Undertakings for OIELs and SIELs

Frequently asked questions on Undertakings

The following are questions that users may have about an undertaking form required for strategic export licence applications.

1. What is an undertaking and why is it required?

This is a document completed by the end user or stockist end-user which details who they are, where they are based and for what purpose they are using the goods. There are different forms which are relevant for either Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL), Standard Individual Trade Control Licence (SITCL) or Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) applications.

When applying for a SIEL, the exporter needs to attach either an End-User Undertaking (EUU) or Stockist End-User Undertaking (SU) form to the application submitted via SPIRE, ECJU's export licensing database.

When applying for a SIEL to export chemicals listed under Schedule 3 of the Chemical Weapons Convention then an End-User Certificate (EUC) is required.

When applying for an OIEL, a Consignee Undertaking is required.

2. Who should complete and sign an undertaking?

The undertaking should be completed and signed by a person properly authorised by the end-user or stockist end-user to sing on their behalf (the responsible official).

In the case of an EUC used for chemical exports, then the undertaking needs to be stamped by a recognised foreign government department or ministry within the recipient country.

3. Does the end user have to complete the undertaking form in English?

Each undertaking (eg EUU, SU, EUC), official purchase order, or copy of the relevant part of the contract covering the order, must be written in English. Alternatively, if written in a foreign language, the document must be accompanied by an English translation. Every English translation must be verified by the proprietor of the business applying for a licence, or a partner, director or company secretary of the firm, or anyone authorised to sign the licence application. Alternatively, if you prefer, translations may be verified by a member of the Institute of Translators or a Notary Public.

4. How should the end user authenticate the undertaking form?

It is the exporter's responsibility to obtain an original form from their end user or stockist end-user as appropriate. Each page of that form must contain an original signature and be dated. With each completed form, the end user or stockist end-user must provide a covering letter on their headed stationery. The letter must be signed and dated by the same signatory who has completed and signed the form.

5. When should the end user complete the undertaking form?

You (the UK exporter) should send a copy of the completed form with your licence application on SPIRE. If you obtain the undertaking before you are ready to submit your application, we will normally accept undertakings as valide within six months of the date of the application.

6. We supply to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who incorporate our products into their own which they then sell to their own customers. Who is the end user in this case?

The end-user is the entity that uses or processes goods in some way. If you supply to OEMs then they should complete the EUU form.

You are advised to download the export scenarios.

7. We sell to a distributor. At time of export we have no way of knowing who they will sell to or what the goods will be used for. Who is the end user in this case?

The Stockist Undertaking (SU) is completed by the distributor (as stockist). If the ultimate end user is known at the time of export, then the Export Control Organisation (ECO) needs to know and an End User Undertaking (EUU) should be completed.

8. Sometimes we are unable to obtain an undertaking from our end user. What should we do?

The ECJU asks exporters to provide as much detail as possible, and they also encourage exporters to set up appropriate contracts with suppliers - as they are your goods, how do you protect your business from sales you wouldn't want to be involved in? If the agent sites commercial reasons for not providing an undertaking, they would accept them directly from the agent.

You need to perform due diligence. If an end user is unable to provide an undertaking then this might be a reason to be suspicious about the transaction.

9. Can the ECJU accept any other documents instead of an undertaking?

The ECO would advise you to complete the relevant template form, but in some cases they will accept other documents - for instance if you are completing a government purchase or contract. If you provide documents other than an undertaking then you need to include the same information as requested on the template undertaking form.

10. How long are consignee undertakings (for OIELs) valid for?

Undertakings are valid for one year. Note that they must be obtained in advance.