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Dual-use items (including physical goods, software, and technology) are those which can be used for both civil and military purposes. The UK maintains a list of dual-use goods and technology that it considers to be 'export controlled'. 

‘Export’ here applies to the transfer of controlled goods, technology, or software from the UK to a destination outside the UK. This includes:

•    The physical export of items;
•    Electronic transfers (e.g. fax, email or uploading information to an overseas server);
•    Travelling overseas with controlled information on paper, in a laptop, USB stick or similar;
•    Oral transmission (e.g. conversation, telephone or video conferencing) where the detail of a technology contained in a document is read out or communicated in a manner that is substantially the same as providing the recipient with the document;
•    Trafficking or brokering goods between two overseas countries.


‘Technology’ is defined as information necessary for the development, production, or use of goods. This might take the form of blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, or manuals and instructions, either written or recorded on other media or devices such as disks, tapes or read-only memories. Technology that is not ‘required’ and ‘necessary’ for the development, production or use of controlled goods is not controlled.

Further Examples of Dual-Use Goods, Technology and Software

The UK dual-use list splits out goods, technology, and software into these broad categories:

Control categories Items
0 nuclear materials
1 materials, chemicals, micro-organisms and toxins
2 materials processing
3 electronics
4 computers
5 telecommunications and information security
6 sensors and lasers
7 navigation and avionics
8 marine
9 aerospace and propulsion

Specific examples of dual-use goods, technology and software include global positioning satellites, night vision technology, thermal imaging, some lasers, some drones, and other goods that are designed using precise manufacturing specifications to be used in or in conjunction with dual-use/military equipment. Other examples may include chemicals, radioactive material, and some computer software. In addition, there are wider controls on exports for use, in any way, in nuclear or weapons of mass destruction programmes.

For more information on dual-use controls, please refer to the Research Strategy Office’s webpage

If you require any further guidance, please consult the Import Export Hub at and the Research Strategy Office at 

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