How to determine if your goods need an export licence



Exports can require a licence from the Export Control Organisation (ECO), for one of two reasons:

  • the goods are listed on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists or are on additional Sanctions Lists - as a result a licence is required because they are classified as 'controlled' items, regardless of the end-user.
  • the goods are not listed, but there are concerns about end-use. For instance, there might be concerns that an overseas organisation might make use of the items in a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or military programme in an embargoed destination. In these cases, the ECO has the power to make an export licensable via the 'End-Use Control'.

Before either registering or applying for any type of export licence issued by the ECO, you firstly need to check whether your items are listed on a Control List. In making this check on the control status of your goods, you have two options. You can:

  • self-rate your goods by checking the specific classification entry references or 'ratings' on the Control Lists.
  • request a technical assessment of your goods via the Control List Classification Advice Service available on the ECO's SPIRE export licensing database.

Additionally, if you are exporting non-listed dual-use or military goods, you can refer to advice from the ECO where there may be concerns about end-use by using the End-User Advice Service (available via SPIRE).

This guide explains more about how you can:

  • make your own self-assessment of the 'rating' of your goods (self-rating).
  • make use of the ECO's information and online tools - Goods Checker and the Control List Classification Search Tool on the SPIRE database - to support you in making an informed judgement.
  • increase your knowledge of the Control Lists and self-assessing your goods classification rating by attending an ECO training course.
  • make use of the appropriate, distinct advice services provided by the ECO - either the Control List Classification Advice Service if requiring a technical assessment of goods or the End-User Advice Service to ask ECO for advice on end-user concerns.

If you already aware of the 'rating' of your goods or have been 'informed' of end-user concerns, you need to apply for the appropriate export licence via ECO's SPIRE export licensing database. Further details about potential licence application types is available in our guidance on types of licences elsewhere on this site.

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