An export license is a government document that authorizes or grants permission to conduct a specific export transaction (including the export of technology). Export licenses are issued by the appropriate licensing agency after a careful review of the facts surrounding the given export transaction.
Most U.S. export transactions do not require specific approval in the form of licenses from the U.S. Government. In fact, only a relatively small percentage of all U.S. export transactions require licenses from the U.S. government. It is up to the exporter to determine whether the product requires a license and to research the end use of the product, in other words, to perform “due diligence” regarding the transaction.
For the majority of U.S. exports the Bureau of Industry and Security or the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls are the licensing agencies.
Exporters should learn which federal department or agency has jurisdiction over the item they are planning to export in order to find out if a license is required.