Standard individual export licences (SIELs)

You can use a SIEL to send a single shipment of military or dual-use items overseas, to a specific named consignee and/or end user.


A SIEL might be the right licence for you if:

  • you plan to export just one shipment and don’t need a reusable licence
  • you know who you are sending the items to and can obtain an end-user undertaking from them
  • you cannot comply with the specific terms and conditions of an open general export licence (OGEL)

Applying for a SIEL

To apply for a SIEL, you must specify the items for export, their destination and the consignee and/or end user.

SIEL applications take the longest to process after you have submitted them, normally because applications have to be returned to the exporter, either for more information or because information in it is incorrect. The majority of SIEL applications are processed within 20 days.

You must make sure when applying for a SIEL that you:

  • describe the items in as much detail as you can, including model or type numbers where appropriate
  • include the quantity or amount of each type of item being exported
  • include the value of each item or goods in pounds, even if the value is only nominal
  • complete the consignee and/or end-user details in full

You will also have to get an end-user undertaking for a SIEL application to be successful. Your application can take less time if you have a completed end-user undertaking before you begin the application. Read more about end-user undertakings.

SIEL conditions and amendments

You must follow the standard conditions of your licence. SIELs normally last for 2 years, or 1 year for temporary licences, but they can be revoked if you do not comply.

Standard SIEL conditions require that you:

  • include the licence with shipping documents when the items are exported, and show it to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officials if requested
  • for exports to EU member states, produce the licence to HMRC officials and specify a place for the items to be inspected at least 3 days before exportation

You will receive compliance visits if you hold SIELs for electronic transfers of software or technology. The first visit is usually within 3 months of the licence being issued. You must keep detailed records of the type of technology, dates and end users.

Most non-compliance issues relate to documentation and records. You must comply with any conditions received in a compliance warning letter, within the timescale in the letter, or your licence may be revoked.

Use SPIRE to find out if you can export your items.

Notices to exporters

Stay up-to-date with all important changes to licences or legislation by signing up to Export Control Joint Unit’s (ECJU) notices to exporters email alert service.

Export control training

The export control joint unit runs training sessions on:

  • how export controls work
  • how to make export licence applications
  • how classification works

Read the latest edition of the export control training bulletin for full details of courses and how to apply.

Contact ECJU


Export Control Joint Unit
2nd floor
3 Whitehall Place


Contact for general queries about strategic export licensing.

Published 12 September 2012