What Is a Pre-License Check for an Export License?


Quick Answer

At its discretion, the U.S. Department of Commerce or any U.S. department agency may require a pre-license check for an export license to ensure the identity and reliability of any recipient of exported products. As of 2016, the pre-license check is run through appropriate government channels and dictated by the Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Export Administration Regulations, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and its amendments, and Executive Order #12981: Administration of Export Controls.

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Full Answer

President Bill Clinton issued the executive order on December 6, 1995, and it details the process of the pre-license check. The order fully empowers the U.S. secretary of commerce to make final determinations regarding export licensing and to execute pre-licensing procedures. The secretary must request the pre-license check within five days of the export license application if the secretary deems it necessary. The secretary and the department's staff must also complete the pre-licensing check within five days after it starts.

Such pre-licensing checks apply to any material included for review according to the Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Export Administration Regulations and any successor legislation to such acts. Clinton signed the executive order as an additional step toward addressing a national emergency described and addressed in a previous executive order regarding the access of foreign entities to sensitive technology.

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