How to Apply for an Export License

How to Apply for an Export License. The import-export business can be very lucrative. When exporting items out of the United States, there are certain situations in which you must apply for and be granted an export license. Applying for an export license is an easy process that can be completed in just a few steps.

Figure out whether you need an export license. Only a select number of items require an export license. To find out whether the item you are exporting needs an export license, you need to locate the item's Export Control Classification Number, also referred to as ECCN, on the Commerce Control List. To do so, you can contact the Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce, and they will walk you through the process. You can contact the BIS offices in Washington, DC at (202) 482-4811 or their Newport Beach location at (949) 660-0144.

Apply for the export license with help from a BIS specialist. You can also find more information on the required forms in the application process at BIS website. Click on the "Export Control Basics" in the left hand panel. On that page, you'll find all the steps you must take to figure out if you need to apply for an export license and the information for doing so.

Contact the Trade Information Center of the U.S. Government whenever you have a question. You can contact them at (800) USA-TRADE. If you are dealing with countries such as Cuba, Iran, Libya and Sudan, be sure to contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Department of Treasury at (800) 540-6322.

Use a service to help you navigate the United States' export laws, such as the service offered at They can help you determine the ECCN for your item and can tell you whether you need an export license.


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