Export Compliance

Universities are diverse places that encourage collaborative environments which result in many avenues for exports. Export compliance becomes a concern when researchers and staff work on projects that are considered controlled or have publication restrictions that include foreign persons or foreign collaborators. Researchers have the primary compliance responsibility regarding export control laws and regulations. Export compliance violations can result in penalties and fines which may apply to an individual, the institution or both.

An overview of USU's Export Compliance Program, along with details regarding faculty and staff's obligations under U.S. export control regulations can be found in the USU Export Compliance Program Manual.

Export Compliance Laws Regulate the Shipment or Transfer of Controlled Items

An export is the transfer of sensitive equipment, commodities, technology, information, technical data, software or services to:
  • Anyone outside the U.S. including a U.S. citizen
  • A “foreign national” whether in the U.S. or abroad
    • Temporary Resident “foreign national” include:
      • Persons in the U.S. in non-immigrant status (for example, H-1B, H-3, L-1, J-1, F-1 Practical Training, L-1)
  • A foreign embassy or affiliate

A deemed export is the “transfer” or “release” of export-controlled “technology” or source code (except encryption source code) to a foreign national within the United States, including when the technology/source code is:
  • available to foreign nationals for visual inspection
  • exchanged orally or in writing
  • made available by practice or application under the guidance of persons with knowledge of that technology

“Technology” is specific information necessary for the ‘development’, ‘production’, or ‘use’ of a product subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Technology can take the form of technical data (such as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, engineering designs and specifications, manuals, etc.) and/or technical assistance (such as instruction, consulting services, skills training, transfer of technical data, etc.). For “use” to occur under the EAR, it must meet all six of the following elements: operation, installation (including on-site installation), maintenance (checking), repair, overhaul, and refurbishing. The only exception to this rule is for technology classified in the ‘600 Series’ which includes items and information that were previously controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). For “use” to occur with this technology, only one of the six elements of use must occur. More information on "Use" Technology.

A “Foreign National” is any person who is NOT a:

  • U.S. Citizen or National
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (green card status)
  • Person Granted Asylum/Refugee Status

Do export control restrictions apply to a proposed visitor or prospective employee?

To determine whether export restrictions apply to a proposed visitor or prospective employee, ask the hiring/hosting department and host/supervisor the following questions:

  1. Does the sponsored research have contracts or agreements for export compliance concerns, such as restrictions on participation of foreign nationals in research, or restrictions on publication of research results?
  2. Is the visitor or prospective employee a national of an embargoed country?
  3. Does the research project contain any technology and/or technical data that will be released to the visiting scholar or prospective employee that is controlled under EAR and/or ITAR?
  4. Does the research project have a Technology Control Plan?

For the following conditions, export control restrictions may apply: Research funding contract restricts participation by foreign nationals, the visitor/employee is a national of an embargoed country, the project includes technology/data controlled under EAR/ITAR, the project has a Technology Control Plan

Reviews and Guidance

The Checklist for Projects Requiring an Export Compliance Review can help you better determine if your research activities might be subject to export controls. If you are concerned that a project/activity has the potential to involve the receipt and/or use of Export-Controlled Items or Information, please complete the Export Compliance Guidance Questionnaire. Our office will review your response and contact you with additional information about your specific circumstances.

If our office determines your activities will likely be subject to export controls, you may be asked to complete the “Request for Export Compliance Review” via ServiceNow. Utah State University’s Export Compliance Officer (ECO) will review the request to determine if a technology control plan or export license is required. To access the request form, log into ServiceNow, click on Service Catalogs, Office of Research, Forms.  For questions and/or assistance, contact the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance at 435-797-0485 or compliance@usu.edu.

International Students, Scholars, and Employees

As part of the visa application process for international students, scholars, and employees, USU must attest to certain export control certifications. To ensure compliance with visa application requirements, the Research Integrity and Compliance office conducts export compliance reviews prior to the submission of visa applications. Part of this process may require that the supervising professor and/or Department Head complete and sign the Deemed Export Questionnaire. If you plan to host an international student, scholar, or employee, and are unsure whether or not there is export controlled equipment/data/technology in your lab, please submit the Deemed Export Checklist to compliance@usu.edu. We will determine if you are working with export controlled equipment/data/technology and what additional steps (if any) need to be taken to ensure compliance with federal regulations. In a large majority of cases, no further action will be required and the visa process can move forward as usual.

Export Controls: Guidance on Iranian Sanctions

The existing U.S. sanctions imposed against Iran are the strictest ones to date. The current Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations were fully imposed on November 5, 2018 and are administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Guidance on Iranian Sanctions PDF


CITI Training Instructions

How to take the CITI Export Compliance Course:

  • Go to the CITI website.
  • Log in.
  • Click on “Add Affiliation” and type in Utah State University if you are not already affiliated.
  • Click “View Courses” next to Utah State University.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page. Under “My Learner Tools for Utah State University,” click “Add a Course.”
  • Respond to the COVID-19 question (“Yes” if you want to add the course, “Not at this time” if you do not) and click “Next.”
  • Check the “Export Compliance (EC) Course” box and go to the next page. You are now registered for the course.
  • To complete the course, click “Start Now” in the Export Compliance box on your course list.
  • Click “Start” next to the “Introduction to Export Compliance” module.
  • You do NOT have to complete any of the Optional Modules.

