Export Licenses

A U.S. export license is required for government and military end users outside the EU license-free zone. The license process is composed of three (sometimes four) process steps. The License Questionnaire is not the License Application.

License Process

Part 1: License Questionnaire

License Questionnaire Form

The license questionnaire is the document the export agent uses to prepare the license application. Export Operations needs good information from the person most knowledgeable about the order so that we can prepare the License Application. It will take 48 hours to process a License Questionnaire, and to let the submitter know if we have accepted or rejected the information.

Part 2: Application

Export Operations prepares the License Application on behalf of the end user and submits it to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce acknowledges the application with a Z number. We send the Z number to the submitter.

Part 3: License Review by U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Government will take a minimum of 60 days to review the license application. Licenses applications can undergo multiple U.S. interagency reviews including but not limited to the Departments of Defense, National Security Agency, and the FBI. Export Operations has no control over which U.S. government agencies review the license, how long the review process may take.

Part 4: Pre-Shipment Inspection

As a condition of the license,the U.S. Department of Commerce may choose to impose a pre-shipment inspection. Cisco will work with the U.S. government to schedule the inspection; however, Cisco has no control over when the government will choose to complete it. If a pre-shipment inspection is required, Export Operations will contact you.


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Upon receipt of a valid License Questionnaire, it takes Export Operations generally 10 days to prepare and submit the License Application. The 60-day wait begins from the time the License Application is submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

It is imperative that Export Operations receives a License Questionnaire as soon as it is requested,and that any questions Export Operations may have about the information submitted are answered fast and completely. We only ask for the information we need to process the form. please help us by providing accurate answers to the License Application questions.

License Types

New License

This is most of our license work. Anything defense related, military, civil justice,or police will always require a new license. Most ministries will also require a new license.


Exemptions are used on a case by case basis for orders that can qualify under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  Export uses these exemptions on projects that appear to be infrastructure.  Export will release orders without a license questionnaire if we can apply these exemptions.  TELCO, water, and power are generally the types of orders that can be granted this exemption.

Encryption License Arrangements

Export Operations has special license arrangements for some types of government and military agencies. These are called Encryption License Arrangements (ELAs). We have applied for these licenses for very large organizations, such as the United Nations. They are location- and equipment-specific. A License Questionnaire is required for these orders.

ELA-specific information:

  • Export Operations must still submit a License Application for ELAs, but the wait is generally 15 days.
  • ELAs are rare and are decided on a case-by-case basis, based on the License Questionnaire.
  • Export Operations will notify you when we have asked to use an ELA instead of a new license.

Addresses on License Questionnaires

  • Export Operations will not accept distributor addresses as end-user information.
  • Complete addresses are required. If you do not have a street address, please reference a cross street or landmark.
  • P.O. boxes are not acceptable. Please provide a more detailed address. We recognize that street addresses are not necessarily all like American or European street addresses, but please list what the intersections and/or closest-recognized landmarks are to identify the physical address of the end-user location (next to the theater, across from the hospital, etc.).
  • For government orders, you must tell Export Operations precisely where in the government the order is going. For example, do not say "Croatian Government" (not specific enough); instead, say "Croatian Government, Department of Justice" (specific enough). This information can be provided in an e-mail without having to change the end-user information on the order.

Export Operations Has Asked for a License Questionnaire

  • If Export Operations asks for a License Questionnaire, please submit this questionnaire. Failure to do so will only cause delays. The License Questionnaire is the beginning of the license process. Export Operations cannot apply for a license on your behalf without it.
  • If Export Operations has questions about the information submitted, please answer them. We are just trying to get the information we need to prepare the License Application for you.
  • Once an application is submitted, do not add parts to the sales order. This will void the License Application and we will have to begin the process again.

Contact STELA

  • Once a Z number (Application Control Number beginning with Z) is issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the status of the license can be checked by contacting the Bureau of Industry and Security's System for Tracking Export License Applications (STELA).
  • Go to
  • Enter the Application control number that you were given by export, number begins with  Z
  • The status of the license application, and the agency that is currently reviewing the license application,  will be displayed

License Questionnaire issues are handled by Export Operations.

My Company Can File Its Own U.S. Export Licenses

If your company has clearance to file its own U.S. export licenses, please contact Export Operations. If you have questions about the Certified Partner Stocking Program, or can demonstrate the ability to file for your own U.S. export licenses, please go to Certified Partner Stocking Program.