A Basic Guide to Export Licensing

The decision to add exporting products to its growth model can be a major step in the success of a business. And, like all major decisions, it comes with its share of anticipation and apprehension.

This simplified guide is offered as a starting point in the plan’s process. A review of the literature on export licensing reveals a common structure of steps and procedures. The guide offered is a compilation of the basic steps in export licensing.

Licensing Requirements

A product identified for export either requires a license or it doesn’t – it’s that simple. In some cases, a general license covering categories of products that do not require a formal application for an Individually Validated License (IVL) is needed. An IVL is a specific grant of authority from the government for a specific exporter to export a specific product to a specific country.

Performing due diligence in identifying and satisfying specific requirements will necessitate legal counsel.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce (www.commerce.gov) regulates licensing obligations, and is the source of product classification and destination. It is the governmental starting point for establishing an export business.

Product Identification

The next step in the licensing process is to identify the product to be exported. The following questions must be addressed before applying for the export license:

What is being exported?
What will be product be used for?
What is the product’s destination?
Who will receive the product?

Exercising due diligence in coordination with Department of Commerce export counselors will aid greatly in answering these questions.

License Application

Once the informational groundwork has been laid, what remains is the license application.

Prior to application, a personal identification number (PIN) must be obtained through the Outreach and Educational Services Division of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Export counselors can be reached at 202-482-4811. An online application can then be made through the Simplified Network Application Process Redesign (SNAP-R). Also, BIS has a training page available at http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/compliance-a-training/export-administration-regulations-trainingthat should prove helpful.

A Final Note

Starting an export business can be a daunting proposition; however, performing due diligence (including sound legal advice) at the beginning will go a long way in guaranteeing success. Finally, the Department of Commerce provides a comprehensive guide to exporting available through www.export.gov.

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