Licensing and Registration

Under ITAR section 122.1(a), an arms exporter must first register with the DDTC and receive State Department approval of their license application. Registration is a pre-requisite for licensing, and approval of the license application entitles the would-be arms exporter to important export privileges.

Additional registration requirements and exemptions
Under ITAR section 120.25, an arms exporter-applicant must select an employee or a subsidiary of their company to serve as an “Empowered Official”.

An Empowered Official must: a) serve as the legal agent for the exporter-applicant when signing off on license applications and other approval requests; b) understand the requirements and penalties of applicable export control regulations; c) be able to conduct independent inquiries and verification of submission information; and d) have the authority to refuse to sign off on a license application or other approval request without being punished for doing so.

Empowered Officials are largely responsible for ITAR compliance, and as such, are also responsible for the maintenance of any and all arms export control plans (which may include internal training and awareness programs).

ITAR registration is not required for all arms exporters. Officers and employees of the government who are acting in an official capacity are not required to register, and neither are persons involved in the exportation or manufacture of defense articles meant solely for experimental purposes (e.g., for R&D purposes).

The licensing process
Once registration is complete, the license approval process can move forward. Licenses must be submitted through DTrade, an electronic submission system.

During the review process, the State Department ensures that information related to the use and purpose of the defense article, handling, and the identity of the recipient end-user is verified and compliant with applicable regulations.

A sizeable portion of license applications will be referred to other agencies for further investigation and for recommendations. In general, exporters should expect the license approval process to take at least a month to complete, but should prepare for a longer process, especially when the application has been referred out for additional recommendations.

Importantly, arms exportation to certain countries and specific regions are prohibited outright, and a license will not be approved if the end-user resides in or will use the defense article in a prohibited area. A list of embargoed areas is made available in the updated text of ITAR 126.1. Certain areas are not prohibited by default but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

To prevent resale or transfer by an end-user, export documentation must unequivocally state that further transfer is prohibited without the written approval of the State Department.

Comments are closed.