All explosives certificates are issued in accordance with the Explosives Regulations (ER) 2014. The two main types of explosive certificate are:

  • Acquire Only (EXA) This allows you to acquire a defined amount of explosives (eg 1 kilogram) from an approved supplier and use it on that day. Any unused explosive must either be returned to the supplier or destroyed in an approved manner 
  • Acquire and Keep (EXK) This allows you to stores explosives at a location for the duration of the certificate. The maximum amount of explosives that may be stored will depend on the nature of the explosives and the construction of the store. A Registered Competent Authority document (RCA) allowing you to transport the explosives is issued as part of the explosive certificate.

If you are applying for the grant of a certificate you should use one of the following forms:

ER2 - should be used for applications to store between 15kg and 2000kg of explosives In certain circumstances, depending on the hazard type and the amount of explosives to be kept, it may be necessary for the store to be either registered or licensed.

If you know this to be a case, please download the form below. If you are not sure, please contact the unit for advice. A fee is normally charged for registered or licensed stores.

If you wish to store more than 2000kg of explosives, you should make your application to the Health and Safety Executive.

ER4 - should be used by:

  • Clubs, Societies or any body corporate
  • Explosives that are not used in firearms or shotguns
  • Individuals who are not covered by the criteria for a ER4a

ER4a - should be used by individuals:

  • for their own use in their Firearms or Shotguns
  • for the possession of blackpowder/gunpowder at reenactment events


If you are renewing an explosives certificate, either Acquire Only (EXA) or an Acquire and Keep (EXK) and at the same time renewing a firearm or shotgun certificate or renewing a registered firearms dealership you may use a ER4b.

This form cannot be used to change explosive certificate type from an EXA to and EXK (or vice versa).


Visitors to the UK and residents outside of Great Britain must complete the ER4c application form for a Visitor Explosive Certificate to be issued.


For the majority of explosives certificates there is no fee for either an EXK or an EXA. However, if explosives are to be stored above a certain quantity or for a certain amount of time then a fee is sometimes chargeable. The fee due can vary considerably being dependant on hazard type, the length of storage and the amount stored (normally above 15kg).

Please contact the unit if you believe you may have to pay a fee.

Please be aware that any fee paid under the explosives regulations is paid in advance for the work done by the unit and is not normally refundable even if a certificate is refused.