Details of Open General Export Licences that don't fit into other categories, but remove the need to apply for Standard Individual Export Licence.


There are a number of Open General Export Licences (OGELs) that do not fall neatly into other categories.

OGELs are pre-published export licences issued by the Export Control Organisation (ECO). They are the most flexible type of strategic export licence available for use by exporters, as long as all pre-set conditions can be met. In each case they allow the export of specified controlled items (identified by a ‘control list entry’ heading) to specific destinations permitted by the licence. For more background, read about open general licences: an overview.

If you can meet all OGEL licensing conditions, you do not need to apply for a Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL). If however you cannot and the goods are still controlled then you will need to apply for a SIEL.

All OGEL holders are subject to regular compliance audits conducted by the ECO.

Your responsibilities in using an OGEL

Before using any OGEL for your export purposes, you should first check that you can meet all its defined terms and conditions. To do so, you can use the ECO’s OGEL checker database. You should also know the control list classification or ‘rating’ of your product. If you are unsure what this is, you should consult the UK Strategic Export Control Lists. For more information, see guidance about strategic exports: when to request an export licence.

It is also your responsibility as the exporter to:

  • register to use OGELs on ECO’s export licensing database, SPIRE
  • use OGELs within all pre-defined terms and conditions
  • keep up-to-date with any OGEL amendments - eg changes to permitted or excluded destinations or goods
  • be prepared for compliance audits

OGEL (Government of Sierra Leone)

This OGEL authorises ‘acts likely to promote’ the supply or delivery of military list goods to the government of Sierra Leone under certain circumstances and through named points of entry into the country. There is a UN arms embargo in force currently which prohibits the supply or sale of military goods to anyone other than the government of Sierra Leone.

Any exporter who wants to supply or deliver military goods, agrees to supply or deliver or do any act likely to promote the supply or delivery of military goods, to the Sierra Leone government must have a licence. This licence authorises such communication between putative exporters and the Sierra Leone government.

The licence does not authorise any actual exports to the Sierra Leone government, or any agreement to supply or deliver any such goods. Exporters will need another licence actually to supply the goods.

Download the current OGEL (Government of Sierra Leone).

For more information, see the guide on the embargoes and sanctions on Sierra Leone.

You will need to state the exact name of the licence or the SPIRE reference on any supporting documentation given to HMRC.

OGEL (Iraq)

This OGEL is intended to cover pre-export activity that takes place - either within the UK or overseas - where the end user of the intended goods will be the government of Iraq or the multinational force (this includes bodies contracted to either) and those goods are to be supplied from the UK.

It authorises:

  • the supply or delivery of military goods within the UK
  • agreement to supply or deliver military goods within the UK or Iraq
  • any act, below a restricted classification, calculated to promote the supply or delivery of military goods within the UK or Iraq which are intended for the use of the government of Iraq or the multinational force

However, the licence does not authorise:

  • the exportation of any goods from any country
  • the supply or delivery of any goods to anyone or any destination outside the UK
  • agreement to supply or deliver any goods to Iraq from any person or destination outside the UK
  • any activity outside the UK, which is prohibited by the laws of the territory where it is to be carried out

Download the current OGEL (Iraq)

Where an authorisation is required for any of the above a separate licence will be required. For more information, see the guide on the embargoes and sanctions on Iraq.

OGEL (Radioactive sources)

This OGEL permits - without further authority, but subject to certain conditions - the export of the items specified in Schedule 1 of the OGEL from the UK to any destination specified in Schedule 2 of the OGEL.

The licence will not apply if the exporter knows or has grounds to suspect or has been notified by the Secretary of State that the export will or may lead to the carrying out anywhere in the world of acts of terrorism or serious crime.

Download the current OGEL (Radioactive Sources)

Read more about controls on radioactive sources

OGEL (Objects of cultural interest)

This is an OGEL published by the Arts Council, the national development agency for the arts in England which is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Arts Council are responsible for export licensing of cultural goods. Previously these responsibilities were held until 1 October 2011 by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

The OGEL covers various cultural items. Its sole interest for the ECO is that it deals with certain firearms, arms and armour.

Download the current OGEL (Objects of Cultural Interest) from the Arts Council website.

Download guidance on export controls on cultural goods for exporters from the Arts Council website.

You can also find guidance and details of applying for the OGEL (Objects of Cultural Interest) on the Arts Council website.

Organisations that can help


Export Licensing Unit
Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street
London SW1P 3NQ

You can call the Export Licensing Unit on 020 7973 5188 / 5228 / 5139 / 5194 / 5241 or email them at

Further information

BIS ECO helpline

020 7215 4594 or email:

MLA Export licensing unit

020 7273 8265

Subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters

OGEL Checker on the ECO Checker Toolswebsite (registration required)