Germany to issue DU licenses exclusively in electronic form

From 1 March 2021, the German competent authority for granting license related to trade of dual-use goods, BAFA, will start issuing authorisations, zero notices, information as well as renewals and amendments to decisions in the field of foreign trade law exclusively in electronic form.[1]

Paper notices will not be necessary anymore, meaning that companies can use the permits immediately after their publication on the ELAN-K2 Export portal[2]. Under this acronym, standing for Electronic Application Registration and Communication, BAFA developed a platform allowing inter alia for electronic applications, issuing and communications. It is noteworthy that the portal may be used to apply for other licences in export sector other than those to be applied to BAFA.

However, exceptions to the exclusive electronic form are made for export authorizations for temporary, repeated export, transit authorizations, re-export consents as well as rejections and objection notices. In fact, these will continue to be issued in paper form. As for documentation issued exclusively in electronic form, it is possible, when there is a legitimate interest, to require a duplicate copy of the electronic approvals to BAFA (e.g. in case a foreign customs office of exit does not accept the e-authorization).

E-licensing systems seem to present numerous advantages besides the paperless applications and electronic processing of export authorization, such as more transparence, a better and faster communication and processing of requests, processing multiple applications at the same time, easily checking the status of the applications and saving time. 

At EU level, a lot of work has been done with regard to the electronic exchange of information between competent authorities and the Commission, through the Dual-use e-System (DUeS). 

Furthermore, the Commission also worked on an “electronic licensing platform” to be used by competent authorities on a voluntary basis, launching an “eLicensing pilot project”. Began in 2017, the project is in its testing and implementation phase in five pilot MS: Belgium (Wallonie), Greece, Italy, Latvia, Romania. The dual-use e-licensing pilot is expected to be available to all EU MS during this year. The objective of the project is to have a paperless process for all types of licenses (transit, brokering etc both EU and national) within the EU.

[1] See the notice in the official website available at:

[2] Available at:

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