Embargoes and sanctions on Sudan

Information on embargoes on Sudan, and how to apply for an export licence.


This guide contains information about embargoes and sanctions on Sudan, and provides information for exporters. You can find more general information here on sanctions, embargoes and restrictions, and a list of all the countries where there are current restrictions.

Sudan is the third largest country in Africa. In 2014, Sudan was the UK’s 100th largest export market for goods and the UK’s 93rd largest export market for services. Bilateral trade in goods and services between UK and Sudan was worth around £180 million.

For decades, a civil war was fought between the country’s northern and southern areas, costing 1.5 million lives. This finally ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, and South Sudan became an independent state in 2011, following a referendum. Since 2003, conflict the Darfur region has claimed thousands of lives and led to over 2.6 million internally displaced people, according to UN estimates.

A UN arms embargo is imposed on Darfur, which is incorporated into EU and UK law. There is also an EU embargo on the whole of Sudan. The embargo bans the export of strategic goods to the Sudan, although certain dual-use military goods can be exported under licence for humanitarian and other purposes.

This guide explains what items are banned for export to Sudan under the embargo, and how dual-use items are licensed by the Export Control Organisation (ECO).

Export control updates

If you intend to export to Sudan, you should keep yourself well informed of the current situation through the media and other information channels.

Subscribe to the ECO’s Notices to Exporters to keep informed of latest updates about arms embargoes and changes to strategic export control legislation.

Extent of the arms embargo on Sudan

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of ‘arms and related material’ (ie military ammunition, weapons and goods). This can be put in place by either the UN, the EU, the Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe, or at a UK national level.

The UK interprets an arms embargo as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List (which forms part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists), unless stated otherwise.

Some items not on the UK Military List may still need an export licence. This is known as the Military End-Use Control. You will need a licence to export items to Sudan under the following circumstances:

  • dual-use items that are or may be for use with military equipment
  • dual-use items that may be for use as parts of military goods illegally obtained from the UK

If you know or suspect that your exports to Sudan fall under either of these categories, you must tell the ECO, which will tell you if you need a licence.


The Sudan arms embargo also prohibits:

  • technical assistance, brokering services and other military-related services
  • financing or financial assistance related to military activities for use in Sudan

The embargo does not prohibit:

  • non-lethal military equipment for humanitarian or protective use, eg by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur force (UNAMID) and the EU
  • material for crisis management operations
  • mine clearance equipment and material
  • protective clothing, such as flak jackets and military helmets, for use by personnel from the UN, EU, EU member states, media organisations, and members of humanitarian and development organisations

Trade Control restrictions

Sudan is also subject to Trade Controls under Schedule 4 Part 2 of the Export Control Order 2008. This means that the destination is both embargoed and subject to transit control for military goods. For more information, see the guides on transport controls and trafficking and brokering (trade controls).

Apply for an export licence to Sudan

Exporters can apply for an export control licence for their goods. All applications will be considered by the government on a case-by-case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Read the guide on assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy.

For details on different export licences available see the guide on licences: export, trade control and transhipment.

When applying for a licence, you should be aware of the current licence processing times by destination. You can view details of licensing statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website.

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. For more information, see the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

If you are unsure if your goods are controlled, you should read our guide about strategic exports: when to request an export licence.

Sudan arms embargo key legislation

UN Security Council resolutions

After fighting broke out in the Sudanese region of Darfur in 2003, in a renewal of the country’s civil war, an arms embargo was imposed by the UN Security Council.

The embargo came into force in 2004, with the passing of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1556. It was extended in 2005 with Resolution 1591, which has now been incorporated into UK law.

Download UN resolutions.

EU legislation

See the European Union page on sanctions policy, which has links to restrictive measures currently in force. This document is regularly updated.

UK legislation

Under UK legislation, the latest implementing regulation is the Export Control (Sudan, South Sudan and Central African Republic Sanctions) (SI2014/3258).

For more information, see the guide to the Export Control Order 2008.

Other restrictions on Sudan

As well as the arms embargo, Sudan is subject to other international restrictions, including:

  • a ban on providing services relating to the supply of technical, financial and other assistance related to military activities in Sudan
  • freezing of funds
  • travel restrictions on people infringing the arms embargo and human rights

You can view a current list of asset freeze targets designated by the United Nations (UN), European Union and United Kingdom, under legislation relating to Sudan.

Further information

ECO helpline 020 7215 4594 or Email:

Trading profile of Sudan on the UK Trade & Investment website

ECO performance reports and statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website

Published 13 August 2012
Last updated 19 February 2015 + show all updates
  1. Information on UK legislation updated.
  2. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK
  3. First published.