Export Controls: FAQs

What are "Export Controls?"
Who controls exports?
Why are certain exports controlled?
How do these regulations apply to university activities?
What happens if we do nothing?
Where can I go to get more information on export controls?
 

What are "Export Controls?"
The term "export controls" refers to regulations administered by three different federal agencies that set restrictions on the types of information and technology that can be shared with (i.e., "exported" to) foreign nationals and shipment of controlled physical items such as scientific equipment.

Who controls exports?
The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are the bodies of regulations most likely to affect research institutions. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations can also affect many of the activities and financial transactions that take place in an academic institution as well.

Why are certain exports controlled?
Examples of why certain items, software, technology and services are controlled include: national security, proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, nuclear proliferation, anti-terrorism, crime control and regional stability.

How do these regulations apply to university activities?
The export control laws have existed since the 1940s but have had increased attention since September 11. Most university activities fall under exemptions, such as the "fundamental research" exemption, the "public domain" exemption and the "teaching" exemption. Other activities, such as taking a laptop out of the country, certain interactions with foreign nationals or shipping controlled items may require licenses or special exclusions. In addition, if a researcher accepts a clause on a contract that restricts how the results can be distributed or who can work on the project, export control regulations may also apply.

What happens if we do nothing?
Educating our faculty and staff is the best protection against violations. Penalties for violations can be more than $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 20 years. These are assessed against the individual, and the university could be penalized as well by being barred from accepting federal funding.

Where can I go to get more information on export controls?
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has been delegated university-wide authority in this area. You can email your questions to: [email protected].

Support for Travelers

Faculty, Staff and Students travelling abroad who may have any equipment, technology, computers or personal devices with information, data or technology subject to export controls should first contact the IT Support Center at 202-994-4948 or email [email protected] for information and support. Please include the country of destination, any specific requirements in terms of application or systems access and the purpose of the visit.

Important Links
Forms
Glossary of Terms
FAQs
Additional Links

Training Requests:
Export Control training for departments, labs, projects or individuals is available upon request by contacting Joyce Webster.

Export Control Questions?
Email:
[email protected]