Certain cultural goods more than 50 years of age (with exceptions for certain collections or for certain objects of particular interest) and valued above specified financial thresholds will require an individual licence for export out of the United Kingdom whether on a permanent or temporary basis.

The export licensing controls for objects of cultural interest are designed to strike a balance between the protection of national treasures and their retention in this country; the rights of owners; and the preservation of the position and reputation of the UK as an international art market.

For further details about which objects require an individual licence please refer to the guidance below.

Should you have any additional enquries, you can contact the Export Licensing Unit on 020 7268 9606/9635/9623/9622/9642/9614, via email at elu@artscouncil.org.uk or via post to the following address:

Export Licensing Unit
Arts Council England
21 Bloomsbury Street
London
WC1B 3HF

Guidance

UK Export Licensing for Cultural Goods:  Procedures and guidance for exporters of works of art and other cultural goods

Download: PDF

This provides guidance on the procedures involved in applying for an export licence for cultural goods. Part I sets out the controls which apply to cultural goods, when an individual export licence is required and how you should apply for one. Part II details how decisions are reached on licence applications for objects of national importance. 

Statutory Guidance on the criteria to be taken into consideration when making a decision about whether or not to grant an export licence

Download: PDF

Guidance on the Provision of Provenance
This guidance indicates what provenance details are required to support an export licence application.

Guidance to Exporters of Archaeological Objects

Guidance to Exporters of Archaeological Objects (Including Numismatic Items)
This guidance sets out the export licensing requirements for the export of archaeological objects (including numismatic items).

Guidance for Exporters of Archaeological Objects (UK Origin)
This guidance assists exporters in applying for an export licence for archaeological objects of UK origin.

Notices for Exporters

Cultural Objects from Syria
Details of the EU embargo on the import/export of Syrian cultural property.

ELA1 form (for inclusion with export licence applications)
This form is a summary sheet which should accompany export licence applications (it is not an export licence application form which are not avilable electronically).

Open General Export Licence (Objects of Cultural Interest) dated 12 March 2015
Granted by the Secretary of State.

Cultural objects from Iraq
Details of the UN embargo on the import/export of Iraqi cultural property.

ELU Notice to Exporters of Musical Instruments
Information on how to apply for an individual EU Open Specific Export Licence for any musical instruments for their temporary export outside the EU for a period of less than six months for use in the course of work by a professional musician.

ELU open licence form (musical instruments)
Application form to apply for an individual EU Open Specific Export Licence for a musical instrument.

ELU Notice to Exporters of Motor Vehicles
Information on how to apply for an individual EU Open Specific Export Licence for a motor vehicle for its temporary export outside the EU for a period of less than six months for use for pleasure purposes. 

ELU open licence form (motor vehicles)
Application form to apply for an individual EU Open Specific Export Licence for a motor vehicle.

Notice to Exporters of Manuscripts
Definition of when the presence of marginalia means that printed matter should be treated as a manuscript for the purposes of export.

Notices for Exporters and Expert Advisers

Duty of Confidentiality