ILS Training Instructions

Export compliance training via USU’s Training & Professional Development catalog is required for anyone making an export-controlled purchase.

How to take the USU Export Compliance Training for Researchers course:

  • Go to the Training and Professional Development website.
  • Click “Sign in to the ILS”
  • After logging in, click “Catalog” in the side bar on the left side of the screen.
  • In the Search bar at the top of the screen, type in “Export Compliance for Researchers”.
  • Select the course from the drop-down menu.
  • Click “Enroll” and complete the course.


Individual/Institutional Responsibilities

The USU Export Compliance Program assists University Personnel with the identification and management of research projects subject to U.S. export control laws. The program falls under the auspices of the Office of Research and is managed by the University’s Export Control Officer (ECO), who reports to the Vice President for Research. The Director of Research Integrity and Compliance currently serves as the ECO. The Vice President for Research has been designated as the University’s Empowered Official (EO) for export control purposes.

The Export Control Officer

The Export Control Officer (ECO) assists members of the University community to assess their export control obligations and facilitates the procurement of required export licenses. The ECO is responsible for the following:

  • Reviewing and approving Technology Control Plans (TCP);
  • Making determinations on export classifications and licensing requirements;
  • Approving license applications on behalf of USU;
  • Discussing and recommending action on issues presented to the program;
  • Developing and maintaining USU’s export control policies and procedures;
  • Recommending training priorities; and
  • Monitoring export-controlled projects for regulatory compliance.

Because violation of U.S. export control regulations can result in fines and sanctions against both individual research and USU, USU policy requires all University Personnel to be aware of and comply with export control regulations and applicable University policies and procedures. With regard to specific research projects, USU policy places primary compliance responsibility on researchers. All researchers are expected to notify appropriate administrative staff when they suspect that export control laws apply to their research and to ask the ECO for assistance in making a determination, when necessary.

Faculty/Researcher/Principal Investigator

  • Identify research activities in which export control issues might exist.
  • Notify the ECO of identified export control issues.
  • Work with the ECO to put technology control plans (TSPs) in place and accurately classify items for licenses.
  • Inform research team members of any applicable export control requirements, including TCPs pertaining to the project.
  • Ensure the appropriate protection and management of all export-controlled technology in his/her possession.
  • Provide all export documentation to the ECO for archiving.

Research Administrators

The Research Administrator, or any person preparing research proposals or sponsored research grants or agreements will:

  • Answer the export control question(s) and provide relevant information to enable a review by the ECO.
  • Identify language in proposal or requests for proposals that attempts to place restrictions on the university’s ability to publish the research or to place restrictions on the participation or access by Foreign Nationals.
  • Notify the ECO in the event that such restrictions are identified.

Department/College/Unit Director/Dean

  • Approve the TCP’s of their faculty members.
  • Administer and monitor existing TCPs of their faculty members.
  • Notify the ECO of any issues that arise regarding the implementation of, or compliance with, any TCP.

Empowered Official

The Empower Official (USU’s Vice President for Research) will:

  • Decide when a proposed activity cannot be conducted at USU.
  • Sign license agreements on behalf of USU.
  • Accepts liability in communication with ITAR violations.

International Concerns

While most international travel abroad does not require an export license, travel to certain foreign locations may be governed by export control laws. For example, the U.S. Department of the Treasury regulations restrict certain financial transactions with specific embargoed countries. Also traveling abroad with certain controlled tangible items, software, technology or information may also require an export license. Individuals traveling to restricted, sanctioned, or embargoed countries are responsible for notifying the ECO who will work with the individual to determine whether approval or licenses are necessary.

International shipments may also have the same requirements as the international travel noted above when shipping to restricted, sanctioned, or embargoed countries. Check with the ECO to determine if any restrictions apply.

International Travel

Travel to other sanctioned or embargoed destinations is subject to federal licensing and trade sanction regulations which heavily regulate and sometimes prohibit travel and other interactions with such countries, including research and seemingly innocuous activity such as teaching a course with publicly available information.

USU employees who travel internationally to teach or conduct research should be aware of the possibility of export license requirements for items, materials, or equipment that they carry with them. Hand-carrying items, materials, or equipment outside of the U.S. (even temporarily) may be considered an export. All exports should be screened for export license requirements.

