Firearms through Frankfurt when leaving the airport

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by ragtimegal, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. ragtimegal

    ragtimegal New Member

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    Hi all,

    I have read numerous posts on going through Frankfurt to Namibia with firearms, and I am still a little unclear about any requirements if I leave the airport.

    I am traveling on Delta from US to Frankfurt, connecting with Air Namibia to Windhoek. They have a baggage agreement and will check the bags from the US to Windhoek. I will not be taking possession of my firearms in Frankfurt. Here is my question- I'd like to leave the airport and go into Frankfurt, as we have a long layover. Since I am not taking possession of my firearms, do I need to complete a Firearms permit for Germany or do anything with the firearms, or can I just leave the airport transit area and go into Frankfurt without any worries?

    Thanks so much!
    :)
     
  2. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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  3. ragtimegal

    ragtimegal New Member

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    Thank you, Diamondhitch. I had read that section in the Ultimate Safari Planning Guide, however, I am still a little unsure of the process and was hoping that someone who has been through this process could answer my question. The guide reads as follows:

    "Should you be traveling with firearms and ammunition in transit through Germany as non EU member, just transferring from one international flight to another and as long as the transit area will not be left, you will not be required to obtain prior to your trip a German Firearm Importation Permit.

    Make sure that the airlines can transfer your baggage and/or firearms and ammunition through to your next or final destination and you stay in the airport transit area never clearing customs. It is however critical that you check with and confirm with the airlines involved well before departure to make sure what their procedure is for the transfer of baggage and/or firearms and ammunition."

    I understand this to mean that even though our bags are checked through, if we are going to leave the transit area, a German Firearm Importation Permit would be required. I have read conflicting information elsewhere, and since we aren't taking possession of the firearms, it is confusing to me.
     
  4. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Certainly gives a guy confidence to hear it from someone who has done it doesnt it. I have personally not but the last paragraph (highlighted below) seems to cover it quite well.

    If you leave the airport for touristic reasons or to stay overnight, you can leave your firearms with the customs department (Zollbeh?den) for safe keeping.

    After you have collected your firearms along with your luggage, address the office concerned with customs examinations at the baggage claim on the right side of customs barriers / customs control. The German custom officials there will give you a receipt for the firearms so that you get them back on your departure from the airport. They will be holding the firearms for you during your layover or until such time that you can recheck your baggage and/or firearms and ammunition through to your next or final destination. You will not take your firearms into your possession, but present your firearms' receipt when checking in at the counter with the airline agent to your next or final destination so that your firearms make it onto your flight. Be sure to check in early to give them ample time to process your firearms.

    This seems like one of the most down to earth firearm policies of any country I have seen. No fuss no muss.
     
  5. ragtimegal

    ragtimegal New Member

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    I read that one, too. Here's the rub... My bags are checked all the way through, so I'm not collecting either them or my firearms.

    Can I leave the airport for a few hours while the firearms are in the airport's custody without having to complete the forms?
     
  6. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    I've done the forms both times I went through Frankfurt to Namibia. I think that we checked through to Namibia the first time, but I'm not 100% sure.

    Anyway, I am close to the worst person in the world at filling out forms (you can ask my wife!) and the form was no problem. Fax it to Germany and they get back to you in less than a day, just as you would expect the Germans to do. I don't know if the form is needed or not, but the person at the check-in desk at US air thought I needed it and arguing with her would have been a waste of time. She was a complete idiot in many respects and took well over an hour to check in my firearm, so it was good to have the form for her to look at whether I needed it or not. Make two copies of the permit you get so that when the check in girl does something silly with one, you are still covered.

    Bottom line is that you will spend more time asking about the form than just doing it whether you need the form or not. So just fill it out and fax it and be done with it. If you don't need it, it won't hurt to have it, and it is free. If you have time, you want to go into the city. Take the train to to the Hauptbahnhof and then ask the information lady how to get where you want to go. Tell her "Hallo. Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut" (means exactly what it sounds like) and she will then smile because you are at least trying and then will speak to you in English. She'll speak to you in English anyway, but it is better manners to at least make the effort. "Ein bier, bitte" is another key phrase. "Danke" rounds out all you need to be polite.

    I never did figure out how to buy exactly the ticket I needed for the in-town public transport so I just ponied up the 5 or so euros and bought the day pass. That way I was covered no matter what I managed to do. Don't waste money on a taxi unless you get hopelessly lost: it is Germany, so all the trains, busses, and subways run on time. If you need the 11:17 train and it is 11:16, do not get on the train unless you check because it is not the right one. I am not exaggerating.

