How-Tos

Determine When Export Control Laws Apply

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.

When 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. The H-1B I-129 certification process is administered through the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and the Export Control Manager and will begin automatically when the visa application is submitted to OISS.

Please contact the Export Control Manager for an export control review of any instances where there may be an export control concern.