Export chemicals: licences and special rules

Licences and special rules for exporting chemicals.

Within the EU, there aren’t special rules unless you export controlled chemicals, for example those with a military use.

Outside the EU, you must follow the rules for hazardous chemicals, as well the rules for any controlled chemicals.

Export rules cover single substances as well as mixtures (also called preparations). For example, paints, inks, glues or oils. There are special rules for products that contain highly restricted chemicals outside the EU.

Some countries may have import rules for certain goods. You can check by talking to your importer or getting help researching your export market.

Licences for controlled chemicals

You may need a licence to export:

If you supply chemicals that could be used to make explosives, check the legal requirements and concentration limits of the importing country.

You must report any suspicious transactions to the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

Drug precursor chemicals

You may need a licence to export drug precursor chemicals. This is in addition to any domestic licence you need to possess the chemicals in the UK.

Apply for an export licence

Check the table to confirm if your chemical needs an export licence.

To apply:

Apply at least 20 working days in advance. Your licence will be valid for 3 months.


The export licence costs £24 - an invoice will be sent to your address.

If you need a purchase order number on the invoice, state this when you apply or email


Contact the Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU) if you need help with exporting precursor chemicals.

Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit
Telephone: 020 7035 6330
Find out about call charges

To complain or make a suggestion, email

Hazardous chemicals

To export hazardous chemicals outside the EU, you must:

Get a RIN for restricted chemicals

You need to include a reference identification number (RIN) in your customs declaration if either:

  • the chemical is restricted - classed as ‘Annex 1’
  • you export 10kg or less of any non-restricted chemical for research or analysis

Search for Annex 1 chemicals using the tool on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) website.

If your chemical is classed as Annex 1, note:

  • which ‘parts’ of Annex 1 the chemical is in - there are more restrictions on chemicals in parts 2 and 3
  • the CAS number

You’ll need this information when you apply for a RIN. You do this by making an online notification.

Chemicals classed as Annex 5 are banned and can’t be exported without an exemption. Contact if you need help.

Making an online notification

To get a RIN you need to make an online notification at least 35 days before you first export restricted chemicals. Allow 15 days for notifications you make after this.

Chemicals in parts 2 and 3 of Annex 1 may take longer or be refused because they must be authorised by the country you’re exporting to.

To make an online notification:

You can use the same RIN for all exports of the same chemical in the same calendar year. You don’t need to make another notification.

When transporting restricted chemicals, you’ll need to follow the rules for moving dangerous goods.

Annual reporting requirements

Every year you must tell HSE about the Annex 1 chemicals you’ve exported using your online notification account.

Products that contain highly restricted chemicals

You need a RIN number if you export a product that both:

  • includes a chemical in part 2 or 3 of Annex 1
  • is classed as an article

This includes products like cars, batteries or telephones.

You don’t need to follow the other additional export rules for chemical substances and mixtures.

Contact HSE if you need help.

Published 11 November 2016
Last updated 26 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated to remove '.gsi' from email addresses

  2. First published.