Do I need an export license to ship my product to a particular market? How do I obtain a license?

An export license grants permission to conduct a certain type of export transaction. The U.S. Government does not maintain a generic export licensing system. However, a relatively small percentage of all U.S. export transactions require export licenses from the U.S. Government. The following attributes will determine whether you would need an export license: the characteristics of your product, the item’s destination, and the recipient’s intended end-use of the item.

When an export license is required, you must apply for the license from the appropriate licensing agency, which will grant (or deny) a license after a careful review of the facts surrounding the given export transaction. An example of a licensing agency is the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. BIS is responsible for licensing products that are “dual-use,” or have both commercial and military or proliferation applications. The BIS website is

For more information about export regulations and licensing requirements click here.

Note: Individuals and companies with questions or concerns about restricted or prohibited exports should be diligent in their efforts to understand and fully comply with all laws and regulations related to these. Failure to do so may result in substantial penalties.

For further assistance, please contact the Trade Information Center:

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473