Determination as to whether or not authorization is required to export is determined by the following criteria in the transaction: 1) what is the ECCN of the item; 2) where it is going; 3) who is the end-user; and 4) what is the end-use. While the majority of U.S. commercial exports do not require a license, the first step in this process is determining the correct classification of your item.

If your item is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce, you must then determine if your item has a specific Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) found on the Commerce Control List (CCL). Keep in mind that items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that are not listed on the CCL are designated EAR99

There are three ways to determine the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) for your product.

1. Go to the Source.

Contact the manufacturer, producer, or developer of the item you are exporting to see if they have classified their product and can provide you with the ECCN. If they have exported the item in the past, it is likely they have the ECCN. Keep in mind that ECCNs may change over time, so please review the ECCN to be sure you are in agreement.

2. Self-Classify.

In order to perform a self-classification, you must have a technical understanding of your item, and you need to be familiar with the structure and format of the CCL. The CCL is divided into ten categories, represented by the first digit of the ECCN. Each of the ten categories is divided into five product groups, represented by the second digit of the ECCN. Once the appropriate category and product group are identified, match the particular characteristics and functions of your item to one of the specific ECCNs that follow.

You can also utilize the Commerce Control List Index to navigate the CCL. Begin by searching for your item on the CCL Index. When you find a potential ECCN, you must then read through the ECCN entry on the CCL before determining if your item fits into the parameters of that ECCN. If the ECCN contains a list under the “Items” heading, broken down into subparagraph(s) it is important to read through these subparagraph(s) to determine that your item meets the technical specifications listed in the ECCN category. You may need to review more than one ECCN description before you find the correct ECCN entry.

Read Part 738 of the EAR for specific instructions on how to use the CCL. You can also access our Introduction to Commerce Department Export Controls, which is an easy-to-follow guide that walks you through the classification process step-by-step.

3. Request an official classification from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

Submit a commodity classification request online through the Simplified Network Application Process - Redesign (SNAP-R). You must obtain a Company Identification Number (CIN) before accessing the online SNAP-R system and submitting your request.

You can also access our Guidelines to Reexport Publications to gain more insight into what information you should provide at the time of your request.

4. What if my product is not listed?

After careful review of your item against the CCL, if you are convinced your item does not fit into the parameters of any ECCN, your item may be designated as EAR99, keeping in mind it is not controlled by another agency. If this is the case, your item may be exported using the license exception NLR specifying no license is required, as long as all of the following criteria is met:

For further details on these export restrictions, read Parts 736, 742, 744, and 746 of the EAR. If you still need guidance, you may contact the Outreach and Educational Services Division at (202-482-4811) or the Western Regional Office at (949-660-0144). While BIS can provide oral advice and guidance, we cannot give definitive classifications over the phone.

© BIS 2020