My manager said to apply for an Open General Export Licence to ship our goods to the USA. He has got it wrong hasn't he?

Seriously wrong – you don’t apply for OGELs (as they are referred to in its abbreviation.) An Open General Export Licence is a form of licence open to any company registered in the UK. The way it works is as follows:

  1. You access the various types of OGEL listed on the Export Control Organisation section of DIT web site (or via the International Trade section of GOV.UK -  There are two OGEL lists: one is Military OGELs the other Dual-Use OGELs
  2. Scroll down the list till you find an OGEL with a title that suggests it fits what you want to export for e.g. Exhibition, Repair, etc. Open it so you can fully review the terms and conditions of the licence. To do this you will need to know the category under which your goods are caught under the controls (Military or Dual-Use lists).
  3. You then need to understand the way the licence is formatted. The format is not always the same, some OGELs will tell you what you can export to where, others will say what you can’t export to listed destination countries and what you can to a list of acceptable destination countries. Make use of the ‘Explanatory Note’ at the back of the licence. This does not form part of the actual licence but does explain the purpose and scope of the particular OGEL in less legal terminology.
  4. If you are 100% sure that you can comply with the terms of the licence then you must register for ‘first time use’ of that particular OGEL. This registration is done through the SPIRE electronic application and registration system. To register you must access the following website: - you can download a pdf file on how to register
  5. After registration you are free to go ahead with shipping your goods. Follow the record keeping requirements and also ensure that your freight forwarder is familiar with the new system. 


« Back to FAQs

Contact Strong & Herd
to discuss your requirements
0161 499 7000
0161 499 7100
Strong & Herd LLP, Manchester International Office Centre
Styal Road, Manchester, M22 5WB