Appealing a Denied or Delayed Background Check Response

Persons who believe they have been erroneously denied or delayed a firearm transfer based on a match to a record returned by the NICS may request an appeal of their “deny” or “delay” decision.  All appeal inquiries must be submitted to the NICS Section’s Appeal Service Team (AST) in writing, either online on the FBI’s website at or via mail.  The person appealing the decision must provide their complete name, complete mailing address, and NICS Transaction Number.  For persons appealing a delayed transaction, a fingerprint card is required and must be submitted with the appeal, although the fingerprint card is merely recommended on appeals for denied applications.  This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is required per the FBI’s website.

At times a person may be erroneously denied or delayed on multiple occassions.  Those that have this issue can apply for a Unique Personal Identification number or UPIN.  Some individuals may have a name which is common enough (or happens to be flagged for other reasons) that it causes undue delays or denials in the background check verification process through NICS.  For that reason, NICS maintains the Voluntary Appeal File database (VAF) which allows any applicant to apply by submitting an appeal request and then obtain a UPIN .  A person who has been cleared through the VAF and receives a UPIN will then be able to use their UPIN when completing Form 4473 in order to help avoid further erroneous denials or extended delays.  A person can obtain a UPIN by following the procedures outlined on the FBI’s website at


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