    The museum of modern art is excellent Home / MMK MUSEUM FÜR MODERNE KUNST FRANKFURT AM MAIN, as is the natural history museum SENCKENBERG world of biodiversity | Museums | Museum Frankfurt | The Museum, which easily rivals the Smithsonian. The communication museum is also really good Frankfurt am Main: Museum for Communication. Adolph Wagner's has the best applel strudel I've ever had, and the meal was pretty darn good. You won't have time for all of them in one day.

    Try to stay up all day in Germany and then sleep on the flight to Namibia. It will help with the jet lag. They sometimes have an upgrade from coach to pseudo business class where you get the business class seat but economy meals. It is not very expensive and sheer foolishness to pass it up if it is available because the seats are huge and you will sleep WAY better. The economy meal is much better than what you would get on an american airline, so it is not a huge sacrifice to miss the business class meal.
     
  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the tips Bert.
    I hope to use this intel on an excursion.

    I just sent a request on my own behalf to the email address provided.
    I'll let you know if I get anything worth sharing.
     
  8. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Useful information indeed as I will be doing just this next year. It seems from Diamond's post, that you can leave the airport but you have to collect your bags and let customs hold onto to the firearm.
     
  9. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    You will need the permit.

    Have one prior to leaving for each of your rifles...
     
  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    If I understand this correctly, you are doing the usual transit of Frankfurt where you arrive in the a.m. and depart that evening for Windhoek with your bags checked through. In that case, you do not need a permit.
     
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I used the email address provided and this is the question I asked (in German taking Bert's suggestion. I got a reply in English) along with a WORD document to be completed and sent back via email.
    It took 4 hours for the reply.

    My interpretation of the translation of the German Gun Laws provided here on AH (details)

    "6.4.2 For marksmen, hunters and traditional riflemen from non-EU countries
    Marksmen, hunters and traditional riflemen from non-EU countries must obtain a
    German travel licence to bring the weapons listed under 6.4.1 above into the country.


    ....a German travel licence must be applied for under the normal conditions.

    A German travel licence may be issued for up to one year for either a single journey or multiple journeys, and may be repeatedly extended for periods of one year.

    Persons travelling with firearms must transport their weapons and ammunition safely, i.e. these must not be readily accessible or ready to fire during the journey and must be kept in a securely locked container."


    EMAIL REQUEST:
    Subject: Weapon and ammunition permits for transit of Frankfurt Air / Gun and Ammunition permits for transiting Frankfurt by Air

    Dear Sir:
    I will fly from Frankfurt to Windhoek on a hunting safari.
    I bring two firearms and ammunition for both.
    Can you please forward the appropriate forms and contact information for transit through Frankfurt.
    I would also like to tour in Frankfurt during the day and leave the guns at the airport.
    With whom I could leave the weapons? I do not think the airlines have an agreement Baggage handling.
    Thank you for your support.

    EMAIL REPLY:
    Dear Sir:

    I am sending attached a form. Please fill out the based form with your data. Send me the completed form back by e-mail. I will approve the application and return again.

    Please ask the Customs for the storage of weapons for a day - that's no problem I think.

    Explain on the form not only your travel times to Namibia but also the travel time from Namibia to home.

    I wish you much joy in completing the form. I await your early reply.

    Yours sincerely,
    Hans Walther
    Director of the Weapons Authority Frankfurt am Main

    Sounds like the Director of Weapons Authority in Frankfurt wants you to have a permit.

    Like James said!
    I'll be applying for mine.
     
  12. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    but ragtimegal is booking his luggage/firearms through to windhoek, so he will not be able to retrieve them in frankfurt (same for you brickburn, the way you worded it to mr walther is that you will have the guns in your possesion and want to leave them with someone, which you wont unless you for some reason want to collect your luggage in frankfurt and check in again) . his question as far as i understand is, will he be able to leave the airport while his luggage/guns are held by the baggage dept . i would have thought it would be ok (you will have to clear immigration etc),as you will have your boarding cards for the namibian flight , so you just head back through security into departures on your return to the airport. maybe email mr walther at the airport and explain what you want to do.
     
