How to apply for an export control licence

In some cases, it may be necessary to apply for an export licence from the UK Export Control Organisation to carry out an activity related to your research.

How to apply for an export control licence?

There are two categories of licence that you are most likely to require:  

  • Open general export licences (OGELs) 

  • Standard individual export licences (SIELs)

Use the OGEL and Goods Checker to find out which applies for you.

OGEL and Goods Checker tool

Applying for a licence on SPIRE

All applications for open general export licences, or standard individual export licences are submitted the Export Control Organisation’s (ECO) online export licensing system SPIRE.

1. Create an individual login on SPIRE.

2. Email to tell us about your login and the nature of your application. A member of the team will then add you to the Edinburgh Research Office work group, enabling you to make applications in the name of the University of Edinburgh.

3. Follow the instructions in the 'Using SPIRE to get an export licence' guidance.

You will need to have:

  • the 'Control List entry' from the Goods Checker
  • the name of the OGEL from the OGEL Checker (if applicable); or
  • for a SIEL, an end-user undertaking form form to accompany your application.

4. Your final application will be authorised and submitted on SPIRE by the Edinburgh Research Office.

5. Licences are usually granted for a specific item exported to a specific named person. You will need to apply for a new licence if you want to export other items, or the same item again to a different person/country.


Using SPIRE to get an export licence guidance

Download an End-user undertaking form

What happens after a licence has been granted?

1. SPIRE will tell you if your licence has been granted. You can now export the items subject to the rules listed in the licence documents.  

2. You must retain a copy of the Single Administrative Document for audit purposes.

3. The Export Control Organisation or HMRC can audit the operation of any licence. You must retain all documentation relating to your export licence (including emails files, post, and correspondence with the ECO).

4. Ensure all Health and Safety or any other regulations are also met and check staff business and travel policies.

Staff business travel policies