EU General Export Authorisations

How EU GEA licences authorise the export of specified controlled dual-use goods to certain countries outside the EU.


European Union General Export Authorisations (EU GEAs) are the European equivalent of the national system of Open General Licences (OGLs) issued under UK export control law and are designed to licence dual-use exports.

Dual-use Items are goods, software or technology that can be used for either civil or military purposes. The EU is responsible for issuing legislation in this area which is applicable on an EU-wide basis.

EU GEAs are just one of several licensing categories issued by the UK’s Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU), the UK’s national export licensing authority. EU GEAs permit the export of certain specified dual-use Items to certain specified non-EU destinations.

As with OGLsEU GEAs are legal documents. In order to legally use the authorisations, UK exporters need to ensure that they meet all the licensing terms and conditions including registering before use with the ECJU.

See also: controls on dual-use goods (the EU Dual-Use Regulation) and: UK Strategic Export Control Lists.


Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (otherwise known as the European Union Dual-Use Regulation) establishes an EU-wide regime for the control of exports of dual-use Items, software and technology. This originally included one EU issued licence known as the Community General Export Authorisation (CGEA) listed in Annex II.

On 8 December 2011, the EU published an amending regulation which introduced an amendment to the existing CGEA and an additional set of EUGEAs which are designed to licence certain specified Dual-Use Items for export to named non-EU destinations. This amendment was published as Council Regulation (EU) No 1232/2011.

There are six EU GEAs:

  • EU001 – exports to Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein) and the United States – NOTE: this was previously known as the Community General Export Authorisation or CGEA.
  • EU002 – export of certain Dual-Use Items to certain destinations
  • EU003 – export after repair/replacement
  • EU004 – temporary export for exhibition or fair
  • EU005 – telecommunications
  • EU006 – chemicals

These EU GEAs came into force on 7 January 2012.

To access each individual licence you can download the complete text of Council Regulation (EU) No 1232/2011 from the Europa website.

To access the republished EU001, you need to read both Annex II published in Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 and the amendments made via Council Regultaion 1232/2011.

Scope and conditions of use

Each of the EU GEAs contains:

  • a precise list of destinations to which exports are permitted
  • a specific list of items that may be exported to those destinations
  • a specific set of conditions of use, which must be adhered to when exporting under the particular general authorisation

The items listed on each licence refer to a control entry heading (or ‘rating’) which should be cross referenced to goods described on the EU Dual-Use List (as published in the EU legislation). This listing is published in the UK as a part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists. For more information on the lists, you can view the guidance on strategic exports: when to request an export licence  and the UK Strategic Export Control Lists – the consolidated list of military and Dual-Use Items..


EU GEAs are known as ‘Union licences’ which are valid in all member states of the EU. They may be used by any exporter established in the EU (subject to meeting the specified terms and conditions).

In other words, a company established in one member state may export from that or any other Member State (including the UK) under the authority of an EU GEA providing they comply with its conditions and any additional requirements as specified by the competent authorities in the member state where the exporter is established and, where appropriate, any additional requirements of the member state from whose territory the export takes place – for instance, if exporting from the UK, additional cryptographic reporting requirements apply.

[Apply for an export licence using SPIRE.

Can I use an EU GEA?

To establish if you can export under authority of a particular EU GEA, you need to review if you can meet all the terms and conditions of the licence. You must read and understand the licence carefully.

To help you determine if an EU GEA is appropriate for your exports, you can use the OGEL checker tool. This is a database which helps you check whether an Open General Licence (OGL) or an EU GEA provides coverage for a particular item or destination.

Once you have determined that you can use an EU GEA, you must register for the appropriate licence via SPIRE. Registration is a requirement of using the licence.

Holders of this licence are subject to ECO Compliance Audits. For more information see the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

EU General Export Authorisations – FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about using the EU GEAs.

What is the difference between an OGL and a EU GEA?

OGLs and EU GEAs are both licences which permit the export of certain specified goods to certain specified destinations as listed within the licence documents.

EU GEAs are the European equivalent of OGELs and are published by the European Union in the form of Council Regulation (EU) No. 1232/2011, which amends Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (the EU Dual-Use Regulation).

EU GEAs are specifically drafted to provide licensing coverage for certain precise Dual-Use Items and to certain precise non-EU destinations.

OGLs are issued directly by the UK’s regulatory authority, the Export Control Joint Unit.

Both OGLs and EU GEAs provide licensing coverage for controlled goods that are less restricted in nature (ie being exported to non sensitive destinations). Using an OGL (or EU GEA) could potentially save you time and money. However use of either licence involves adhering to all the specified terms and conditions and being subject to ECO Compliance Audits.

I am already an existing licence holder for the Community General Export Authorisation (CGEA). I note that this has been re-named as ‘Union General Export Authorisation’. Does this and the other amendments to the licence mean that I need to re-register to use this licence?

No you do not need to re-register to use the newly named Union General Export Authorisation also referred to as EU001.

Do I have to quote the licence number of an EU GEA when intending to use the licence?

Yes, when exporting goods under authority of an EU GEA, you must enter both the relevant licence code (eg EU002, EU003 etc) and the relevant code X002. This code is entered at Box 44 on the customs declaration form of CHIEF.

Whose responsibility is it to check whether to use a particular OGL or EUGEA?

It is your responsibility if you are the exporter to ensure that you are using the correct licence whether that it is an OGL, EU GEA (or if an appropriate open licence does not meet your exporting requirements,that you apply for a Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) or an Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) as appropriate.

How do I determine if I can use a particular OGL or EU GEA?

Use the OGEL Checker tool on the Checker Tools website

What records do I need to keep if I hold an EU GEA compared to an OGL?

It is a requirement of all OGLs (including EU GEAs) that you keep appropriate records.

I already export my goods under the authority of an existing UK published OGL – what will now happen if, following a Compliance Audit our company is judged to be non-compliant due to using an incorrect licence?

The licences are legally binding from the date that they come into force on 7 January 2012. It is your responsibility when exporting controlled items that you take all reasonable steps to ensure that you use the correct licence. This includes taking action:

  • to read and understand this guidance
  • to use the Checker Tools website to help identify an appropriate licence
  • to seek external legal advice where required

What should we do if we are aware after the introduction of the EU GEAsthat we are inadvertently using the wrong licence?

Compliance with EU GEAs will be dealt with in line with standard ECO compliance audit procedures and policy. See: compliance and enforcement of export controls.

If you realise that you are inadvertently using the wrong licence or you were advised at an ECO compliance audit about use of the wrong licence then you should take immediate steps to register or apply for the appropriate licence on SPIRE.

Depending on the seriousness and exact nature of the offence, you might receive a warning letter or alternatively the ECO might decide to take further steps to suspend or revoke use of the licence.

Where can I obtain copies of the current OGLs and the new EU GEAlicences?

All OGLs published by the ECO are available on this website. To access EUGEAs you need to download Council Regulation (EU) No 1232/2011 and print out the relevant licence you intend to use.

Further information

ECO Helpline

020 7215 4594 or email:

Download Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 from the Europa website

Download Council Regulation (EU) No 1232/2011 from the Europa website

Download a fact sheet on the EU GEAs from the Europa website

Information on dual-use controls on the Europa website

Published 14 August 2012
Last updated 14 December 2017 
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