call.