Space Software Export Licensing Explained

What is Export Licensing?


Looking to purchase a software licence from Bright Ascension? It is important to understand the export process that applies to our products under the UK legislation. Our software is classed as a controlled dual-use item, which means that it may require a dedicated export licence depending on where you are established.

Export licence should not be confused with the software licence that you purchase to access our software. It is completely separate and is simply a part of the sales process regulated by the government for dual-use items.


What is a Controlled Dual-Use Item?


Dual-use items (including software and technology) are items which can be used for both civil and military purposes. The range of satellite applications and uses is extensive and it is possible that our software can be purchased with the intention of use on a military spacecraft. For that reason the UK Government and the Ministry of Defence keep control of certain exports that can be used for dual purposes.


What Does it Mean to Me?


If you are purchasing a controlled dual-use product, it may require an export licence. But it’s useful to remember that once the product is exported with an assigned licence reference, it cannot be re-exported without appropriate licence/permissions.


Do I need an Export Licence?


Not everybody needs to go through the export licence application process but it is important to understand which category you fall into.

First, we need to establish which country you, as the licensee (or the end user), reside in.  Your country may be covered by the Open General Export Licence (OGEL) or General Export Authorisation (GEA), which means that there is no need to apply for an individual export licence.

If it’s not included in either of the lists, a process needs to be started to apply for a Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL).

OGEL All EU countries
GEA Canada, Australia, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, United States of America
SIEL all other countries


So I Need an Export Licence. What’s Next?


It may seem complicated at first, but there is no need to worry – we will take care of the export licensing process and will guide you through any documentation we require.

If we need a SIEL licence, the application process should be started as soon as possible as it can take up to 20 working days for approval and that can delay our software licence delivery to you. We will need you to provide supporting documents and we recommend you send them as quickly as possible to avoid any further delays.

Once we obtain all the necessary paperwork, we will make the SIEL application through the SPIRE website.


What Paperwork Do You Need From Me?


We will need an End User Undertaking form (EUU form) and a letterheaded cover letter. You can download the EUU form and the cover letter template from the Government website. The document includes instructions for filling it in, but we would like to highlight a couple of points:

  • The cover letter must be provided on your company letterheaded paper, scanned or saved as a .pdf. The form that you download from the website above is only a template.
  • Both the EUU form and the cover letter must be signed and dated.


Is That All?


Yes, once we get all the documentation we will apply for a SIEL licence.

However, please beware that if our software is delivered to a UK company which then integrates it into hardware and exports to a third party, then it’s the responsibility of the UK Integrator to obtain an export licence if required. So if you are buying our software to be sold to another country within a finished hardware product – you will have to initiate the export licensing process yourself.


Key Take-Aways


  • Our software is classed as a controlled dual-use product
  • Not all clients require individual licences and may already be covered
  • The individual licence application process should be started as soon as possible as it can lead to delays
  • Export licensing process can be tricky, but we will guide you through any documentation we need from you


And remember – if you’ve got any further questions or concerns, we are only a phone call or an email away!