When is this undertaking required?
An undertaking is required when applying for a Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) or Standard Individual Trade Control Licence issued by the UK's Export Control Organisation (ECO), part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
It is part of the supporting documentation for End-Use Control purposes which needs to be provided when submitting an export licence application via SPIRE to the ECO. Read more about End-Use Controls.
What undertakings are available?
There are two types of undertaking forms available. Which one you - the exporter - opt to obtain in support of an application depends on how the intended exports will be used.
If goods are being exported (whether via a consignee or not):
- for their end-use or if an end-user is incorporating the goods (ie installing them into another product or higher level system) - then you should obtain an End User Undertaking (EUU) Form.
- to be held in stock for future delivery or re-sale - then you should obtain a Stockist Undertaking (SU) Form.
Who should complete the relevant form?
The end-user or stockist end-user should be advised to complete the relevant version of these forms together with a covering letter (on original official headed paper of the overseas company).
It is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that all sections of the correct undertaking and covering letter are completed legibly, in English and signed by an appropriate responsible official. They should also attach a copy of the undertaking to attach to the licence application on SPIRE and retain the original in their records.
ECO reserves the right to require an exporter to produce the original document, if necessary. They would expect to make such requests on rare occasions only.
However, if you are specifically asked to provide the original undertaking during the course of the export licence application process, then you should be aware that ECO will not issue a licence if you fail to provide the original document.
What if a template undertaking form is not used by the end-user?
If the end-user or stockist end-user chooses not to use the template forms issued by ECO, you should advise them that the UK Authorities require an original (not 'digital') signed and dated undertaking in English on their headed paper (where the end-user is a company or a legal entity).
This document needs to provide the same information and assurances as specified in the relevant forms published by ECO.
If an undertaking form is completed by an individual (as opposed to a company) this does not need to be on headed paper.
See also guidance on situations where you are unable to obtain an undertaking from the overseas company (questions eight and nine) in frequently asked questions on undertakings.
Exceptions (occasions when an Undertaking is not required)
In general an application for a SIEL licence for temporary export will not need an EUU. Every other SIEL application needs to be accompanied by some documentation from the end-User country. In almost all cases this will be a relevant undertaking template. However, in certain circumstances, the following alternatives may be accepted:
- if the foreign buyer is a government body, then any or all of the following may be accepted in lieu of an EUU - either a purchase order, a copy of relevant pages from the contract or an International Import Certificate.
- when applying for an export licence for small arms export, then a Prior Import Consent (PIC) is required from the appropriate European Union member state (in lieu of an EUU).