Fastest eForm 4 Wait Times & What it Means for the FutureFastest eForm 4 Wait Times & What it Means for the Future
  • Revolutionary Speed: Recent improvements in eForm 4 processing have led to record-breaking approval times for NFA items, particularly suppressors and SBRs. 
  • ATF Enhancements: Learn about ATF's new protocols and the FBI's prioritized background checks that contribute to these fast approvals. 
  • Trust Bundling and More: Get your silencers faster with the new trust bundling method that's helping clear backlogs and streamline approvals for all applicants. 

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eForm 4 Wait Times

ATF eForms is the electronic submission system for the National Firearms Act (NFA) items. The implementation of an electronic submission significantly sped up processing times due to increased efficiency. Documents could be moved between departments instantly instead of paper forms needing to be sent by mail or moved from desk to desk. 

Since eForms came back online in 2022, we have seen a wide range of average approval times, starting around 90 days (about three months), getting as long as 8-10 months, and leveling off around six months throughout most of last year. 

NFA wait times have generally trended down over the past few years, with paper forms taking a year or more, eForms averaging around half that time, and now we're seeing even faster suppressor approval times. 

ATF eForm 4 applications have been approved in as fast as one dayATF eForm 4 applications have been approved in as fast as one day

Fastest Form 4 Wait Times Ever

If you've been in online gun spaces like Reddit or Instagram, you've probably seen some people getting silencers approved very fast, often in just a few days. These are not anomalies; in fact, the average ATF eForm 4 wait time has fallen from roughly 180 days (about six months) down to single-digit times. 

Silencer Shop offers the easiest way to get silencers, short-barreled rifles, and other NFA times, and now approvals are coming back faster than we have ever seen. 

Why Are eForm 4 Approvals Faster?

In mid-March 2024, the ATF hosted a town hall for all Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs); basically, any business in the firearms industry could attend. The focus of the meeting was eForm 4 approval times. 

ATF Deputy Assistant Director James Vann explained that the bureau had been making improvements to the processing system, firstly for individual submissions and then for trust submissions, which resulted in rapid eForm 4 approval times. When asked about these single-day approval times, Vann stated, "This is the new normal." 

The March update also revealed updates to how the FBI prioritizes NICS background checks, which historically have been a drag on the NFA wait time. These changes are a significant reason these fast approvals are possible.  

Current NFA Wait Times

Right now, NFA wait times are faster than they have ever been—faster than paper forms, faster than the early days of eForms, and faster than ever.  

eForm 4 applications have been approved in a single day! A few months ago, that was completely unheard of, but now we see them commonly. 

On average, eForm 4s are taking about two days according to our NFA tracker. 

NFA enthusiasts would have rejoiced if NFA wait times were averaging 48 days, that would have been faster than we've ever seen, but measuring eForm approval times in hours is what the tax stamp collecting community has always dreamed of. 

fastest NFA wait times everfastest NFA wait times ever

Are Trusts Approvals As Fast As Individual?

Yes, both trust and individual applications are coming back very fast, we have seen single-day approvals for both types of applications. The averages are coming down quickly for both trust and individual submissions. 

If you're looking at the NFA Wait Time Tracker, it will appear that trusts are taking longer than individuals, but this is due to how ATF implemented these changes. 

The agency cleared the backlog of individual applications before updating this new process, but the same still needs to be done for trusts. 

So, while we consistently see trust applications approved in a few days, the average appears higher as all of the older applications are being approved. Trust applications submitted after this process change, around March 15th, 2024, seem to be processing very quickly. 

The Deputy Assistant Director also added, "If you're a trust applicant and you're waiting on this, you shouldn't be waiting much longer."  

What Is a Standardized Trust?

ATF leadership talked about "standardized" trusts and how they will be prioritized for processing. 

A standardized trust is any trust commonly submitted to the ATF, where the only information that changes is the responsible person (RP)and firearms information, but all of the legal information remains the same. They also claimed that trusts with just one responsible party would likely see faster processing. 

These trusts are moving faster because the agency does not have to spend time verifying that the trust is valid, as they've already seen it before.  

Trusts with one RP (1RP) will also move quicker as there is only one person to run background checks and verify submission info for, versus having to do those steps for everyone named on the trust. 

The Silencer Shop Single Shot trust meets all of these requirements: 

  • It is standardized. 
  • It is the most commonly submitted trust to the ATF. 
  • There is only one responsible person at the time of submission. 

This trust gives you all of the benefits of having your silencer on a trust, and now it's processing amazingly fast. The Silencer Shop traditional NFA trust is also standardized but may not have only 1RP if you've added family or friends.  

What Is Trust Bundling? Suppressor Batch Approvals

When ATF was asked about the backlog of silencers, they spoke about "Trust bundling," which is what we used to call "batch approvals."  

When an eForm 4 is approved, ATF should also approve any other eForm 4s you have pending. If you've had a suppressor pending for five months and add a new can to your collection that gets approved in a few days, the older silencer will also get approved. 

This is designed to decrease the number of in-process applications and should work to lower approval times even further as older forms are approved.  

How to Check Form 4 Status Online?

The ATF will send you status updates any time the status of your application changes, generally you'll receive emails when the eForm is certified and when it is approved. Those emails come from eforms.notifications@atf.gov (go ahead and set up notifications for that address.) 

You cannot see an eForm 4 in your ATF eForms account because your dealer will submit the form, which will be in their account.  

You can get NFA updates from the ATF by calling (304) 616-4500 or emailing ipb@atf.gov, but the agency requests you only reach out if you are over their posted wait time. 

Conclusion

The strides made in speeding up eForm 4 processing are nothing short of revolutionary for NFA item approvals, especially regarding suppressors. 

These new ATF procedures and the FBI's targeted approach to background checks have caused wait times to drastically drop, hitting record lows. 

If you're using standardized trusts, you might even see approvals come through in the same day. For all the NFA enthusiasts and tax stamp collectors out there, these changes are a huge win, delivering the fast results we've all been hoping for.  

ATF eForm 4 FAQs

How long are eForm 4 taking?  

ATF eForm 4 applications have been approved in as fast as one day. 

How will I know when my ATF eForm 4 is approved?

You and your dealer will get an email from eforms.notifications@atf.gov notifying you of the approval. 

Are suppressors going to be removed from the NFA?

Suppressors are still subject to the NFA. Silencer Shop supports advocacy organizations like the American Suppressor Association to fight for suppressor rights and freedoms across the country.