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Notice to Exporters 2021/06: Cutting to the front of the line (F680 express applications)


NTE 2021/06: F680 express applications

Published 8 June 2021


  1. Exceptional circumstances
  2. Compelling reasons for express clearance
  3. Planning F680 applications
  4. MOD timeframes
  5. Contact ECJU

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Requests to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for express clearance of MODForm 680 applications increased in the first 4 months of 2021.

Exceptional circumstances

The MOD considers requests for express clearance when an ‘exceptional’ circumstance arises. Applications must provide a compelling reason for consideration on an express basis.

An overuse of the express clearance facility impacts on the assessment of other applications submitted on a routine basis.

Compelling reasons for express clearance

Cases when swift assessment of an application is necessary include:

  • humanitarian purposes such as search and rescue/recovery
  • aiding the global effort to combat coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • life threatening scenarios
  • when routine processing would impact UK defence interests such as HMG-led export campaigns that may arise at short notice

We expect to see evidence from the relevant HMG department in support of these requests.

Compelling reasons do not include:

  • short-notice requests for routine renewals of approvals
  • requests led by overseas customers’ demands

Planning F680 applications

Ensuring uninterrupted coverage

You should plan your renewal applications 2 months in advance. This will provide you with uninterrupted F680 cover if you are providing support to a contracted export customer.

Before renewing general marketing F680s you should assess whether there is still an active ongoing marketing campaign.

Managing customer expectations

Many early clearance requests mention tight deadlines imposed by the applicant’s customers.

It is the company’s responsibility to manage their customers’ expectations. You should discuss the F680 process, including the timeframes, well in-advance with your customer.

MOD timeframes

An F680 application seeks the release of UK classified material to overseas entities. You should not underestimate the time needed for the considered assessment of F680 applications.

Normal turnaround time for F680 applications is 30 days.

Contact ECJU


Export Control Joint Unit
Department for International Trade 
Old Admiralty Building 
Admiralty Place 


Telephone 020 7215 4594

Contact for general queries about strategic export licensing.

You can find more information on export controls on the:


Notice to Exporters 2021/06

Categories: Export Control Export Control Joint Unit Export Control Organization (ECO) F680 express applications Notice to Exporters


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