How to determine if your goods need an export licence

What is the Control List Classification Advice Service?

If you export strategic goods and technology from the UK, you may need a licence from the Export Control Organisation (ECO). Exports licensed by the ECO include:

  • military goods
  • dual-use goods
  • goods with potential use as weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
  • goods with potential use in torture
  • radioactive sources

If you do not know how your goods should be 'rated' and are unable to self-rate, you can request the ECO's Technical Assessment Unit (TAU) to make an assessment of your goods. This request should be made via the ECO's Control List Classification Service option available on the SPIRE website.

TAU is made up of a team of engineers and scientists - all with industrial experience - who provide advice to exporters and other parts of government on the technical application of the export control legislation.

A 'Control List Classification Advice' enquiry is the process of asking whether what you intend to export features on a Control List. It is an advisory service only and is not a licence to export.

If the answer to this is 'yes', then a licence will be required before you can export. Alternatively, if the answer is 'no', then you will only require a licence if there are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or Military End-Use concerns about overseas entities who you intend to deal with.

You are not obliged to use the Control List Classification Advice Service. If you are able to do so, you are advised to determine the goods rating yourself by 'self-rating'. This will be a quicker option. Read more about self-rating - identify your goods on the Control Lists.

Submitting a request for the Control List Classification Advice Service

All Control List Classification Advice Service requests should be made via ECO's SPIRE online application system.

Use the SPIRE service.

You can only ask for four items to be rated at a time. Larger enquiries or multiple applications will usually be rejected.

The service is based on the information that it receives from you. If you give false or misleading information, the advice will not be correct. However, you will still be legally responsible for complying with export control legislation.

TAU will check the supplied goods descriptions in relation to the published export control legislative requirements detailed in the UK Strategic Export Control Lists and additional Sanctions Lists.

Read more about the information needed to rate strategic goods.

You should be aware that there is no validity period for Control List status advice. This does not mean that you need to request new advice every time the Control Lists change, since only specific parts of the list are updated. However, you should keep informed of changes and take appropriate action as a result. For more information see updates to the UK Strategic Export Control Lists.