How to determine if your goods need an export licence

Other issues involved in determining the need for export licences

End-Use Concerns

Even if your goods are not listed on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists (including either the UK Military or Dual-Use Lists), you may still need an export licence under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or Military End-Use Controls.

WMD goods include industrial items and materials that could be used in a WMD programme. They are licensable by government on a one-off basis, where there are suspicions that they might be used for WMD purposes.

Under military end-use controls, you need a licence to export items for:

  • dual-use items that are - or may be - intended for use with military equipment
  • dual-use items that may be intended for use as parts of military goods illegally obtained from the UK.

If the ECO has advised that your goods do not feature on a Control List, but you now have doubts about how they will be used, you should apply for advice via the End-User Advice Service.

Read more about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) End-Use Control and Military End-Use Controls guidance note.

Are there sanctions and embargoes imposed on your export destination?

You should also be aware of other licensing considerations including whether there are any sanctions or embargoes that apply to your intended export destination.

See current arms embargoes and other restrictions.

Applying for a licence

If you are aware, by whatever means (such as by self-rating, by making a Control List Classification Service request or by being informed of end-use concerns) that your goods are controlled, then you will need to apply for the appropriate licence.

The ECO issues various types of licence - the most common types being an Open General Export Licence (OGEL), Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) or Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL). Read more about licences - export, trade control and transhipment.

Can you use an OGEL?

When applying for licences, you should first consider whether you might be able to use an Open General Export Licence (OGEL). OGELs are pre-published licences which are issued by the ECO to cover the export of less restricted controlled goods to less restricted destinations. Using OGELs could potentially save you time and money.

There are currently over 40 published OGELs which licence the export of both specified dual-use and military goods to specified destinations.

Before using all OGELs you should carefully read and be prepared to adhere to all the specific terms and conditions. You will also need to know the 'rating' of your goods. All OGEL holders are subject to Compliance Audits made by the ECO.

See introduction to Open General Export Licences (OGELs).