Exporting and doing business abroad

Export licences and special rules

You may need a licence or follow special rules to export restricted goods or to sell certain services abroad.

Check the import rules of the country you’re exporting to. Talk to your importer or get help researching your export market.

Animals, plants and agricultural products

Medical devices and agricultural machinery

Chemicals, drugs, oil and gas services and waste

Diamonds, arts, luxury goods

Goods that can be used for restraint or repression

Military goods, services and technology

You must get a licence to:

  • export military goods, or sell military services or technology outside the UK
  • arrange the sale of military goods, services or technology outside the UK
  • arrange the transfer of military goods, services or technology between two countries outside the UK
  • provide classified military information to someone based outside the UK

High-tech goods and services

Some goods, technologies and information that you might not think need a licence may also have military use. These things are called ‘dual use’.

Check if you need a licence if you:

  • export high-tech products like specialist computers, radios and other communications equipment
  • develop software that could be used for information security systems (for example, cryptographic technology)
  • share information, knowledge or skills that could be used to make weapons

Financial sanctions

You may not be allowed to export to anyone on the financial sanctions list.

  1. Step 1 Get a UK EORI number for your business

    Your business will already have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if you’ve traded with countries outside the EU. UK EORI numbers start with GB.

    1. Get a UK EORI number
  2. Step 2 Decide who will make the customs declarations

    Contact the organisation that transports your goods out of the country to find out if they can make customs declarations for your goods.

    If they cannot, you can either hire an agent to make the declarations, or make the declarations yourself.

    1. Find out how to make customs declarations yourself
    2. Register to use the National Export System if you decide to make them yourself
  3. Step 3 Apply to make exporting easier

  4. Step 4 Check what your customers will need to pay

  5. Step 5 Check what you need to do for the type of goods you export

    Depending on what you're exporting, there might be other things you'll need to do to get your business ready. For example, you might need to change the labelling on the packaging for your goods, or apply for licences.

    1. You are currently viewing: Check if you'll need to apply for an export licence
    2. Check what else you need to do for the type of goods you export