How to determine if your goods need an export licence

Information needed to rate strategic goods


To use the Control List Classification Advice Service provided by the Export Control Organisation (ECO) you must supply detailed information about each item on your application. This will be assessed by the ECO's Technical Assessment Unit (TAU), who will decide whether your items need an export licence.

You should remember that the service is not related to any particular specific export destination or end-user - it will only confirm if your equipment features on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists.

Information needed for a Control List Classification Advice Service request includes:

  • original design purpose - particularly if different from current intended use
  • brochures, data sheets and 'short form' descriptions (but not manuals unless specifically requested)
  • type and functions of the goods
  • technical parameters (not just weight and size)
  • identifying general purpose items - ie designed for no specific equipment - and provide clear explanations about nature of items
  • your own preliminary 'rating' assessment

Providing the information above at the outset will minimise any potential delays in processing your case.

In particular, it is important to provide the following:

Simple descriptions

Provide a simple description of the goods and possible uses, suitable for the layman with little knowledge of your business.

Military use and applications

One of TAU's key checks is to determine whether your goods are specially designed or modified for military use, regardless of end-use.

Where goods are destined for military use or where military applications are apparent in the product literature, you should identify the design origins and original intended use of the goods. However, this may not be necessary where the design origin is reasonably obvious - such as a machine gun or fighter aircraft. Often, the original design intent is not clear, especially where there are military and civil variants of the goods.

For arms and military goods we need the year of manufacture, if they are 50 or more years old.

Goods used as components

If your goods are components of a system or are used to make or repair another product, you must describe the system in detail, including:

  • type
  • model
  • function

You must say whether the items or components are being used according to their original design function, or have been modified to meet another purpose.

Known Control List Classification Entry or 'Rating'

Where known you should indicate the Control List Classification or 'rating' of each item. We recommend that before you submit an enquiry you should undertake a 'self-rating' assessment of your own. Read more about self-rating - identify your goods on the Control List and training and online tools to help you self-rate.

Previous enquiry details

Make sure that you supply reference numbers of previous export licence application, rating enquiries or Control List Classification Advice enquiries for similar or identical items.

You should also ensure that any specific information previously requested by the ECO is re-sent with your current enquiry.