export license

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Export licenses refer to the licenses required under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and other export laws for items under certain categories to be exported outside of the United States. This export system allows the U.S. government to monitor what technology and other critical goods are being exported and prevent breaches of national security interests. Other countries around the world have similar export license requirements.

In the United States, the majority of  exported items do not need a license at all. Only those covered by EAR and other regulations must apply for an export license. People can check the Commerce Control List (CCL) to determine whether an export license is needed, but given the complexity of the list, people can also submit a commodity classification request to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to help determine whether they need an export license. For more information on export controls, see this LII article on the Commerce Control List (CCL)

[Last updated in December of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]