Enrollment Instructions for FFLs

Hands on Computer Keys

To enroll in the NICS and request NICS background checks, please print and complete the FBI NICS Enrollment Form (pdf) and the FFL Acknowledgement of Responsibilities Form (pdf) included on this website.

The completed forms may be mailed to:

NICS Section
Attn: Enrollment
P.O. Box 4278
Clarksburg, WV 26302-4278

Or fax the form to (304) 625-0578.

The remaining form, entitled FFL Officer/Employee Acknowledgement (pdf), should be printed and filled out by any employees who will be conducting NICS checks on your behalf. This form does not need to be returned to the FBI; retain it for your records.

Responsibilities of a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

In accordance with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System has been established within the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the FBI to perform instant background checks on prospective firearms transferees. The following outlines certain NICS-related responsibilities of each FFL. These responsibilities also apply to an FFL’s officers, employees, agents, or other representatives. In the event of a conflict between this outline and a federal law or regulation, the provisions of the law or regulation shall control.

An FFL is responsible for understanding and complying with the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended, Brady, 28 C.F.R. Part 25, other applicable provisions of law or regulation, and other pertinent policies, procedures, or guidance as have been or may be established by the FBI CJIS Division or by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Use of NICS

  • Authorized use of the NICS is limited to the purpose of obtaining information on whether receipt of a firearm by a prospective transferee would violate federal or state law.
  • FFLs, their officers, employees, agents, and/or other representatives are permitted to request background checks of the NICS only for the authorized purpose.
  • Accessing or using the NICS, or permitting access or use of the NICS by another, for any unauthorized purpose is a violation of federal law, sanctions for which may include criminal prosecution; a civil fine not to exceed $10,000, and/or cancellation of NICS inquiry privileges.

Access to NICS

  • Calls to the NICS Operation Center may be initiated from any telephone including pay and/or cellular phones. However, FFLs should understand the risk of call interception and monitoring when using a cellular phone.
  • When enrolling in the NICS, the FFL will select a code word consisting of six to ten alphabetical and/or numeric characters.
  • FFLs are not required to change their code word; conversely, a code word will remain active indefinitely if there is no request for change. However, FFLs are encouraged to change their code words if they suspect that unauthorized persons have gained knowledge of the code word, or that authorized personnel are misusing the system.
  • FFLs shall limit knowledge of their code word to themselves, their officer(s), employee(s), agent(s), and/or other representative(s) whose duties include performing background checks in compliance with the Gun Control Act, as amended.


  • FFLs may not disclose the NICS response (“PROCEED”, “DELAYED”, or “DENIED”, and NICS Transaction Number [NTN]) to persons other than (1) the prospective firearm purchaser, (2) the FBI NICS Operations Center (or its) agent or a participating State Point of Contact, (3) ATF, (4) authorized representatives of the foregoing, or (5) others as authorized by law.


  • FFLs are required to accurately record the NTN they receive in a NICS response on the appropriate ATF form for audit and inspection purposes, consistent with the 27 CFR Part 178.124 record keeping requirements.
  • FBI supervisory staff will periodically monitor telephone inquiries as an internal quality assurance measure as well as to ensure proper use of the system.

FFL Data Integrity

  • The FFL shall notify the FBI NICS Operations Center of changes in contact information, such as telephone number or mailing address.

Individuals Requesting NICS Checks on the FFL’s Behalf

  • Individuals requesting NICS checks on the FFL’s behalf (including FFL officers, employees, agents, and/or other representatives) shall understand and agree to abide by the security guidelines outlined herein. Appendix A is provided as a tool that FFLs may use to document such an individual’s acknowledgment.

Reporting Burden

  • A person is not required to respond to any collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The FBI has created the Responsibilities of the FFL under the NICS and the FFL Execution of Acknowledgment of Responsibilities so they are easily understood and require the least possible burden on you to provide us with information. The reporting burden for collection of information on both the Responsibilities and the Acknowledgment is computed as: 1) learning about the documents, 10 minutes; 2) completing the Acknowledgment, five minutes; 3) assembling, mailing or faxing the form to the FBI, three minutes, for an estimated average of 18 minutes per response. If you have comments regarding the accuracy of the estimates or suggestions for making this form simpler, you can write to the FBI, NICS Operations Center, P.O. Box 4278, Clarksburg, WV 26302-4278.

Enrollment Form Items

  • Federal Firearms License Number - This is the 15-digit number assigned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Code Word - This is a code word of your choice to be used as a verification of identity when you contact the NICS Program Office. The code word MUST be between 6 and 10 characters in length, and can include both numbers and letters. NO OBSCENE WORDS OR PHRASES PLEASE.
  • Name of Federal Firearm Licensee - The name of the individual or corporation licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to sell firearms.
  • License Type - TYPE 1 will be the Gun Dealer and TYPE 2 will be the pawnbroker.
  • Name of Licensee Business - Store name.
  • Street Address - Please fill in the entire mailing address section. This is the street address of your licensed premise.
  • Business Phone Number - Please write the complete telephone number including area code.
  • Point of Contact Person - This is the person the FBI will call first when contacting your store. It is only needed if different from the name of the licensee. This may be a store manager or other responsible individual chosen by the licensee to represent the licensee for NICS matters, including password changes, billing questions, etc.
  • Point of Contact Phone Number - This is the telephone number the FBI will call first when contacting your store. It is only needed if different from the business phone number. Please include area code.
  • Business Fax Number - Please write the complete telephone number including area code.