Federal regulations govern many types of activities U.S. institutions are allowed to engage.

One highly regulated activity is exportation. Generally, an export can occur two ways:

  1. Through a physical transfer of an item from a U.S. citizen or institution to a foreign national or foreign institution, either within the U.S. or abroad; and/or
  2. Through the transfer of technological information, data, or research from a U.S. citizen to a foreign national or foreign institution, either within the U.S. or abroad.

A transfer that occurs within the U.S. is considered a deemed export. Deemed exports are common within the university setting and happen when international students, faculty, or visitors have access to regulated equipment, software, or research. However, most of these transfers can occur without an approval from the government because they are covered under a regulatory exemption.

Institutions that intend to engage in an activity that results in an export, which is not subject to an exemption, must apply for and be granted a license before the activity commences.

Institutions and individuals that fail to comply with these regulations can be subjected to both civil and criminal penalties.

Departments interested in setting up an Export Compliance Informational Session, or anyone with additional questions or requests, please contact the Office of Research Integrity at 765-285-5052, View Email, or stop by West Quad 100.

Export Control FAQ

The traditional export is the “transfer” of goods to individuals and organizations outside of the US. Exports, however, also include transfers of technology and technological information from a U.S. person to a Foreign National through verbal communications (in person or over the phone); electronic communications, through the exchange of written documents (ex. in person, over e-mail, or by mail); and transfer of computer software.

Theses transfer can happen either within the United Stated or abroad. However, not all technology transfers are controlled by the United States government. The initial determination of whether a technology is controlled is critical in determining whether the activity requires a license.

The primary regulatory resources for export control are the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms regulations (ITAR).

If any controlled information, technology, software, or equipment will be transferred to another party overseas or to a foreign party in the United States, a license must be obtained prior to the transfer unless a valid licensing exception or exclusion applies.

The Office of Research Integrity can provide assistance in determining if an activity requires a license and assist in the application process, if necessary.

A deemed export is the transfer of controlled technology or source code to a foreign national within the United States.

A foreign national is someone who is not a U.S. citizen, is not a green card holder, and has not been granted asylum. Students with a J-1 visa are foreign nationals.

Technology is specific information necessary for the “development,” "production," or "use" of a product.

In order for technology or source code knowledge to meet the definition of “use” under the EAR the technical knowledge must enable the user to operate, install (including on-site installation), maintenance, repair, overhaul and refurbishing. Generally, if the technology does not enable improvement of equipment design (i.e., “development” technology) or replication of the item (i.e., “production” technology) then the information then it unlikely to be controlled.

Anyone in your department, regardless of citizenship, can operate lab equipment without triggering export controls. However, if the equipment is taken out of the lab and is in full possession by foreign national then an export has occurred and export controls are triggered. Export controls are also triggered if a foreign national is not only operating equipment, but, also, engaging in activities related to installation (including on-site installation), maintenance (checking), repair, overhaul and refurbishing of the equipment. Please see the following checklist for additional guidance.

Export Control and Lab Equipment Checklist:

  1. Is the technology you are using in your research publicly available?
    1. Has the technology been patented or published?
    2. Will you publish the technology developed during your research?
    If no to any of the above, please contact the export control officer.
  2. Do any international students or faculty have access to lab equipment that is not publicly available? If yes, please contact the export control officer.
  3. Does the technology you are developing have the capacity to be used for destructive purposes? If yes, please contact the export control officer.

Projects that are not classified, do not have military application, do not limit participation by foreign nationals, or include publication restrictions do not trigger export controls.

Publication restrictions may be the most common trigger for export controls. Publication restrictions can exist in a number of different forms. These restrictions typically will include language limiting foreign national access to proprietary information, requiring certain approvals from the sponsor before publication is allowed, or requiring researchers to postpone publication of the research that is being funded.

EAR covers the following categories:

  • Nuclear Materials, Facilities, and Equipment
  • Chemicals, Microorganisms, and Toxins
  • Materials Processing
  • Electronics Design, Development, and Production
  • Computers
  • Telecommunications
  • Information Security and Encryption
  • Sensors and Lasers
  • Navigation and Avionics
  • Marine
  • Aerospace and Propulsion

ITAR covers the following categories:

  • Firearms, Close Assault Weapons, and Combat Shotguns
  • Guns and Armament
  • Ammunition/Ordnance
  • Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines
  • Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents, and Their Constituents
  • Surface Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment
  • Ground Vehicles
  • Aircraft and Related Articles
  • Military Training Equipment and Training
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Military Electronics
  • Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment
  • Materials and Miscellaneous Articles

If you intend on participating in University-sponsored/funded international travel, please complete a new application through Terra Dotta. To learn more, click here

International travel and collaborations are an excellent opportunity. Please complete the International Travel Form on the Risk Management website at least 40 days before you engage in any international travel and review the following questions.

International Travel Export Control Questions

If you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, please contact the Office of Research Integrity.

  1. While you are traveling abroad will you be working closely with foreign nationals from countries other than the country or countries that you are visiting? If yes, which countries are the foreign nationals from?
  2. Will your trip involve the shipment or electronic transmission[1] of equipment, technology, software, materials, or data[2]? If yes, what will you be shipping or electronically transmitting to your collaborators abroad?
  3. Will your trip involve traveling with equipment, technology, software, materials, or data? If yes, what will you travel with[3] and will it stay in your exclusive possession for the duration of the trip and return with you to the United States? If not, explain what you intend to share or give to your foreign collaborators.

[1] “electronic transmission” includes methods like, but not limited to, e-mail, Skype, social media, Twitter, etc.

[2] “data” generally includes, but not limited to, any information that is controlled/regulated by the US government, technical information/specifications about controlled technologies, intellectual property, research data that has restricted access, computer source codes, etc.

[3] Please provide a general description that is not limited to the following examples: laptop with Microsoft Office, encryption software, or VPN technology; a tablet; a smart phone; data from a research project that has not been published.

Foreign visitors and guests should be screened for export control restrictions. If the foreign visitor you are hosting is receiving funding through the Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) then the screening will occur within the SPA. For all other visitors, please contact the Office of Research Integrity.

International shipments of covered technology (ex. laptops, cameras, lab equipment, chemicals, pathogens) should be reviewed for export control restrictions prior to being shipped. The Office of Research Integrity will determine the Export Control Classification Number, whether a license is required, and whether the recipient is eligible to receive the shipment.

If export controls are triggered, your project may need to have a Technology Control Plan (TCP) implemented. TCPs are developed to ensure that the necessary procedures are being followed in order to remain compliant with the EAR and the ITAR. TCPs may involve verifying citizenship and applying for and being granted licenses, if necessary.