Notice to exporters 2020/08: coronavirus (COVID-19) - export licence handling

Published 20 March 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s statement urging people across the UK to work from home where possible, limit use of public transport and avoid unnecessary social gatherings to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to reassure you that your licence applications will still be processed.

Please note - there are no export licence compliance issues with your staff accessing UK export control regulated data from their home location using company-provided laptops.

The Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is taking measures to ensure there will be minimum disruption to the export licence application process, as well as the advice we provide during this period.

Ensuring export licensing operations will continue

Processing applications for strategic export licences has been identified as a business-critical operation for the Department for International Trade. We recognise that it is essential that businesses continue to receive the authorisations required to export items of a military and dual use nature.

We have put in place business continuity measures to ensure that licensing continues. This includes technical assessments, end-use checks and reviewing applications against our strict licensing criteria.

You will still receive communication from us via SPIRE, including requests for any further information on individual cases. You will also receive licence decisions via SPIRE in the normal way.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) team in ECJU will also continue to process MOD Form 680s, crown exemptions and open general export licence (OGEL) authorisation letters during this period.

The compliance / inspection programme will continue, although site audits will no longer take place. We have now moved to remote audits as a means to meet legislative requirements. Those sites due to be inspected soon have already been engaged so that your inspector is able to determine an effective communication route. Your inspector or one of the support team will be in touch to discuss how best a remote audit can be undertaken.

Please ensure you are able to access your records, including supporting documentation, for exports made under the licence(s) you hold.

The ECJU Enquiry line (020 7215 4594) and email enquiries: will still be accessible.

Services that may be postponed

Please see notice to exporters 2020/07 for details about the closure of the training programme, a decision we took in an effort to reduce risks of contagion by unnecessary contact with others.

With priority given to licence processing, we may have to stop the control list advice service and the end-use advice service during this period – please see any announcements on SPIRE.

If we experience significant staff absences, please be prepared for an impact on licence processing timescales.

Coronavirus guidance for UK business

To find out more, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for UK businesses trading internationally.

Further guidance on export controls

Export Control Joint Unit

Contact ECJU

General queries about strategic export licensing

Export Control Joint Unit
Department for Business and Trade
Old Admiralty Building
Admiralty Place


Telephone 020 7215 4594

More information on export controls is available on the ECJU pages of the GOV.UK website, also the SPIRE export licensing database.

This notice is for information only and has no force in law. If the information here applies to your business, we recommend you take appropriate action, including seeking legal advice if necessary.

Notices to exporters

All notices published since July 2016 can be found on the notices to exporters collection page.

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