DSP-5 Export License Application Requirements

The purpose of the United States Department of State and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC formerly PMDTC) is to regulate and protect the interests and security of the United States. This means that in order to ship items and technology overseas that may potentially jeopardize international security US companies must undergo a somewhat complicated regulatory process.

What does this really mean?

You are not allowed to ship a crate of rifles, a nuclear warhead, or technical schematics for the F-18 overseas without asking the government for permission.

Can I skip the “asking permission” part and just send a crate of night-vision goggles to Iran?

No. You can go to jail, subject yourself to massive fines, and be denied export privileges indefinitely if you don’t go through the system.

But we’ve never done this stuff before and we’ve been shipping our missile guidance systems overseas for years! What gives?

This situation is not unusual. Export controls have been in place for decades but have only recently been spotlighted for enforcement.

Many companies (even some of the big boys) have either intentionally ignored or have been negligently unaware of their responsibilities and have routinely violated US export policy. With export enforcement at the forefront of national security, the US government is cracking down and it is important to make export compliance a part of your business operation.

But I’m not shipping weapons of mass destruction or anything crazy like that! All I want to do is send a bunch of radio wiring harnesses to my customer in Europe. What do I have to do?

If your wiring harnesses are listed on the US Munitions List, you need to fill out a DSP-5 license application and send it to the Department of State for approval.

The DSP-5 license application covers the one time sale of controlled exports that will not be returning to the US. Something fairly benign like a wiring harness would only be listed if it was built exclusively for military use.

I forgot to mention that the wiring harnesses I’m shipping are for an encrypted communication system used by un-manned drone fighter aircraft. Is this important?

Um, yeah.

Note: to make things even more confusing, there is another agency, the US Department of Commerce, that regulates more common “dual-use” goods that have both military and civilian applications (like an avionics wiring harness).

This article is written as a reference to US Deparment of State controlled exports and the US Munitions List – not the US Department of Commerce.

How long does the regulatory process take?

A while. In my experience it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. Longer if you’ve never done it before.

How do I get started?

Prior to filling out a DSP-5 license application, you need to:

  1. Register with the Department of State, DDTC.
  2. Identify the “empowered official” in your organization who will take responsibility for the export,
  3. Make sure you have the appropriate documentation (see ITAR Section 123.1),
  4. Make sure you qualify under all of the eligibility conditions listed in the basic certification statement (ITAR Section 126.13)
  5. Satisfy all the eligibility requirements of ITAR Sections 120.1(c) and (d) as well as 127.1(c) (where applicable),
  6. Identify your products on the U.S. Munitions List (USML; ITAR Part 121.

Is this a quick process?

No. If you haven’t started the application process make sure to build plenty of time into your delivery schedule so you can get all of the steps completed in time.

Once the above steps are complete, you can begin applying for a license. Complete the application form found in:

Guidelines for Completion of a Form DSP-5 Application, Request for Permanent Export of Unclassified Defense Articles and Related Unclassified Technical Data

16 Responses to “DSP-5 Export License Application Requirements”

  1. Is there a website that will permit the downloading of forms such as Voluntary Disclosure, DSP-5 Application etc. and instructions for completion?

  2. Is it possible to send me electronic copy of DSP-5 and DSP-83 forms to my e-mail address?

    Best regards

  3. What form do you use when you want to modify your DSP-5? Additionally, can Off-Set be ship via DSP-94?


  4. Do I need an export license to export food,specifically rice to Nigeria?
    Thank you

  5. I wish to import a set of sporting rifle components from a seller in the US, he is saking me to acquire a form DSP-5 and get it authorised by you and send it to him so that he can export a rifle to the UK.

    I believe he has got it round the wrong way. I belive ‘he’ has to get the form and fill it in and apply to you for the export of these components, is that correct ?


    Tony Walsh
    Resident of the UK.

  6. I work for the Mexican Navy, we are submitting a DSP 5 from the United States to Mexico, we are registered with DDTC, my question to you, do we need to fill out the DSP 83 to process said license, please get back to me at my e. mail, many thanks

    Richard Seifert

  7. Do I need any type of permit or certification to ship scrap tires overseas?

  8. Can somebody tell me in simple terms how to buy a M-35 A2 truck and bring it up to Canada? I was thinking more of a private sale rather than GL or GSA?

  9. Where can I obtain a DSP-5 application or how?

  10. Dear sir or madam,

    I´m from Panama, do I need the DSP-5 to purchased sights and grips from United States to Panama???

  11. We are a contract manufacturer of electronic assemblies for Military/Defense/Aerospace applications. We are pursuing manufacturing product for a Canadian company. The product design belongs to the Canadian company, not us. The application is a US pilot trainer aircraft cockpit. Because the technology does not belong to our US based company, but rather to the Canadian firm, do we need a license to export their own product to them? We are just “adding” our manufacturing expertise. On another note, if they want to visit our facility (which has security clearance), do we need a license to allow them to come into our plant?

  12. Do I need an export license to export rice to Nigeria? (both home and Nigeria country)

  13. Hi my name is Alfred i open a security firm in Haiti i have licenses,i am an American citizen with security clearance.
    my business also register here in the US. so i want my guard to have weapon the Haitian Gov give me the GO,so how can i buy hanging for my guard n i can bring them to hem?
    what do i need now?

  14. Hi,
    I wish to import from the USA to Australia 1944 army duck (GMC DUKW) . Its been out of the military for decades and needs a restoration due to rust. Also a couple of 1945 trailers too. Do I need to submit the DSP 5 form?
    thanks Craig.

  15. Do we need an export license to export our hand held rescue tools to mexico and abroad. Thank you.

  16. Our website is currently under construction, it will be about another 3-weeks…

    We have a class 8 FFL but we also need to be set up to export with department of commerce to export shotguns and Department of State to import rifles, shotguns and hand guns. Do you have a phone number for someone we can speak with that can helps us understand the requirements and help us navigate the maze so we can complete the required permitting paperwork, (forms)?