You should NOT take with you any of the following technology or data without first obtaining specific advice from the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance:

  • Proprietary data or information received under an obligation of confidentiality
  • Patentable information or any sensitive/personal
  • Data or analyses that result from a project for which there are contractual constraints on the dissemination of the research results
  • Computer software received with restrictions on export to or on access by foreign nationals
  • Devices or equipment received with restrictions on export to or on access by foreign nationals
  • Devices, systems or software that was specifically designed or modified for military or space applications
  • Classified information

For more information regarding International Travel restrictions, please visit the Risk Management website.

International Shipments

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Any individual intending to transmit export-controlled items, technical data or technology outside the U.S. must first contact the Export Compliance Officer, in the Office of Research Integrity & Compliance.

International shipments of items, technology, biological and chemical materials, and software are subject to numerous export and import obligations. University personnel who engage in international shipping are responsible for ensuring compliance with U.S. export compliance laws and regulations.

Shipment of controlled items should be planned well in advance, as it may take several weeks to several months to obtain any necessary license.

The Export Compliance Officer will assist with screening to ensure that the individuals and/or entities to which items are being shipped are eligible to receive those materials, i.e. that they do not appear on “specially designated national” or “banned parties” lists and are not in embargoed locations.

Items being shipped must be properly packaged. Shipment of items controlled under the EAR and ITAR should be clearly marked as controlled with the regulatory information cited.

When importing items into the U.S. it is necessary to work with the vendor and Purchasing Services in order to ensure that all shipping documents are filled out properly and to avoid any additional fees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Temporary imports may be eligible for license exceptions and be duty free under the condition that proper forms are completed prior to shipping the items.

Federal Regulations and Oversight

There are four US government agencies with several sets of regulations that currently impact exports, they include:

Export Compliance Exclusions

There are several exclusions to Export Compliance Laws, in particular:

  • Fundamental Research Exclusion – research that results in published and broadly shared information.
  • Employment Exclusion – no license is required to share covered technical data with a foreign national that is:
    • Not a national of certain countries (depending on the ECCN)
    • A full-time employee of USU
    • Has a permanent U.S. address while employed
    • Advised in writing not to share covered technical data with any foreign nationals
  • Educational Information Exclusion – common information concerning general scientific, mathematical, or engineering principles taught at universities or is in the public domain.
  • Publicly Available or Public Domain Information Exclusion – Information that is published and generally available to the public, as well as publicly available technology and software.

Purchasing Export-Controlled Items

What do I need to know?

Nearly every item, material, or software (collectively, “products”) in the U.S. is subject to U.S. export controls. Products are listed either on the United States Munitions List (USML) or the Commerce Control List (CCL). If a product is listed on the USML, it is subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). They are federal regulations administered by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under the U.S. Department of State. The ITAR governs all military, weapons, and space related items and services. If a product is listed on the CCL, it is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which are administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) under the Department of Commerce.

What is an Export Control Classification Number?

Every product has an export control classification. The classification determines the level and type of export restrictions. Products listed on the USML are highly controlled and have Roman numeral export classifications, such as XII*(b)(3)(ii)(A). If the product cannot be found on the USML, we look to the CCL to determine if a classification exists.

Products listed on the CCL will generally have a export control classification number (ECCN, such as 3C005 or 6A003. Many products that are used on a daily basis have an export control classification number of “EAR99”, which is a catch-all designation for products subject to the EAR but not listed on the CCL.

How do I know if a product I am purchasing or receiving is export-controlled?

Most daily-use products that are purchased or received at USU are likely classified as “EAR99” (pens, test tubes, autoclaves, etc.).  However, don’t assume that just because a product is cheap or can easily be purchased online, it is “EAR99”, and is not listed on the CCL or USML.  Many commercially available products we use at the University, including laptops, cell phones, smart phones, GPS systems, telescopes, and drones, are, in fact, listed on the CCL. Moreover, some commercial off-the-shelf products, such as thermal imaging cameras, precision gyroscopes, and focal plane arrays are highly controlled.

Whenever you are purchasing or receiving a product, you should ask the vendor if the product is export regulated. If so, ask the vendor to provide you the classification number. If you need assistance, please contact the University’s Export Compliance Officer (ECO).

What are the Red Flags when buying or receiving products?

  • Read the sales terms and conditions! If you see any reference to “export controls” or “compliance with export controls”, verify the product’s export classification. While sales terms and conditions sometimes include pro-forma export control language, more often than not there is a reason this language is added. The vendor may be selling export-controlled products.
  • Look at the Purchase Order, the Company Quote, or Order Summary. Does it contain any reference to “export controls” or perhaps the “ITAR”? Sometimes, vendors will explicitly state on the PO or sales quote that the product you are about to procure is export controlled.
  • When products arrive, check the packaging for any reference to “export controls” or “export control classification numbers”.
  • The vendor or sender of the product requests that you sign an “End-User” certification or some other document that requires you to certify the product’s end-use and end-user. Such certifications are usually an indication that the product is controlled. If you are asked to sign an “end-user” certificate, please contact the ECO. Only the DRIC is authorized to sign the “end-user” certificate.
  • If you see any references to any of the above red flags, contact the ECO as soon as possible.