Guide

How to determine if your goods need an export licence

How to use the Control List Numbers (rating) appearing on export licences

The Control List Number appearing on the licence is the control entry classification of the items being exported as assessed against the various export legislation administered by the Export Control Organisation (ECO).

The number is typically called the 'rating'. It is an important piece of information, which may help with your future business planning if you intend to export goods of the same nature in future.

For example, by researching the details of the control entry classifications you can see what similar equipment might be controlled, and thus establish whether licences will be needed for them as well, or indeed whether the less restrictive Open General or Open Individual Export Licences also issued by the ECO would be appropriate for future exports.

Types of 'ratings' and their implications

You might see various different types of 'rating' references listed on an issued export licence. These are:

  • Control List Numbers starting with ML or PL are military or UK dual-use controlled items. ML classified items and most PL classified items will always require an export licence regardless of their intended destination, but it may be possible to use Open General Export Licences (OGELs) in some instances. By looking at the Control List entry against the OGEL Checker tool, you can identify where this may apply for your future exports.
  • Control List Numbers starting with a number followed by a letter (e.g. 2B350i) are dual-use goods specified by the EU Dual-Use Regulation. A licence will be required for future exports of those goods for destinations outside the European Union, with only a limited number of those items requiring a licence to EU member states, but again, OGELs may be available.
  • Control List Numbers beginning with RS are items specified by the UK's radioactive sources legislation and those with a HR are items specified by the EU Regulation on capital punishment and torture.
  • The Control List Numbers marked as 'restrictive measures' are country specific controls that are a result of embargoes or sanctions against a particular export destination.
  • Goods marked with a Control List Number of either END or MEND are items that have been controlled because of concerns about their possible end-use. These are sometimes referred to as the 'catch-all' controls. Future exports of the same or similar goods may not require licences if the destination and/or end user are different, because the same concerns may not apply.

The Control Lists

For the full control text associated with each of the above 'ratings', except 'restrictive measures' and end-use ratings, please download the Control List PDF documents. Read more about UK Strategic Export Controls - the consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items.

Online Search Tools

You can use the Control List Classification Search Tool (which is available when you log into the SPIRE database) in conjunction with the Goods Checker tool (see below) to help you identify where your goods may be controlled in the Control Lists.

The Control List Classification Search Tool is designed to help you search the SPIRE database for any previous 'rating' assessments made by the ECO's Technical Assessment Unit. By entering a short keyword to describe your goods, software or technology, you can get a list of possible relevant Control List Classifications, also known as 'ratings'. You can then follow up these suggestions by looking directly at the relevant control entries, either by viewing the Control Lists themselves, or using Goods Checker, to determine whether your item is controlled.

Use the OGEL and Goods Checker.

Use the SPIRE service.

Open General Export Licences

To see if the items in question can be exported under Open General Export Licences (OGELs) in the future, please consider using the ECO's OGEL and Goods Checker database.

See an introduction to Open General Export Licences (OGELs).