New License Exceptions Available for UAS Under the EAR

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to reflect changes to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Annex. This Federal Register rule (2023-26682.pdf ( expands the eligibility for the use of license exceptions under the EAR for MT-controlled items. These changes to license exception eligibility are also being made as part of a broader effort that will liberalize several categories of export licensing requirements.

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR or Regime) is an export control arrangement among 35 nations, including most of the world’s suppliers of advanced missiles and missile-related equipment, materials, software, and technology. The regime establishes a common list of controlled items (the Annex) and a common export control policy (the Guidelines) that member countries implement through their national export controls. The MTCR seeks to limit the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by controlling exports of goods and technologies that could make a contribution to delivery systems (other than manned aircraft) for such weapons.

This final rule expands the eligibility of license exceptions for MT-controlled items, by amending the EAR to expand the eligibility for the use of four license exceptions under the EAR for MT-controlled items and to add one new license exception authorization under an existing license exception. In addition, this rule revises the general restriction on the use of license exceptions to ensure that the limited set of additional license exception authorizations specified are not available for destinations of concern for missile technology reasons or that are subject to a U.S. arms embargo and makes conforming changes where needed to license exceptions to ensure that only certain license exceptions or portions of license exceptions will be available for MT-controlled items.

This is great news, especially for EAR-controlled Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). This final rule allows the following license exceptions to be applied to EAR-controlled UAS exports in certain circumstances: Temporary Exports (TMP), U.S. Government Exports (GOV), Return and Replace (RPL), Technology & Software Unrestricted (TSU), Aircraft Vessels & Spacecraft (AVS), Additional Permissive Reexports (APR).  This will greatly increase the ability of EAR-controlled UAS exporters to export to certain countries without a license, provided they meet the requirements of these license exceptions in the EAR.