  13. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    I'll be sending an email today, but I just found the following:

    It should be noted that a transfer is effected through Germany when changing planes at a German airport if the weapon/ammunition cannot be checked through to the destination airport. In cases where a transfer licence is required (see 5.1 and 5.2 above), this must be applied for from the weapon authority responsible for the airport in question. The authority responsible for Frankfurt/Main airport is:
    Stadt Frankfurt am Main Ordnungsamt 32.21.1 Postfach 11 17 31 60052 Frankfurt am Main Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 42422 / 44689 / 42416 / 42405 Fax: +49 (0)69 212 43365
    E-mail: bjg-waffg@stadt-frankfurt.de Internet: Frankfurt am Main : Ordnungsamt The licence should be applied for using the application form for transfer licences. A full itinerary and flight details must be provided.


    Link: http://www.oslo.diplo.de/contentblob/2105474/Daten/287205/Vaapen_DownloadDatei.pdf
     
  14. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I understand the difference in situations. "Who is holding the baggage in Frankfurt."
    I may be gaining control of my firearms and ragtimegal will not. His firearms will remain "checked baggage"

    What makes me nervous from my reading of the "details":
    I believe you have to declare your firearms when you enter the country, whether you have them in your hands or not.
    What if you are asked for your travel permit when you declare them?

    There is also a stipulation in the "details" about being able to produce proof from the (destination) third country of a permit or official proof none is required..
    I doubt anyone actually does this.

    I'll get my permit.

    In doubt, as you suggest Spike, contact Hans.
     
  15. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Obviously, do as you wish. But having done the Frankfurt transit several times - if you are checking bags through to Windhoek, then you are not "declaring firearms" in Germany because you are not actually entering the country with them. My concern would be creating a weapons possession issue in Frankfurt when there isn't one.
     
  16. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    redleg , my thoughts exactly .
     
  17. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Redleg, I would not want to create an issue where there isn't one. I agree.

    I get the point about "possession" and "entering the country" as I would interpret it here at home. I do not know how to read German and am trusting a translation without a date I can find. Hence my personal trepidation.

    I will not be able to check my bags all the way and will have to run around the airport with firearms in tow. I'll let you know how that goes.

    As you have obviously done successfully. I sincerely hope that ragtimegal, checks his guns all the way through and never sees them until he arrives at destination and has a lovely day in Frankfurt without incident.

    Anyone going through this process do let us all know how it goes.
     
  18. ragtimegal

    ragtimegal New Member

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    Thank you for the responses.

    Red Leg- you bring up a concern that I have, creating a firearms possession issue, when there is none. I am not retrieving my bags and firearms, as they are checked through to Windhoek. This is what makes me hesitant to fill out the forms anyway....just in case. As I have discovered with many aspects of planning this trip, you find conflicting information about rules, laws, etc., and the laws themselves can be grey.

    Bert the Turtle, thank you for the recommendations. I am looking forward to a little sight seeing and a lot of food on my layover.

    I will let everyone know how it goes, and if I find any definitive answers prior to my trip, I will post them here.

    Also, I am not a he. :)
     
  19. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    What part of the name rag time gal wasnt clear??? LOL I missed it too.
     
  20. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    People, there is no issue. The permit is free and takes 10 minutes to complete. Do not over think this. Fill out the form, email it to Hans, get the permit and move on with your life. As Americans, we are naturally hesitant about filling out government forms. This is Germany we are talking about. They do forms right and there are no hassles. Worst case scenario, you have a piece of paper that you don't need and you wasted 10 minutes of time.

    As I said before, the US Air woman wasn't going to let me put my rifle on the plane without the German form. I am no expert on German law, but I know a thing or two about small minded people in positions of authority. Does it matter that she was wrong? Hours of arguing with a minimum wage check-in girl just to prove my point is not the way I want to start my vacation. Besides, guess what happens if you piss her off. They "lose" your luggage. Ask me how I know.

    When the plane to Windhoek has a mechanical issue and you need to spend 2 days of vacation in Germany instead of Namibia... Remember, it is also a permit for your ammo, not just your rifle. I transport my ammo in my suitcase. I've spent four days in Frankfurt living out of just my carryon (see above), and it was fine because I pack with the assumption that the only bag I will have upon arrival is my carryon. Still, if you get stuck, you may want your main suitcase and you won't be getting that if your ammo is in it and you don't have a permit. Not saying it is likely that you will get stuck, but it is only one flight a day and planes do sometimes have a problem that needs to be fixed. My wife and son spent 8 hours circling Charlotte airport last summer rather than crossing the Atlantic because of some problem. The Frankfurt airport is not that great a place. Just fill out the form.
     

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