There are export rules in place which mean that some types of goods can only be legally sold overseas by licensed exporters. These products are listed on the commerce control list, and given an ECCN classification by the Department of Commerce. If you’re exporting, you’ll need to check if your goods have an ECCN to see if you need a license.
What is ECCN number?
An ECCN — Export Control Classification Number — is used to identify items which may be subject to export control.
Most commercially-exported products are designated EAR99 — meaning exporters usually don’t need any special license to sell overseas. However, there are also a range of goods — such as chemicals, electronics and computers — which may be on the Commerce Control List (CCL), meaning exporters are subject to licensing rules.
You can check if you need a license to export your goods by looking for an export control classification number. If the Department of Commerce has issued an ECCN, you need to take some time to look at the export rules, and get yourself the appropriate license before you can proceed.
How to pay for goods abroad
Paying overseas invoices — or receiving a payment from a customer based outside of the US — can be expensive. Not only do you have administration fees to consider, you may also find you’re given a poor exchange rate by your bank or service provider, pushing prices up further.
With Wise Business, you don’t need to worry about high bank fees or unfair exchange rates. Instead, you can simply and securely send money all over the world using the mid-market exchange rate. Payments are often quicker than regular international wire transfers, and there’s only a low upfront fee to pay.
If you need to receive payments, you can do so from the US, UK, euro area, Australia and New Zealand. Get yourself a Mastercard debit card, and you can also make ATM withdrawals and spend your money easily wherever you are in the world.
ECCN code format
ECCNs are 5 character alphanumeric codes, for example 3A001:
- The format starts with the category from the CCL the product falls into. There are 10 categories to choose from - so an ECCN number starting with the digit 3 would be electronics, while the ECCN for a chemical being exported would begin with the number 1.
- Next you have a letter, which shows the product group. There are 5 different product groups, including systems, materials and software for example.
- The final 3 characters indicate the reasons for licensing control on that particular type of product or item.
- A. Systems, Equipment and Components
- B. Test, Inspection and Production Equipment
- C. Material
- D. Software
- E. Technology
|Commerce Control List Categories||Commerce Control List Categories|
Animal & Animal Products
Raw Hides, Skins, Leather, & Furs
Wood & Wood Products
Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils
Pulp of Wood or of Other Fibrous Material
Footwear / Headgear
Chemicals & Allied Industries
Stone / Glass
Plastics / Rubbers
Natural or Cultured Pearls
How to find ECCN number
Here’s what to do if you need an ECCN for your planned export. You have a few different options, including:
- Talk to the manufacturer, who may already have an assigned ECCN
- Look at the Commerce Control List, and work through the categories to find the ECCN which most closely fits your product
- Get an ECCN online through the Electronic Request for Item Classification (ERIC) process. To get started with this, you’ll need to visit the BIS website and get a PIN code to apply online
- Write to BIS to ask for your ECCN using the BIS multipurpose application form BIS-748P. This could take 3 or 4 weeks, so apply in good time
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What is the difference between Schedule B and ECCN?
If you’re new to importing, the different terminology used can be confusing. As well as ECCN numbers, you may have heard of Schedule B numbers. Schedule B numbers are codes produced by the US Census Bureau to track trade statistics, measuring the volume and value of exports out of the country, for example.