If a product is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) - the federal regulations that specify which exports require a license from the Department of Commerce - it may require an export license. To determine if a license is needed to export your product, exporters must first determine whether an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) fits their product.
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has the licensing authority over the export and re-export of items considered to be “dual-use”. Dual-use items generally have both commercial and military applications. These items are controlled to further the national security, foreign policy, and nonproliferation interests of the United States.
The five character alpha-numeric ECCN identifies the technology level and the capabilities of an item which, in combination with the country of destination, customer, and the intended application, determine if an export license is required for a specific transaction or whether an item can be exported without a license. The ECCN must be determined prior to shipment.
Once the ECCN has been identified, an exporter can consult the Commerce Control List (CCL) and the Country List, contained in the Export Administration Regulations, to find out if the product requires a license, why the product is controlled, and whether a license exception or NLR will apply.
Firms exporting products that are subject to EAR must apply for an export license, unless the transaction qualifies for a license exception or “No License Required” (NLR) treatment. When a Shippers Export Declaration (SED) is required for the export transaction (for shipments over $2,500 value, those requiring an export license, or those going to countries that have been designated as terrorist supporting countries), the ECCN must be provided. If an export license is not required, then NLR is entered on the SED, unless the item is controlled for anti-terrorism.
There are several ways to determine the ECCN for your product:
After determining an ECCN you may apply for a license using the Simplified Network Application Process (SNAP) through which exporters can submit license applications directly to BIS via the Internet. Additional information on SNAP and how to request a PIN can be found on the BIS website. SNAP is a free service to the exporting community.
Each request is limited to five items. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for several related products if the relationship between the products is substantiated and documented.
Attach descriptive literature, brochures, technical papers or specifications to assist licensing officials in determining the correct ECCN. On form BIS-748P, complete Blocks 1 through 5, Block 14, Block 22(b) (only if the item is a computer), Block 22(c), Block 22(i) and Block 22(j). If more space is needed for the technical description required in Block 22(j), use Appendix Form 748PA for additional space. An attempt should be made to identify the item. Once completed, the form should be signed and submitted to BIS at the above address.
To submit the classification request or license application electronically, access the ELAIN or SNAP services via the BIS website or call the Export Counseling service at (202) 482-4811.
The CCL is divided into 10 categories. The first (numerical) character in the ECCN identifies the category within which the entry falls, for example: 3A001 is in Category 3, Electronics. The following is a list of CCL categories:
0 Nuclear Materials, Facilities and Equipment and Miscellaneous;
1 Materials, Chemicals, Microorganisms, and Toxins;
2 Materials Processing;
5 Telecommunications and Information Security;
7 Navigation and Avionics;
9 Propulsion Systems, Space Vehicles and Related Equipment.
Within each category, items are arranged by group. The second (alpha) character indicates under which of the five groups the item is listed, for example, 3A001 would be in group A, Equipment, Assemblies and Components. Each category contains the same five groups, which are:
A Equipment, Assemblies and Components; B Test, Inspection and Production Equipment; C Materials; D Software; E Technology.
The remaining digits identify the reasons for control associated with the item. It is not essential that you be able to identify which reasons for control are associated with particular digits. However, if interested, you can find an explanation in 738.2(d) of the EAR.
A brief description of the product is provided next to each ECCN. Following this description are the “License Requirements,” “License Exceptions,” and “List of Items Controlled” sections.
After you have determined where your product fits within the CCL, use the information in the “License Requirements” section to determine if a license is required. You also must check the Country Chart (Supplement 1 to Part 740 of the EAR) to ensure that a license is not required for shipments going to that country. It is possible that the product itself may not require a license, but due to the country of destination or end-user, the shipment may still need an export license.
For products that do require a license, the CCL also lists the reasons for control of the product: AT is Anti- Terrorism; CB is Chemical and Biological Weapons; CC is Crime Control; EI is Encryption Item; MT is Missile Technology; NS is National Security; NP is Nuclear Nonproliferation; RS is Regional Stability; SS is Short Supply; XP is High Level Computers; and SI is Significant Items.
For additional information concerning export licenses, determining an ECCN and/or filling out Form 748P, you may contact the BIS Office of Exporter Services, Outreach and Educational Services Division at (202) 482-4811, or by fax at (202) 482-3617. The BIS Western Regional Offices can be reached at (949) 660-0144 in Southern California or at (408) 998-7402 in Northern California.