Laws and Regulations

The most important laws or the laws that most people are interested in are the US export laws. We will also explain some ground rules and regulations for the European Union and some facts about Germany and France.

Let’s start with the US.
Most people have at least heard of ITAR. We will mostly summarise this and give you an overview of things you can do and things you cannot do. This is for civilians, Mil/LE are a completely different story.

night_vision_police
Police Helicopter Pilot wearing anvis 9 goggles

Basic rule here is “DO NOT”. Everything regarding export or even testing on US soil is prohibited. As a foreigner even looking through a Gen 3 device is not allowed. Export of Gen 3 is only allowed to Mil/LE with export license and even then there’s an FOM limit to these export IITs.
However, some US made Gen 2 devices are exportable, but also here are restrictions in terms of performance, it can never be beyond:

Resolution 65 lp/mm
SNR 20
Sensitivity <350
FOM <1000

Side note: Photonis cheapest commercial grade tubes have almost double the sensitivity normally and a higher SNR.

Saying Gen 2 is exportable is true even though you need an export license for that by the Department of Commerce. To apply for such license you need to be a company, usually Armasight etc will do that.

Exporting a Gen 3 device is punishable with prison sentence and major fines! Illegal export of Gen 2 will cost you a lot of money in fines too.

Now we go over the pond to Europe starting with regulations of the EU. Most people in Europe do not know that the EU has almost as strict export laws as the US.
Most NVDs are considered at least “dual use” goods or even military equipment. The EU regulation is just the guide line from where every company starts off with their legislation process.
Basically everything you use is restricted by either photocathode (GaAs, multialkali i.e. S-20,S-25), having an MCP with a hole pitch less than 12 ?m or having a sensitivity above 350 ?A/lm. This covers all IITs that are manufactured in the EU or sold here. These restrictions don’t come with a penalty since that has to be done by the jurisdiction of the member country and by the laws of each country.

For example, in Germany to export a Gen 2 IIT within the EU, there is no paperwork necessary for a civilian, but exporting a Gen 3 IIT requires an export license by the BAFA. No matter if you are civilian or not and even if you go on a hunting trip to Czech you’d officially need an export license! Violations are punishable by high fines and commercially even by prison.
For Germany there are also restrictions regarding which kind of NVD you can use as a civilian. You cannot mount any NVD onto a rifle and systems designed to be mounted on a rifle are illegal to own. Some companies may have a special license to sell such devices even to civilians but mounting them still remains illegal. Even though hunting at night is legal.

In France owning Gen 3 is illegal for civilians, also is having systems that can be mounted to anything. Only handheld devices of Gen 1 and Gen 2 are legal to own. Exporting any NVD without an export license is also punishable by fines!

So since this EU regulation is binding for all EU countries, before shipping or maybe even traveling with an NVD, you should thoroughly check out the export laws in your country AND the local laws in the country you are transferring your NVD to.

Link to EU Dual Use regulations
Link to ITAR
Link to BAFA (German)