Licences - Export, Trade Control and Transhipment
If you export military or dual-use items that are controlled for export purposes - either because they are listed on a UK Strategic Export Control List, listed in a specific Sanctions List or controlled under the End-Use Controls - then you will need to apply for an appropriate licence from the UK's Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU).
There are a number of licence types which you may be able to use to export your items. You need to be aware of the different types and adhere to any relevant terms and conditions.
In this guide you can access more information on the types of licences available - open general licences, standard individual export licences, open individual export licences, global project licences, trade control licences and transhipment licences.
Open General Licences
Open General Licences (OGLs) (also known as Open General Export Licences or OGELs) are the most flexible licence type issued by the Export Control Organisation (ECO) for the control of 'strategic' military and dual-use items. Using them could potentially save you both time and money. If you can meet the all the terms and conditions of a relevant OGL you should consider using one, if appropriate to your export needs.
OGLs are pre-published licences available in the public domain. They allow the export of less restricted items to less restricted destinations but that still require an export licence prior to shipment.
Each OGL details specific terms and conditions of use, including the items and destinations permitted for export by the licence.
There are different types of OGLs for export and trade control purposes. OGLs provide licensing coverage for specified military, dual-use, transhipment and other items.
The European Union also publishes a number of EU General Export Authorisations (EU GEAs). These licences are the EU equivalent of the UK's published OGLs. They provide licensing coverage for specified dual-use items and technology to listed destinations by any exporter providing the licence terms and conditions are met.
Registering for and using an OGL
To use any OGL you will first need to adhere to all the specified terms and conditions and know the Control List entry reference number or 'rating' of your items. If you are unsure of the 'rating' of a particular item, you can get further advice on how to determine if your goods need an export licence. You might also find it helpful to use the OGEL Checker database in checking through the conditions of an OGL.
You need to register before use via the ECO's export licensing database, SPIRE.
You will need to quote the unique OGL reference number and exact title when using the licence.
All OGL holders are subject to regular compliance audits conducted by ECO Compliance Officers. Read more about compliance and enforcement of export controls.
Keeping informed of OGL updates
You should be aware that OGLs are subject to amendments from time to time. For details of recent amendments read Notices to Exporters.
Standard Individual Export Licences
A Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) allows the export of specific items to a specific destination and to a stated consignee and/or end-user, up to the quantity and value described on the licence.
A SIEL is the main licence type issued by the Export Control Organisation for controlled military and dual-use items. If your items are controlled - either because they are listed on a Control List or on the grounds of End-Use - but you are unable to meet the terms of an Open General Licence (OGL), then you will need to apply for a SIEL.
Read more about Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs).
You need to apply for a SIEL via SPIRE.
Open Individual Export Licences
An Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) is specific to an individual company and covers multiple shipments of specific goods to multiple destinations. There are different types of OIELs including military/dual use, media, dealer-to-dealer and UK Continental Shelf OIELs.
The OIEL is a concessionary form of licence issued to exporters with a proven track record in dealing in controlled goods.
To use an OIEL you need to register via SPIRE.
Global Project Licences
The Global Project Licence (GPL) simplifies the arrangements for licensing military goods and technologies between countries who are partners in a Framework Agreement and who are participating in collaborative defence projects. The countries concerned are the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain and Germany.
A GPL is very similar to an Open Individual Export Licence in terms of the application and the resulting licence. Read more about Open Individual Export Licences.
Trade Control Licences
Trade Control licences authorise the trading of either military goods or dual-use goods between one overseas country and another - commonly referred to as trafficking and brokering. There are three types of Trade Control Licences:
- Open General Trade Control Licence (OGTCL) allows the trading of specific items between specific destinations by any trader
- Standard Individual Trade Control Licence (SITCL) - specific to a named trader and covers involvement in the trading of a set quantity of specific goods
- Open Individual Trade Control Licence (OITCL) - specific to a named trader and covers involvement in the trading of specific goods between overseas sources and overseas destination countries and/or specified consignor(s), consignee(s) and end-user(s)
All applications and registrations to use an OGTCL, SITCL or OITCL should be made via SPIRE.
A Transhipment Licence is required to permit certain goods being transhipped or transiting through the UK. There are four Open General Transhipment Licences (OGTLs) which you may be entitled to use if you can meet all the specified terms and conditions. Alternatively, you may need to apply for a Standard Individual Transhipment Licence (SITL).
All applications for an OGTL or SITL should be made via SPIRE.
The Export Control Joint Unit online services
The Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) has several tools available to exporters to help classify goods for export and comply with export control regulations.
The SPIRE system is on the ECJU's online export licensing. You can use SPIRE to apply or register for relevant export licences and also the seperate Ministry of Defence administered F680 application. Any communication in relation to issuing your licence will be issued via SPIRE and you will receive any licence approval via your system workbasket.
Control List Classification Search Tool
This tool is designed to help you search the SPIRE database for any previous goods 'rating' assessments made by the ECJU Technical Assessment Unit. By entering a short keyword to describe your goods, software or technology, you can get an indication of possible relevant classifications on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists. You can follow up these suggestions by looking directly at the relevant control entries or by using Goods Checker (see below) to determine whether your item is controlled and if you need to apply for a licence.
The ECJU Goods Checker is a web-based search tool that can help you decide whether your goods, software or technology are controlled by UK or European Community strategic export control legislation.
You can search the database by product, by entering a careful general description of your goods to find the entry (known as the 'rating') in the Control Lists for a selected item.
Open General Export Licence (OGEL) Checker
The ECJU OGEL Checker is a web-based search tool to help exporters find out whether there are any OGELs they may be able to use when exporting their goods, software or technology. Before using OGELs
Read more about Open General Export Licences.