Travelling with Thermal Imaging

Travelling with Thermal Imaging

Birders and ringers are often well travelled, and the thought of taking their thermal unit abroad appeals to many. However, it isn't as straight forward as popping it in your suitcase with your binos and camera. If you are planning on travelling with your device then read on.

Thermal Imaging 

Destination depending, it is possible to take your device abroad as long as the correct paperwork has been obtained.


This is taken directly from Thomas Jacks - the importer of Pulsar 

Taking Thermal & Night Vision Outside of the UK.

Thermal imaging and night vision products are strictly controlled by ITAR regulations and are subject to UK Government Export Licensing Regulations. Dependent on specification, a licence may need to be obtained prior to the export, even temporarily (e.g. holiday), from the UK.

Additionally, some countries may be embargoed, and no thermal imagers or night vision devices can be taken or exported to them. It is the responsibility of the exporter, whether it be a company or individual, to ensure that such a licence is obtained.

Failure to comply is a criminal offence.


To apply for a licence you have to fill in an application through the following portal

SPIRE - Export Licensing System (

I have been told that the system looks very complicated, but once you have found the relevant sections is less daunting. Also, once one application has been made any subsequent ones are much quicker as the details are already saved.

They do have a helpline number and seem very friendly and approachable when I have spoken to them. Licences take 3-4 weeks (at time of writing) so make sure you start in plenty of time.


As ever, if you would like any help then please get in touch!

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