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General export controls Frequently Asked Questions

Are my goods controlled?

Information regarding controlled goods is available in the The Defence and Strategic Goods List page . You may seek assessment of the status of your goods, technology or services by submitting an Application to Export Controlled Goods and Technology form.

For more information on the status of goods, technology and services see the Understand the status of goods and technology page.

Does DEC charge a fee for seeking export permission or advice?

No, Defence issues export permissions and assessments free-of-charge.

When will my permit be approved?

DEC endeavours to process non-sensitive export applications as quickly as is practical, but the processing time is up to 15 working days. However, for sensitive destinations or goods, the time frame can be up to three months due to the need to consult with other government agencies. Also, if the destination and/or goods are very sensitive the time frame can be longer.

For more information on the process for applications see the Application Process page.

Why are my applications delayed even though they are not sensitive?

Many delays are due to incomplete documentation, i.e. lack of End-User Certificate, insufficient goods information. It is important that all applications are lodged with full and complete details with all required documents. A further common reason for delays is that your goods may require the approval of the source country of the goods for any re-export or retransfer to a third country – your source country export documentation may provide advice on that issue.

I need my permit urgently- what can I do?

If you have an urgent application – please advise us that it is urgent. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to process urgent applications any faster than the 15 working days – though we will try.

I know the goods are controlled, but they are being transhipped via Australia, do I still need a permit?

Yes, all controlled goods being transhipped through Australia require permission from DEC.

I want to tender for an overseas military contract, but am not sure if I will be able to export the goods if I win the tender

DEC can issue an in-principle approval, which will enable you to ascertain in advance if you can export the goods, if you win the contract. Please allow sufficient time for this consideration, especially if the destination may be sensitive.

Bear in mind that the in-principle assessment is preliminary advice, which indicates the likely outcome of a future application to export to a specific destination or end user. It is issued based on the information you provide, and an assessment of factors at a particular time, including international security considerations. As factors affecting assessment outcomes may change over time, in-principle assessments are not a guarantee of future permission to export controlled goods, services or technology.

Are there any countries that I cannot export to?

DEC does not have a specific list of countries, however the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has extensive country information on their website.

For more information on sanctions see the Sanctions page.

Do I need a permit if I am exporting goods for a military exercise?

Defence agencies exporting military goods for an exercise are exempt. However, if the export is done by freight forwarding company or commercial carrier, an export permit may be required.

Do I need a Defence export permit if I have a Restricted Goods Permit (RGP)?

No, an RGP is issued instead of a Defence Permit. However, a Defence permit is necessary for:

  • Class C firearms;
  • Class D firearms;
  • all fully automatic firearms;
  • firearms greater than 0.5" (12.7 mm) in calibre;
  • for the export of more than four (4) firearms;
  • any firearm/s sent by mail;
  • any firearm/s going to a destination that is subject to a United Nations or other sanction or arms embargo;
  • any replica firearms;
  • all firearms sent for repair or return;
  • for the export of firearms as unaccompanied personal effects;
  • all antique firearms; and
  • for all commercial exports.

Ammunition quantity limits also apply:

  • 4000 rounds - target shooting;
  • 300 rounds - protection in international waters against piracy;
  • 200 rounds – hunting; and
  • Reasonable quantities of associated parts and accessories.
Note: Firearm parts, accessories and ammunition may only be exported using an RGP if these goods are being exported with the associated firearm and must be included on the RGP.

For more information on the export of firearms see the Export Firearms and Related Goods page.

I'm travelling overseas and taking firearms with me, but not bringing them back to Australia – do I still need an RGP ?

No, you will need to apply for a Defence Permit instead.

What is a CCID?

All applications to export controlled goods must include a Customs Client Identifier (CCID) (form B319), or an Australian Business Number (ABN). Export applications will not be accepted without a CCID or ABN.

I wish to import a chemical do I need import approval - who do I contact?

Yes, for certain chemicals you do need import approval. Please see Australian Border Force Guide to Prohibited and Restricted Imports.

I have goods to import into Australia – who do I contact?

Please contact the Australian Border Force by telephone on 1300 363 263 or via the contact information on the ABF website.

The goods I want to export are not controlled, are there any other export regulators?

Yes, there may be. Please see the Australian Border Force Guide to Exporting.

What is an AHECC code?

Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) codes are eight digit codes which are used by industry (exporters and brokers) as a classification device when completing export declarations for submission through ABF . They assist with the identification of goods which are relevant to Australia's interests.

Further information relating how the codes are developed and their application is contained in the ABF website.

The list of codes is maintained by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

How does DEC assess if items are for "military use"?

The Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) does not contain a definition of "military use". When assessing if a good may be "specially designed for military use", the technical assessment will consider if the:

  • Product can be fitted to military equipment only, e.g. conforms to a relevant Military Standard (MIL-STD) that define interfaces (cabling, connectors, hardware / firmware / software implementations, etc);
  • Development was sponsored by military forces;
  • Item has a NATO Stock Number (NSN); Joint Electronics Type Designation (JETDS) or any other special military equipment designation number;
  • Function / performance is certified MIL-STD or MIL-SPEC (Defence Specification) and defined by an appropriate MIL-STD, e.g. MIL-STD-810; MIL-STD-188 and similar;
  • Item is marketed by the manufacturer as military and targeted for military / police / government markets; and
  • Goods or technology have a declared or perceived military end-use including law enforcement / government agencies.
What is a NATO Stock Number?

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Stock Number, or National Stock Number (NSN) as it is known in the US, is a 13-digit numeric code, identifying all the 'standardised material items of supply' as they have been recognised by all NATO countries including the United States Department of Defense. However, many countries that use the NSN program are not members of NATO , e.g. Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

A two-digit Material Management Aggregation Code (MMAC) suffix may also be appended, to denote asset end use but it is not considered part of the NSN. An item having an NSN is said to be 'stock-listed'.