Overview of Export Control

Export Control Regulations (ECR) constitute a body of law enacted by the federal government to protect national and economic security and advance U.S. foreign policy goals by prohibiting the unlicensed transfer of items that are subject to trade restrictions or have proprietary, military, or economic applications to foreign nationals.

A number of federal agencies and departments have a degree of responsibility for administering and enforcing ECR, however, primary jurisdiction resides within the Departments of Treasury, State, and Commerce, specifically:

Impact of Export Control Regulations on University Activities

Export control regulations apply to the transfer of controlled items to foreign nationals by actual shipment out of the U.S., and also by transfer of controlled technology/technical data and/or encryption software by written, oral, or visual release or disclosure to foreign nationals both in- and outside of U.S. borders. Consequently, export controls can impact University activities on-campus as well as abroad, including:

  • International travel, fieldwork & conferences
  • International shipping
  • International financial transactions
  • Hosting a foreign visitor/scholar
  • Foreign national participation in research activities
  • International collaboration
  • Using 3rd party proprietary information/restricted materials
  • Teaching courses abroad or online

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security requires all new, renewed, or amended H-1B, H-1B1 Chile/Singapore, L-1, and O-1A visa petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) include a Certification Regarding the Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the United States (PDF).

Export Violations

Violations of export control regulations carry potential criminal, civil, and administrative penalties for the University and the individual researcher or staff member.  Penalties can range from fines in the millions of dollars and imprisonment for as much as 30 years, to the revocation or denial of licenses, seizure & forfeiture of goods, and debarment from all government contracting. Don’t Let This Happen to You! (PDF)

It is critical for University researchers, research team members, and support staff to be aware, and understand the implications of export controls for University activities; be sufficiently schooled in the regulations to recognize potential export control issues; and contact the Export Control Officer immediately when an export control concern arises.

Up Next: ECR Exclusions