Do you need an export licence if we have international sales from our online store?


Our online sales have grown and we have now produced our own DVD which is on sale on Amazon. Do you need an export licence if we receive sales from foreign shores? We have had orders (for single items between £10 – £50) from America, Asia and Europe but have told them we do not sell outside the UK.


Hi, You could send these out via our courier service as the weight and order size would be so small. Many of our cleints have sent out shipments with no licence at all.

Beat practice would be to obtain a open general licence send a test shipment and proceed from there.
If you would like me to quote you let me know
[email protected]


Dear Chris,

It depends on what type of product you are selling. Most export licencing restrictions are inmposed for products which are restricted in some way (such as firearms, controlled substances, ), or which might have a military use, or where goods are being sold to regimes where trade embargos apply. From the sound of your company name & your question, I am guessing that your product does not fall into these categories, but if you have any doubt, you can contact the Export Control unit at the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, on tel; 020 7215 4594, or email: [email protected]. They will be able to give you a definiitve answer.

The method of shipment mentioned in the answer above does not provide an alternative to obaining an export licence if one is required. If goods require an export licence you will have to obtain one, regardless of how you decide to ship the goods,and sending the goods by courier does not change your legal obligations.


Hi Chris,

We do not believe you need an export licence to export such items, but if in doubt, check or try the BIS ECO helpline on 020 7215 4594.

I suspect VAt may be your greater concern in practice. In VAT terms you need to keep export evidence which will entitle you to zero rate the sales of the DVDs from the UK to outside of the EU. Evidence would need to include an invoice made out to your customer in the overseas territory and some form of evidence from your carrier. There is an additional requirement for exporting goods to VAT registered businesses in the EU which requires the VAT number of the customer in order that you can zero rate the goods, which also needs to be shown on your sales invoice. If you are exporting the goods to someone in the EU without a VAT number you should charge UK VAT. There are also special rules for low value packages which you should look into.

Hope this helps,

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