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HMRC internal manual

Strategic Goods and Services - BIS Export Licensing and Sanctions - General


Electronic Licences

On 3rd September 2007, BIS Export Control Organisation (ECO) introduced an electronic system of export licensing for Military and Dual-Use exports and transhipment. The system enables exporters to apply for BIS Export Licences through a web based system - SPIRE (Shared Primary Information Resource Environment). Licences will be issued electronically and stored on a secure web-based database. HMRC and UKBA officers will be issued passwords and access to the SPIRE database for customs control purposes.

All new BIS licences will be issued electronically. Extant paper licences will remain valid until they are exhausted or naturally expire. While existing paper licences will remain valid (these are on paper which has security features) printed plain-paper copies of the new electronic licence will not be acceptable. All electronic licences will have to be viewed in SPIRE to ensure licence details have not been altered.

The SPIRE address is

Intra EC Movements and Electronic Licences

Intra EC Movements are not captured on CHIEF and as a result will continue to be controlled by existing processes.

The trader must notify HMRC (Local Compliance or Large Business Service) inland office before the goods are shipped and or in accordance with locally agreed procedures, at least 3 days prior to dispatching the goods from the UK.

The trader should declare the quantity of goods being dispatched in the notification.

The electronic licence should be viewed on the SPIRE system

HMRC should acknowledge the notification and decide whether or not to examine the goods.

The trader will maintain a record of the outstanding balance of the licence until the final shipment exhausts the licence.

Upon exhaustion of the export licence the trader should note the audit records and inform ECO.

SPIRE: Difficulties using SPIRE

If you have any difficulties using SPIRE or queries regarding SPIRE access then please contact The Strategic Exports and Sanctions Team. Contact telephone numbers are shown at SGSELSG1040 of this guidance.