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baffscruff

Help needed returning to the UK from NZ with my airsoft gear

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Hi all, firstly I sincerely apologise if this has been answered before, I had a good look but couldn't find anything matching my own unique circumstances.

 

So I'm a UK citizen living in New Zealand for the last year and I've gotten into airsoft out here, sadly my visa has run out and I'll be returning to the UK in the next few months. I could really use some advice on getting my gear (specifically pistols and rifles) home without it being confiscated by customs. I'm trying to move 4 rifles and two pistols (not two toned as that isn't a requirement here).  I'm a regular club member in NZ but obviously not UKARA registered yet. The way I see it I have about 4 options.

 

1) Shove it in a gun bag, declare it at the airport and prey that I'm somehow lucky with the various international  airlines on the way home. This doesn't seem like a good idea to me but I would be happy to hear of anyone who has done it before.

 

2) Two tone it and post it to myself, I could just plasti-dip it an appropriate colour and prey customs doesn't take exception to it (this to me seems like the best option but I would welcome more experienced opinions)

3) Split it into parts and send them in seperate boxes to various friends/family, has the advantage that i'm not technically sending a working RIF anywhere, but has the downside that if one box gets lost in the post or stopped by customs I then have a lot of parts and no working guns :-(

 

4) Sell my stuff here and buy new guns back home. This would break my heart to do as I love my kit but if it's the only option it's the only option.

If I've missed a possible option please tell me. Obviously money is an issue here, so more cost efficient suggestions would be better.

 

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give it's massively appreciated.

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Not sure so throwing it out there...

If you know someone with UKARA you could send to them and they can gift back to you?

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Have you tried calling anyone? Explain your situation?

 

If you call customs for example and can prove that you have been playing Airsoft in NZ and want to bring your guns back to play in the UK, surely that could work? That or purchase membership at a place that is close to where you live and then explain the situation... Guns come through customs all the time (from import with a defense) so, I find it hard to believe there is no way you can do it, especially if you have clearly been playing airsoft. I would DEFINITELY declare it though, or even call your travel company beforehand and inform them, that may even be enough

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13 hours ago, Samurai said:

5. Move here, get a site membership / ukara by playing 3 games in 2+ months, and then post the RIFs.

If that's not an option then two-toning seems to be the best idea.

 

This is an option but it involves asking favours of the guys out here to post them to me. Also no guns for two months while in the UK :(

 

12 hours ago, EDcase said:

Not sure so throwing it out there...

If you know someone with UKARA you could send to them and they can gift back to you?

 

Sadly not, I never tried airsoft while in the UK, so don't know anyone there yet with a UKARA, otherwise this would make a lot of sense.

 

12 hours ago, Robert James said:

Have you tried calling anyone? Explain your situation?

 

If you call customs for example and can prove that you have been playing Airsoft in NZ and want to bring your guns back to play in the UK, surely that could work? That or purchase membership at a place that is close to where you live and then explain the situation... Guns come through customs all the time (from import with a defense) so, I find it hard to believe there is no way you can do it, especially if you have clearly been playing airsoft. I would DEFINITELY declare it though, or even call your travel company beforehand and inform them, that may even be enough

 

No, I've not called anyone yet. I'm a good 3 months away from actually leaving (not even booked flights yet) so just asking preliminary questions and getting ideas together. My concern is that I could do all the work, call customs etc and then still not get my gear through the airport just because travelling that distance I will have to change planes in Dubai or Shanghai or somewhere and possibly comply with local laws there. To me there just seems like so much more that could go wrong taking it with me on the plane rather than posting. Saying that I'm here for advice so if you guys definitely think it's the way to go I will happily listen.

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11 hours ago, baffscruff said:

 

This is an option but it involves asking favours of the guys out here to post them to me. Also no guns for two months while in the UK :(

 

 

Sadly not, I never tried airsoft while in the UK, so don't know anyone there yet with a UKARA, otherwise this would make a lot of sense.

 

 

No, I've not called anyone yet. I'm a good 3 months away from actually leaving (not even booked flights yet) so just asking preliminary questions and getting ideas together. My concern is that I could do all the work, call customs etc and then still not get my gear through the airport just because travelling that distance I will have to change planes in Dubai or Shanghai or somewhere and possibly comply with local laws there. To me there just seems like so much more that could go wrong taking it with me on the plane rather than posting. Saying that I'm here for advice so if you guys definitely think it's the way to go I will happily listen.

I cant tell you as im not clued up when it comes to import/export, especially INTO the UK. But things are posted here all the time, I would call your flight operator, and customs and see what they say. They dont need to know who you are etc, just ask them about exporting a RIF to the UK.

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Don't do any of the halfarsed or devious stuff you mentioned, your a club member in NZ so that covers you with regards to the VCRA, ukara means feck all, it's just part of the defence for buying from relevant retailers, it has next to no relevance to your current situation, so assemble any relevant paperwork you can regarding your club membership & playing time in NZ, as well as any receipts for Airsoft associated purchases you've made while there, the further back they go the better.
ideally get yourself a hard case big enough to take all your rifs, even if it means ditching some of the foam, & make sure you can padlock it, then prior to travelling contact your airline, explaining what your carrying, pointing out they are non lethal in nature & cannot be converted, they will tell you if they can be carried & whether they have any special requirements, but also be aware of cost/weight issues you may be subject to, no good paying a fortune to get them home if the cost exceeds buying new within the eu.
finally, contact ukba, declaring what your bringing in, full declaration same as with the airline, backed up by any docs or professional references you can provide.
DONT try to pull the wool over their eyes with subterfuge or bs, rarely goes well & could result in guns destroyed & a big fine.

Do all this plenty of time prior to travel & you should be fine.

good luck

mark

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