Washington University in St. Louis | OVCR
Export Control: Overview
What is export control?​
Export control laws regulate the export of commodities, related technical data and information, and certain services the federal government considers critical to the national security or domestic economy of the United States. The export control laws also regulate the transfer of controlled technical data to foreign nationals within the United States ("deemed exports")
"Exports" are more than overseas shipments

 An export is defined as the "release" of:
  • Tangible items e.g. equipment
  • Technology
  • Software
  • Source code
  • Technical data or information
  • Defense articles or services
    ………to a foreign country or to a foreign national in the U.S.
“Release” can occur through: 
  • Shipping 
  • Visual inspection
  • Verbal discussions
  • Email/Fax
  • Computer data disclosure
  • Training
Depending on the specific technologies and countries involved, a license may be needed for export outside of the U.S. or for a foreign national within the U.S. to have access to controlled items, technology, or data.

imageWhen would export control laws apply to me?

Examples of common university situations where export controls may apply:
Tangible Exports
  • Shipping items to a foreign collaborator
  • Temporary export of equipment to a foreign country to conduct field work
  • PI transfers to a foreign country and samples are transferred to the new institution
  • PI travels to a foreign country and takes controlled items or information with them (e.g. on a laptop)
Deemed Exports
  • A foreign graduate student or postdoc participates in research and is given access to technology controlled for their home country
  • A foreign visitor has access to controlled equipment or technical data while visiting or touring a university lab or field site
  • A visitor with connections to a foreign military receives training in a controlled technology at a university

Faculty will frequently encounter the deemed export rule when petitioning for visas​ on behalf of foreign employees.  For H1-B visa applications, the required USCIS Form I-129 Visa Petition effectively requires the University to pre-certify that its foreign employees will not have access to any ITAR- or EAR-controlled technologies during the course of their employment. 

imageHow are "U.S. person" and "Foreign National" defined?
A “U.S. Person” is defined as a:
  • ​Lawful Permanent Resident
    • U.S. Citizen
    • Legal Immigrant with a “Green Card”
  • Protected Individual granted asylum or refugee status
“Foreign National” includes everyone else, including foreign governments or entities not incorporated to do business in the U.S.
imageWho regulates the Export Control Laws?​

Two primary sets of regulations govern the export of controlled technologies: the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  

The ITAR, which are administered and enforced by Department of State through its Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), regulate the export of military, space, and satellite technologies.  

The EAR, which are administered and enforced by the Department of Commerce through its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), regulate the export of “dual-use” technologies. Dual-use technologies have both civilian and military applications, and they are the most commonly controlled items on campus. The potential military application is frequently not obvious.

In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), enforces U.S. embargo and sanction regimes that may restrict transactions with individuals and entities (including universities) in certain foreign countries irrespective of whether the exported technology is controlled under the ITAR or the EAR. 

​Agency ​Office ​Regulations ​Mechanism ​Jurisdiction
US Department of Com​merce​ Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)​ ​Export ​Administration Regulations (EAR) ​Commerce Control List (CCL)​ ​Dual-use technologies having both military and civilian applications
US Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) ​U.S. Munitions List ​Military technologies, and "defense services"
US Department of the Treasury​ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Sanctions and Embargoes Embargoed CountriesOFAC Sanctions, Specially Designated Nationals lists (also see Consolidated Screening List) ​Trade sanctions, embargoes, restricted parties, terrorism, and anti-narcotics

imageWhat types of items are controlled?

“Dual-Use” Technologies

The controlled technologies most commonly found on campus are “dual-use” technologies covered by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). These are items or technologies with potential for both civilian and military use (the military use may not be obvious). Dual-use items can be found on the Commerce Control List (CCL). Each category on the CCL is assigned an Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs).

Commerce Control List – Dual-Use Item Categories (EAR)
• Category 0 Nuclear Materials, Facilities and Miscellaneous
• Category 1 Materials, Chemicals, Microorganisms, and Toxins
• Category 2 Materials Processing
• Category 3 Electronics
• Category 4 Computers
• Category 5 Part 1: Telecommunications Part 2: Information Security
• Category 6 Lasers and Sensors
• Category 7 Navigation and Avionics
• Category 8 Marine
• Category 9 Propulsion Systems, Space Vehicles, and Related

Each CCL Category is subdivided into five (5) Groups: (A) Equipment, assemblies, and components; (B) Test, inspection and production equipment; (C) Materials; (D) Software; and (E) Technology.  

Military Technologies

Military technologies are regulated under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and are listed on the United States Munitions List (USML).  

U.S. Munitions List (ITAR)​

  • Category I-Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns
  • Category II-Guns and Armament 
  • Category III-Ammunition/Ordnance 
  • Category IV-Launch Vehicles, Guided & Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs and Mines 
  • Category V-Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents and Constituents 
  • Category VI-Surface Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment 
  • Category VII-Ground Vehicles 
  • Category VIII-Aircraft and Related Articles 
  • Category IX-Military Training Equipment and Training
  • Category X-Protective Personnel Equipment and Shelters 
  • Category XI-Military Electronics 
  • Category XII-Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment 
  • Category XIII-Materials and Miscellaneous Articles
  • Category XIV-Toxicological Agents, including Chemical and Biological Agents, Associated Equipment 
  • Category XV-Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment 
  • Category XVI-Nuclear Weapons Design and Testing Related Items 
  • Category XVII-Classified Articles, Technical Data and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated 
  • Category XVIII-Directed Energy Weapons
  • Category XIX-Gas Turbine Engines and Associated Equipment
  • Category XX-Submersible Vessels and Related Articles 
  • Category XXI-Articles, Technical Data, and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated

Investigators should be aware that equipment and technologies designed for military use controlled by the ITAR will require a license for export or foreign national access even if being used for non-military purposes in a U.S. laboratory.  For example, ITAR controlled night vision equipment in use on campus to visualize cells under infrared light for biomedical research will require a license from the Departement of State for access by foreign nationals (including students and postdoctoral fellows).

For assistance in determining if your technology is controlled under the EAR or the ITAR, please contact the Export Control Manager at OVCRExportCompliance@wustl.edu. If you have foreign collaborations or would like to have foreign nationals on projects with controlled technologies, you may need to obtain a license prior to commencement of work.​

Important note about Biological and Chemical AgentsUnlike the EAR, which maintains a specific list of controlled biological items, ITAR-controlled biological and chemical agents are more broadly defined as "substances capable of producing casualties in humans or livestock, degrading equipment or damaging crops and which have been modified for the specific purpose of increasing such effects." Medical remediation methods, vaccines, antitoxins, antibodies, diagnostics, software and technical data relating to such agents may also be controlled. If you are working with agents that fit this definition, please contact the Export Control Manager at ovcrexportcompliance@wustl.edu.

imageWhat are the penalties for export control violations?

 Civil Penalties

​Up to $120,000 per violation ​Up to $500,000 per violation ​Up to $55,000 per violation
Individual (PI)​ ​Up to $120,000 per violation ​Up to $500,000 per violation ​Up to $55,000 per violaton
Criminal Penalties
​University​​ ​Up to $1 million per violation ​Up to $1 million per violation ​Up to $1 million per violation
Individual​ (PI) ​Up to $250,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison ​Up to $1 million and/or up to 10 years in prison ​Up to $100,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison


imageWho at the University can help me with compliance?

It is the role of the Export Control Manager to assist faculty and staff with export control compliance. For more information, to schedule a presentation, or to schedule a consultation about a specific issue please contact:

Laura Langton
Export Control Manager
langton@wustl.edu or ovcrexportcompliance@wustl.edu