What is an export license?

An export license is a document issued by government bodies allowing registered companies or individuals to legally ship goods that are otherwise restricted. Find out what kind of items are restricted and how you can apply for an export license.

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What items are restricted?

Restricted items include chemicals, medicines, artwork, historical artefacts and dual-use items. Other less obvious items include video game consoles or goods containing paraffin wax like crayons or candles.

What are dual-use items?

They’re items that can be used for both military and civilian purposes. So while you may think the goods you’re sending have only one use, they could be considered dual-use by government authorities and require an export license. For example drones can be used for both filming movies and in military operations.

How do I find out if I need an export license?

Check if the item has an Export Control Classification Number, better known as ECCN.

What is an ECCN?

It’s a code that classifies an item and indicates the licensing requirements. All ECCNs are listed on the Commerce Control List online, which is available on the US Bureau of Industry and Security’s website.

You can also ask the manufacturer or check your own country’s list on the government website.

How do I apply for an export license?

The application process for an export license varies for each country. But, again, you can find out what you need to do on your country’s government website.

What do I do when I get the export license?

Once you’ve received the export license, you need to include the export license number on the commercial invoice when shipping your goods.

Also check with your carrier if you need to provide the license to the driver or whether it’ll be sent electronically.

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