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Notice to exporters 2021/07: licenses for controlled items

This Notice is more foundational than news (although it mentions some new Open General Export Licenses (OGELs) for 2021…


NTE 2021/07: licences for strategically controlled items

Published 11 June 2021


  1. Use of open licences for exporting strategically controlled items
  2. New OGELs
  3. How to locate the UK Retained General Export Authorisations in SPIRE
  4. What to do if your OGELs do not permit the export of your controlled items
  5. Contact ECJU

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Use of open licences for exporting strategically controlled items

HMRC has made us aware that exporters are experiencing delays at UK borders with some shipments of controlled dual-use items that require strategic export authorisation. The delays relate to incorrect licence references on commercial documentation.

If open general licences are to be used, the relevant conditions and requirements of each licence should be reviewed before use. Registration requirements and how to declare these licences on your export paperwork (if applicable) are detailed in each open licence.

After registering on SPIRE, you will receive a unique licence registration number for the relevant open general export licence (OGEL), for example. GBOGE2021/xxxxxxx. This is shown in your SPIRE workbasket. The licence number and licence name should be referenced on accompanying commercial documentation.

If you do not do this, your goods may be stopped by HMRC.

Please ensure you enter the required details in Box 44 of the Single Administrative Document (SAD)/Customs Declaration, to permit the specific export.

Open licences are available to download on GOV.UK.

See the full list on the open licence collection page. Please read the terms and conditions of the licence you wish to use, to make sure it meets your export requirements. You should do this before you register its use on SPIRE.

OGELs may be updated, including when there are changes to relevant legislation. We will always issue a Notice to Exporters to inform you about the amendments. Keep updated with our Notice to Exporter bulletins and use the latest published OGEL version to make your export.

You should surrender any unused licences by de-registering them on SPIRE.


The licences, listed below, for exports of controlled dual use items from Great Britain became available in January 2021.

Read the terms and conditions before you register, and if approved, use the correct one for your specific export.

They are:

If you are registered to use these licences, you may be subject to a compliance check by Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU).

How to locate the UK Retained General Export Authorisations in SPIRE

The EU GEAs no longer permit export of goods from Great Britain. If you are exporting from Great Britain, you need to use the new UK Retained General Export Authorisations for the specified exports.

The UK Retained GEAs were added to your existing EU GEA registrations on SPIRE. You will find the unique reference number in your SPIRE workbasket, eg GBOGE2021xxxxx. If you cannot find them, search for EU GEAs in your SPIRE workbasket. In the search results table, select “Multiple” and within there, you will find details of the new UK GEA and existing EU GEA unique licence references.

If you are exporting from Great Britain you must use your unique reference for the appropriate UK GEA. Make sure you de-register use of the EU GEAs on SPIRE.

If you are located in Northern Ireland, you should continue to use your unique reference for the relevant EU GEAs.

What to do if your OGELs do not permit the export of your controlled items

If an open licence is not appropriate, you must use other licences for specific exports for example standard individual export licence (SIEL) or open individual export licence (OIEL).

You will still need to include the relevant licence number from SPIRE in Box 44 of the Single Administrative Document (SAD)/Customs Declaration that is:

  • standard individual export licence – GBSIE2021/xxxxxx
  • open individual export licence – GBOIE2021/xxxxxx

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 2021/07

Categories: Export Control Export Control Organization (ECO) Notice to Exporters Open General Export Licenses Standard Individual Export License (SIEL)/Open individual Export License (OIEL)


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