Understanding Basic Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) License Requirements

Print This Post Print This Post

By: Nidaal Jubran

Only a small percentage of U.S. exports require a license from a licensing Seal of US State Department agency. One of these  agencies is the State Department, specifically the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, deals primarily with military items and weapons.

  • If your shipment(s) require a DDTC license, make sure you complete the application process and obtain any official paperwork.
    • If you do not know if your shipment requires a DDTC license, contact the agency by calling 202-663-1282.
  • If you already have a license, you need to know a few key pieces before submitting future licensed shipments:
    • the license balance
    • the license renewal/expiration dates
    • any pending or accepted amendments

License Balance

As you continue to file shipments against your DDTC license, your license will become ‘decremented’ with each additional filing. This simply means that your license balance will decrease by the value of each accepted shipment. When the license balance is fully exhausted, an informational message will be sent stating:

176 DDTC LIC NOW EXHAUSTED: <License Type/Number>

At this time, your company must apply for an amendment to add more value onto the license or apply for a new license.

Caution: We understand that informational messages like this may fly under the radar, particularly for high-volume exporters. At the AES Branch, we stress the importance of addressing fatal error messages and compliance alerts when they arise. However, companies must take notice of these informational messages as well. Understanding messages like this when they arise may save you:

  • time
  • fees and penalties
  • seizures/delays
  • or other enforcement action.

License Registration Renewal vs. License Number Renewal

License Registration Renewal License Number Renewal
·   DDTC Licenses are registered directly to the USPPI, and must be renewed every year.·  The fee is $2,500 per registrant, and this must be done up to, but not exceeding, 60 days prior to the next date of export. ·  The License number itself will expire after four years, and the renewal fee is variable.·  Remember that the registration and license number may have different expiration dates, and if you receive a fatal error related to the license, check the dates first to determine if either needs to be removed.


(Visited 4,257 times, 1 visits today)
This entry was posted in Export Filing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Understanding Basic Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) License Requirements

  1. Molly says:

    Does AES only decrement value? When DDTC quantity is listed as ‘1 lot’ on the license what should the DDTC quantity be on the AES filing if only shipping peices, not the whole lot at one time?

    • Nidaal says:

      Molly, thank you very much for posting this question. Allow me to explain the way in which Units of Measure are reported in AES. Each Schedule B/HTS code has its own pre-assigned Unit of Measure. As you may have noticed, when you enter your Schedule B/HTS code into its data field, the Unit of Measure field will automatically select to its pre-assigned Unit.

      For example, if you were to enter the Schedule B/HTS code for Eggs, the Units for 1st Quantity field will automatically select to ‘Dozen’. Since this is an automated process, you should never try to change the Units for 1st Quantity once it’s already been selected, because doing so will result in errors in your shipment.

      Eric Gauthier, one of our experts here at AES, put together a very informative article on this very topic, entitled “How to Report the Commodity Quantity in AES”. For more detailed information, and solutions to issues you may come across, please take a look at his article which can be found here: http://globalreach.blogs.census.gov/2010/08/03/how-to-report-the-commodity-quantity-in-aes/

      It is important to note that the DDTC Quantity may not necessarily correlate with the AES Unit of Measure. The DDTC Quantity is the number of units that corresponds to the DDTC measure reported for the specified commodity. For more a more detailed explanation of the DDTC Quantity, please follow the link below:


      If you have questions about the DDTC information specific to your license, you can contact the DDTC at (202) 663-2714.

  2. Kelly says:

    Wait is the timeframe between when a license is approved by DDTC to when the license information is uploaded/linked in the AES to allow for shipment?

  3. Global Reach Nidaal says:

    Thank you for this question. This would be best addressed by the Directorate of Defence Trade Controls (DDTC) directly. You can reach them at 202-663-1282.

  4. Cytec says:

    Once an electronic Registration Renewal has been submitted/accepted, is there a way through AES to track the progress/status of the renewal?

  5. Nidaal says:


    Unfortunately, AES does not track the renewal status of license registration. Please refer to the licensing agency for this information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *