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eForms Wait Times and Rumors

April 6, 2022 No comments

ATF eForms - Rumors and Facts

We've received quite a few questions and have heard many assumptions and predictions when addressing the ATF's new eForm system for Form 4 submissions. Capitol Armory has submitted thousands of forms electronically, and we continue to submit/certify daily. Let's address some of the common questions and try to dispel some of the (sometimes downright silly) rumors surrounding electronic forms.

Rumor: eForms is currently taking 90 (or 60, 30, 7, etc) days for Form 4 approval.

Fact: We don't know the current wait time average as it's too early in the system's life to tell. There have been a small number of approved forms, but the submission dates for those approvals is not consistent or chronological. There are forms submitted in early January 2022 that have not been approved yet and they are now beyond the 90-day time frame. With that being said, it is a fantastic sign we are already seeing some approvals from the eForms system!

Rumor: An eForm approval will only take days while a paper approval will take forever!

Fact: There is no real evidence to substantiate this. With the addition of eForms, we've seen some very aggressive processing/approval for paper forms. Some people with only a couple items submitted are receiving approvals in a fraction of the time. There is still a backlog of paper forms, but the ATF appears to be focused on clearing it. In the case of those with multiple paper forms pending approval, the ATF is pushing them through quicker than we have seen before. At this point in time, we do expect electronic submissions to be faster as it eliminates the physical transportation of forms as well as manual data entry by the ATF.

Rumor: I can file my own Form 4 myself.

Fact: Unless you're an FFL, this isn't possible. The system is currently set up to allow only FFLs to utilize the electronic Form 4 submissions.

Rumor: If I have an electronic fingerprint card file, I can submit that for a faster approval.

Fact: Electronic fingerprint files (EFT) are not a universal standard. The ATF does allow a file to be uploaded, but the EFT file must meet specific standards for the eForms system to read the file correctly. Submitting physical cards to the ATF does not seem to have any effect on the application speed when compared to electronic fingerprint submissions.

With the biggest rumors out of the way, let's address some important points regarding eForms:

  • The ATF has very strict guidelines on how an electronic Form 4 must be submitted, and there were previously significant differences between filing as an individual vs filing with a trust. The ATF has now changed their stance and is allowing remote certification for both individuals and trusts.
  • eForms is an electronic process, and as such requires access to a computer (desktop or laptop) and a working knowledge of basic software, PDFs, and online navigation. Users must have access to an email account, be able to utilize basic websites, and be familiar with internet functionality. It's not overly complicated but does take access to common hardware and a bit of computer knowledge.
  • Your name and email address within your ATF eForms profile must match the information within your Capitol Armory profile. Without an exact match, we cannot proceed past the certification step and the form cannot be submitted.
  • Submitted Form 4s will not appear in your personal eForms account. Since Capitol Armory submitted the forms, they only appear within our account. If you've certified a Form 4 and don't see it within your own eForms account, there's no need to worry as that's how it should be.
  • Unfortunately, there's no way to check the status of a submitted form. When the eForm is certified, it's in the ATF's system and the next step is approval. They do not inform us of any progression or potential timeline with submitted forms.