UAVs and related parts, components, accessories, equipment, software, technical information and technical assistance are subject to export control restrictions by the U.S. government as well as other export control authorities worldwide (e.g., the European Union, EU member states, and Switzerland, among others). These restrictions cover permanent and temporary exports, reexports, and sometimes in-country transfers of such items; in some cases, they also impose restrictions on temporary imports. If you export UAVs or related items, it is important to be aware of the appropriate export classification and licensing requirements for the items. Additionally, you may want to consider the following:
- Are the UAV and related items treated as military items? A UAV’s use in a commercial application does not necessarily mean that the UAV will not be treated as a military item. Military UAVs are generally subject to stricter export license requirements and greater scrutiny during the license application review process. Licensing for military UAVs may involve different regulatory agencies.
- Are there any license exceptions or general licenses available that could authorize your anticipated activities? In certain situations, you may be able to utilize a license exception or general license in lieu of having to seeking a specific license for a proposed transaction; this can save time and effort. But use of license exceptions and general licenses should be done with caution to ensure all terms and conditions are satisfied before exporting.
- Are you meeting the appropriate documentary and recordkeeping requirements associated with exports, re-exports and in-country transfers of UAVs, including documentary requirements associated with the use of license exceptions or general licenses? In many cases, you are required to maintain records of your export activity and complete certain export documentation, even when an export does not require a specific license.
- Do special requirements apply to temporary exports or reexports? For example, are you flying the UAV from one country to another during your operation of the UAV, or are you shipping the UAV to another country temporarily for a trade show or other exhibition? Temporary exports and reexports can also trigger license requirements (or the need for a license exception or general license); it is important to not assume that a proposed transaction does not require any specific authorization simply because the UAV will be returned back to the original country afterward. Also of note, obtaining a carnet does not provide any relief from applicable export authorization requirements.
- Are you sending or sharing technical information with persons in other countries (or non-U.S. persons in the United States)? The disclosure of technical information by any means (including in person, via email or the internet, or via telephone) can trigger export license requirements if the person receiving the information is located in another country or, if the disclosure occurs in the United States and the recipient is not a U.S. person.