Guide

Exporting goods outside the EU

Export licences and other controls

Exports of some goods are controlled. You may need to apply for a licence, or comply with specific regulations.

Weapons and other goods and technologies with a potential military use may require an export licence from the Department for International Trade (DIT). If goods are to pass through more than one country, you are likely to need a licence for each transit country.

All military controlled items and some highly sensitive dual-use goods need a licence, even if the export is made to another European Union (EU) country. Some may be subject to sanctions or embargoes with total or partial bans on exporting such goods to named third countries.

Less sensitive controlled dual-use goods exports need a licence if shipped outside the EU.

Controls also apply to the brokering - which can include warehousing and shipping - and transport of dual-use goods. In addition, UK nationals who trade outside the UK in strategically controlled goods between overseas countries may need a trade control licence through the UK.

There are wider restrictions on exports to countries subject to sanctions.

Use the OGEL and Goods Checker tools.

Agricultural products and processed foods typically require a Common Agricultural Policy licence from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). They may also be subject to a refund or a levy.

Exports of valuable antiques and works of art may need a licence from the Export Licensing Unit of the Arts Council.

Exports of dangerous chemicals outside the EU may need to be notified in advance to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and BEIS. Businesses that trade more than one tonne of chemicals a year must register with the EU chemical management agency REACH. Read a basic guide to REACH.

Live animals, meat and plants may need licensing and health inspection from various UK-based government agencies before your goods reach their destination. Read more about animal and plant export regulations.

Other products subject to export controls or licensing requirements include medicines and controlled drugs and the chemicals used in their manufacture, rough diamonds being exported out of the EU, exported waste and certain species of fish, which may be subject to a ban or quota. Your trade association may be able to advise on export controls applying to your products.