What is UKARA?
First of all, what isn’t: it is NOT a licence – no such thing exists for airsoft replicas, nor is it required for their ownership or use.
UKARA operates a national database of active airsoft players at recognised and insured skirmish sites across the country. This database can be accessed by most major retailers as well as the police and HM Customs. To get an entry on the database a player must meet certain criteria:
- Firstly they must be aged 18 or above, as it is illegal for a minor to buy or sell any kind of imitation firearm, even brightly coloured ones.
- They must have played a minimum of three games over a minimum period of two months at a qualifying site.
Once these conditions are met, an application is made via the skirmish site and their entry is added to the database. It remains live for a period of one year, after which it becomes inactive unless the player asks for it to be reactivated for a further year. Reactivation can only take place if the player is still attending games at the qualifying site.
Do I need UKARA to buy a RIF?
No. You simply need to be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt to the seller that you meet the exemption criteria. An active UKARA database entry is by far the simplest method of providing this proof however, which is why it is recommended.
Another way is to purchase a RIF from your skirmish site – any approved site will hold records of your attendance which is all that is required to prove exemption.
In theory, a retailer could contact the site which you say you are regular at and take their word for it, in practice however, this is time consuming and may not stand up in court, so most retailers will not do this.
How do I get a UKARA number?
Contact your local site and ask them for a UKARA number. It is best if you can provide the dates you played in order to speed things up and make things easier. Some sites will ask you to become a member of the site or pay an admin fee. These are usually around £10-£20 for a year and are an easy way of supporting your local site as well so I recommend you do this.
The site will ask for any and all details needed and you will receive your UKARA number via email once it is on the database. From the date of that email you will have it for 12 months.
NOTE: Your UKARA number is linked to the site you first got it. If you wish to renew, you need to have met the criteria above at the same site. If you have moved/changed site you can apply for a new one as if you never had one.