How to start exporting agricultural products

Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food

The import or export of certain agricultural products to or from the European Union (EU) is only permitted with the use of an import or export license. The products that are generally subject to licensing are listed in the appendix to Regulation (EU) 2016/1237 and our general information on import and export licenses for agricultural products. In Germany, Unit 514 of the BLE (Licensing Unit) is responsible for issuing licenses and the import rights that may be required for this.

Electronic license

From June 1, 2021, import licenses can be issued and used electronically in Germany, provided that the customs declaration (s) for the import license are to be made in whole or in part at a German customs office. In these cases, the license holder receives a notification about the issue of the license and the license number.

For import processes for which customs declarations are to be submitted to a customs office in another member state, a license or partial license must still be issued in paper form and presented to the responsible customs office for write-off.

If it is already known when applying for the license that no import operations are planned in Germany, "Paper license" must be entered in the Comments field of the license application. In all other cases, "electronic license" must be entered in the Comments field of the license application. If the import is to take place in whole or in part in another member state, the BLE will issue - upon informal application - either a license for the still available quantity or corresponding partial licenses in paper form.

If the Comments field of the license application does not contain any of the above entries, the license will always be issued in paper form.

Use of an electronic license in Germany

In the case of a customs declaration for which an electronic license exists, only the license number needs to be entered in the ATLAS system. The corresponding depreciation for the license is automatically transmitted to the BLE.

Use of a license or partial license in paper form

The customs declarations for licenses that were issued in paper form must - as before - be copied on this license and confirmed by customs.

Release of security

For the release and billing of the security of a license or partial licenses that were issued in paper form, the original of the license and, if applicable, all originals of the partial licenses must be returned to the BLE in due time.

For the release and settlement of the security of an "electronic license", an informal application from the license holder to the BLE is sufficient if the customs declarations for this license are complete or if no further customs declarations are planned.

The licensing department usually creates up-to-date information, leaflets, forms and instructions for the general and specific regulations of the EU. They are available for download in the tables following the text section of the corresponding website.

The EU Commission has set up the electronic system for the registration and identification of license operators (LORI) to receive information from market participants who are interested in applying for TRQs for which prior mandatory registration is required (so-called LORI TRQs).
According to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/760 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/761, market participants who apply for the following tariff quotas must register in the LORI system:
09.4285, 09.4067, 09.4068, 09.4069, 09.4211, 09.4212, 09.4213, 09.4214, 09.4215, 09.4216, 09.4251, 09.4254, 09.4255, 09.4260, 09.4263, 09.4273, 09.4410, 09.4411, 09.4422.4412 and 09.4420412.
Before actually registering, however, access to the Commission's AWAI portal must be requested at
Detailed guidelines for the use of the LORI electronic system are contained in the Commission's LORI Guide for LORI Market Participants.

For the import or export of individual products, additional permits, certificates or documents (e.g. permits for the import and marketing of organic products; veterinary certificates, certificates of authenticity and origin, etc.) may be required, for which other bodies or authorities may be required are responsible. Some of these positions are listed in our overview. Basic information can also be obtained from the responsible customs offices or the General Customs Directorate Central Information in Dresden, phone: 0351 / 44834-520, [email protected] It must also be ensured that the products comply with the applicable veterinary, hygiene and food regulations. Information on this is available from the locally responsible bodies for food monitoring (veterinary offices, regulatory agencies, etc.) and the responsible departments in the ministries of the federal states.

When applying for and using the licenses, the regulations from the general (horizontal) Regulations (EU) 2016/1237 and 2016/1239 as well as some special features from various specific EU regulations must be observed. Licenses can only be applied for by parties who are established in the EU and have their commercial headquarters here. Licenses within the framework of contingent regulations (contingent licenses) can generally only be applied for by those involved who are established in Germany. In some cases, the application for quota licenses is dependent on the prior allocation of an import right. In some cases, the application for licenses is only possible after prior approval by the parties involved (e.g. as an importer of hemp or milk products).

New applicants are recorded on the basis of their details and the documents to be sent (trade, trade, cooperative register evidence for legal entities; evidence of the allocation of the EORI number by the customs administration) with regard to their proper establishment in the EU as well as the company name and address and receive a BLE internal registration number (ZESTA no.). To apply for certain licenses such as B. Quota licenses also apply to additional, special requirements.

The licenses entitle and oblige the holder to import or export the quantity of the relevant product granted with the license within the period of validity. They can be used in any member state of the EU.

When applying for a license, it is usually necessary to provide a security, the amount of which is specified in the horizontal Regulation (EU) 2016/1239 or the corresponding specific regulation. General information on the provision of securities is contained in Announcement No. 01/2016/21 on securities for agricultural products within the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union of July 28, 2016 (PDF, 38 KB, not accessible). Additional information on securities in the licensing area can be found in the information below.

In addition, the licensing department is responsible in individual cases, and provided this is expressly regulated in the Foreign Trade Ordinance, for issuing export permits for agricultural products that are to be exported within the framework of an embargo against third countries. The Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA) in Eschborn is responsible for all other, non-agricultural products.

General information and instructions

If the product-specific information does not reveal any deviations or special features, the general information and instructions must be observed.

date title
25.07.2018General information about import and export licenses for agricultural products (PDF, 2 MB, not accessible)
25.06.2019Instructions for ELA-Online (PDF, 1 MB, not accessible)
04.11.2016 Interactive fill-in aid for license applications (PDF, 4 MB, not accessible)
04.11.2020Information on keeping records and applying for a license within the scope of import tariff quotas for agricultural products in accordance with Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/760 - valid for quota periods starting from 01.01.2021 (PDF, 274 KB, not accessible)
04.11.2020Information: Merger of companies for reference quantities (PDF, 261 KB, not accessible)
12.04.2017 Information on the provision and administration of securities in the licensing area (PDF, 200 KB, not accessible)
26.07.2019Leaflet with recommendations and information for license holders (PDF, 29 KB, not accessible)

Legal notice

License applications that are not made using the ELA-Online application must generally be submitted by post in writing in the original with a legally valid signature. License applications, other applications, declarations, legal remedies, etc. can also be sent via the central address [email protected] with a qualified electronic signature or via [email protected] by De-Mail in the send variant with confirmed secure registration become. An advance transmission of license applications by fax is only intended to meet the deadline. The mailbox of the license department [email protected] is only available for inquiries and purely informal correspondence. The licenses as well as all documents and other documents that are to be submitted in the original or in certified form must always be sent by post.

Information on the transmission of documents by fax (PDF, 130 KB, not accessible)


General and legal information is available from the head of the unit under Contact. For information and information about licenses, licensing obligations and other questions about certain types of goods and licenses, please contact the contact persons listed on the respective sub-pages.

On the subject

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