There’s never been a better time to expand your business internationally. Opening up revenue streams from other parts of the word is one of the best way to send your sales soaring to new heights. The good news is that most products can be exported without having to obtain a U.S. export license.
However, if you are exporting anything on the U.S. Department of Commerce Control List (especially technology and chemicals), chances are you are going to need an export license for these items.
This is simply an administrative measure–you can sell abroad, even complex products like medical devices and computer software, if you make sure first to obtain the proper export license.
Does Your Product Require an Export License?
While the majority of U.S. exports do not need a license, understanding exactly what is regulated is a matter of classifying your product and identifying the target market. An excellent overview of the export license process can be found at the Department of Commerce export controls site, which includes a breakdown on licensing.
Also be sure to check out the Export Administration Regulations. The regulations identify and explain what goods fall under the law and which countries are off limits. They also set forth your responsibilities under the law.
The Export License Application
Applying for your license is really just a matter of following the steps below:
1. Check to see that your export is under U.S. Department of Commerce jurisdiction.
2. Classify your item by reviewing the Commerce Control List.
3. If your item is classified by an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN), identify the Reasons for Control on the Commerce Control List.
4. Cross-reference the ECCN Controls against the Commerce Country Chart to see if a license is required. If yes, determine if a License Exception is available before applying for a license.
5. Check that no proscribed end-users or end-uses are involved with your export transaction. If proscribed end-users or end-uses are involved, determine if you can proceed with the transaction or must apply for a license.
6. Export your item using the correct ECCN and the appropriate symbol (e.g., NLR, license exception, or license number and expiration date) on your export documentation (e.g., Shipper’s Export Declaration).
7. Apply for the License
The final step, applying for an export license, can be done online on the government’s Simplified Network Application Process Redesign, known as SNAP-R.
You’ll need to apply for a personal identification number and, among other things, meet the government’s record-keeping requirements to use.
While the process for getting an export license is not as simple as ordering a book online, it’s much easier than in years past.