Licences and enforcement for international trading

Major export licences, permits and certificates


When you export, identify the commodity code for your goods to find out if you need a licence. You can do this using the UK Integrated Tariff. A full list of commodity codes is available in volume 2.

Access the UK Trade Tariff

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) licences are required for exporting raw or processed food and are issued and controlled by the Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID). Read more about preparing to trade in CAP goods.

You will require an export licence issued by the Export Control Organisation for weapons and other strategic goods with a potential military use, called 'dual-use' products. Trafficking and brokering - including warehousing and shipping - either military or dual-use strategic goods also carries restrictions.

All military controlled items and some highly sensitive dual-use goods and goods subject to end-use controls need a licence, even if the export is made to another European Union (EU) country.

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

To find out about strategic export controls, see Export Control Organisation.

If you export animals and animal products, and certain plants, you will require a Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) supply licence. Exports of endangered plant and animal species and products made from them require CITES licences. 

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) administers controls and quotas on trade in ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and products and equipment containing those substances, such as:

  • refrigeration and air-conditioning products
  • fire-fighting and foam-blowing equipment
  • aerosols and solvents

Licences are required for all controlled drugs. Find information about exporting controlled drugs.

Export licences from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and occasionally BIS are needed to move dangerous chemicals outside the EU. The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure gives importing countries the opportunity to refuse, or apply conditions to, imports of certain dangerous chemicals. Read more about PIC.

Export licences are required for other products - for more information, see licences for importing and exporting particular products.