Office of Export Controls - Frequently Asked Questions
Choose an FAQ link below to jump to the respective answer or scroll through and read all of the FAQs and answers:
- When should I contact OEC?
- Can I take my laptop, PDA, or other electronic device on foreign travel?
- Might export controls apply even when no publication or citizenship restrictions are associated with my research?
- Can classes/courses be subject to export controls?
- What triggers the requirement for a Technology Control Plan?
- How long does it take to get an export license?
- Do the regulatory agencies offer answers to FAQs?
- I purchase equipment and supplies for faculty members in my department, is there anything I should do to help prevent possible export violations?
When should I contact OEC?
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Faculty and staff should contact OEC during proposal preparation or during the period of performance in the following situations:
- The funding opportunity announcement (BAA, RFP or other solicitation) mentions citizenship/nationality based restrictions, export controls, or publication restrictions.
- A sponsor, collaborator, or other party asks you to exclude or restrict the participation of foreign nationals controls; tells you that the information, materials, software, equipment, etc. are subject to export controls; to not publish or discuss your results without prior approval.
- Equipment, software, samples or technical data will be temporarily or permanently exported from the US.
- You will be paying for services in a foreign country.
- You will be working with proprietary equipment, software, samples or technical data; particularly if supplied by the sponsor or a third party.
- ITAR controlled equipment, software, samples or technical data will be used or generated in the conduct of the proposed activities.
- The sponsor requests deliverables other than published articles or scientific/scholarly presentations.
- Proposal includes collaboration with an individual located in, work being conducted in, or travel to a sanctioned country (e.g. Iran, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, and North Korean).
- Any party (individual, company, or other organization) to the proposal, award or other agreement is a foreign military or a party acting on the behalf of a foreign military.
- Whenever you have any export control concerns, questions or issues related to your UVA duties and responsibilitites.
Can I take my laptop, PDA, or other electronic device on foreign travel?
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You can take UVA-owned laptops and other similar devices subject to the EAR that are considered "tools of trade" under a license exception to most countries provided that UVA documents that the item is needed for your work activities while abroad and the item remains in your effective control. This exemption applies includes standard operating systems and mass market software. All other types of proprietary or export controlled technology and technical data must be removed prior to international travel or evaluated separately to determine if a license is required or if a valid exception exists for your intended destinations.
Might export controls apply even when no publication or citizenship restrictions are associated with my research?
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Yes. Although information (results or data) generated by fundamental research is not subject to export controls, the software and technology used to perform the research is likely subject to control. This is true for both commercially available software and technology as well as software or technology that may produced during or developed to support your fundamental research activites. ONLY THE INFORMATION (data/results) resulting from fundamental reserach is exempted from U.S. export control regulations. In addition, providing assistance to a foreign national/party regarding any technology controlled by the ITAR is a defense service and requires a license.
Can classes/courses be subject to export controls?
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Information taught in catalog-listed courses and associated teaching laboratories is not subject to export control. One exception to that general rule pertains to certain high level encryption software. Another exception relates to access to and instruction related to ITAR controlled defense articles as part of a university course if foreign nationals are involved; such activities may require a license. Even if no foreign nationals are associated with the class, it is important that all faculty, staff and students associated with the class understand the applicable export controls in order to prevent inadvertent violations.
Workshops and classes other than catalog-listed courses, for example those developed for a specific audience (e.g. an interest group, departmental seminar, government agency or private company) are not excluded from control under the export regulations. It is the responsibility of the instructor or presenter to ensure that their presentation doesn't violate US export controls by disclosing controlled technology of technical data or providing a defense service to a foreign person(s) without the appropriate license or other government approvals.
What triggers the requirement for a Technology Control Plan?
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A Technology Control Plan (TCP) is required any time an ITAR-controlled defense article or technical data will be under UVA's effective control. A TCP is also required for information, encryption technology, source or object code generated by or under UVA's effective control that is subject to the EAR and identified by an ECCN, i.e. not EAR99. Typically a TCP is not required to obtain and maintain EAR-controlled equipment or technology at UVA; however, a license or valid license exception may be required for the physical export of that equipment or technology.
How long does it take to get an export license?
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A license is not required to send most items to most countries. However, you should always consult with OEC prior to exporting any items or information that may be subject to control. Should a license be necessary, it may take days or months to obtain depending on the particulars of the export so be sure to allow sufficient lead time! Remember, even sharing publicly available information (which includes fundamental research results) can require a license if it is related to a technology controlled by the ITAR or if it provides a service of value to a sanctioned country/party.
Do the regulatory agencies offer answers to FAQs?
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Here are links to FAQs related to the export controls under the jurisdiction of State, Commerce and Treasury:
- Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) - the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls website provides links pdf files containing FAQs on a variety of ITAR related topics.
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (Embargoes and Trade Sanction Regulations) - the Resource Center web site provides links to a variety of information associated with embargoes and the trade sanction regulations administered and enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and organized by "industry groups". The Frequently Asked Questions provided for Exporters and Importers and those for the Non-Governmental Organizations will likely have the most information applicable to Universities. However, it is important to note that each regulations in unique so do not rely on the information provided for a different country.
- Bureau of Industry and Security (Export Administration Regulations) - the FAQs on Export Licensing page offers basic information on licensing requirements for commercial items. Additional FAQs on the following topics are available separately:
I purchase equipment and supplies for faculty members in my department, is there anything I should do to help prevent possible export violations?
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You can help is by asking vendors for the export control status of the items you're purchasing.
Items intended for use abroad:
Contact the Office of Export Controls before ordering supplies for international destinations. It is important that we screen foreign recipients and destinations to see if any general prohibitions apply before proceeding. The Office of Export Controls will help you determine which items to request export control information about from the vendor(s) and if necessary apply for export licenses.
You may want to consider having items drop shipped to the foreign location by the manufacturer or vendor in order to save on shipping charges; an added advantage to this is that the manufacturer or vendor is involved in the export and has a vested interest (they share the liability for any violation that occurs) in ensuring compliance. They are also in the best position to know the export control status of their goods.
Items for use on Grounds or at other U.S. locations:
You don't need to ask for export information for the following:
- laboratory chemicals (unless they are explosives, energetics or toxins)
- laboratory supplies (Ex: culture plates, eppindorf tubes, pipet tips, syringes, needles, glassware, gloves, etc.)
- standard laboratory equipment (such as microscopes, computers, autopipetters, bench-top centrifuges, pH meters, balances, etc.)
- medical equipment (things that are marketed/approved for patient diagnosis or treatment)
- general office equipment and supplies
For other items either request the export control information from the vendor or contact the Office of Export Controls for assistance if you have questions or concerns about access and use by foreign nationals.
If the item is proprietary source code or encryption technology, obtain the export control information and then contact the Office of Export Controls before proceeding with the purchase.
For other items (not source code or encryption technology), if the vendor says it is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR); says it is EAR99; or gives you a specific Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) you may proceed with the order without contacting the Office of Export Controls. Note: An ECCN will be at least a five digit alph numberic designation (for example 1C351); it is always a number, followed by a letter, followed by three more numbers, but it may also include sub-designations (for example 1C351.a.10).
If a vendor can't or won't provide export control information, contact the Office of Export Controls (firstname.lastname@example.org or x2-5725) for assistance.