UW Research

Export Controls

Sharing controlled items and information with a foreign national as well as shipping controlled items to a foreign destination may require export licensing. There are some export license exceptions.

Primary responsibility for compliance with export regulations falls on the Principal Investigator.

The following activities may be subject to export control regulations, and can occur at any time during your research:

  • Sharing proprietary or otherwise restricted information, technology or software with a foreign national
  • Engaging in a sponsored project where the research results must be approved by the sponsor prior to publication
  • Projects performed abroad by UW personnel
  • Export of tangible items outside the United States
  • Furnishing defense services to a foreign person or entity within the United States or abroad
  • Transacting with embargoed or sanctioned countries or parties

More information on these activities is provided below.

Restricted Party Screening

Collaborating with an entity you have not done business with before? Sharing technology or information? Receiving goods or services from a new entity or individual?

Make sure you are not doing business with restricted entities or individuals. Review the Consolidated Screening List as well as OFAC’s Sanctions Program and Country Information List. Keep documentation of this confirmation in your departmental files.

Contact exports@uw.edu for guidance on how to comply with export control regulations.

These are some of the federal lists that are included in the Consolidated Screening List:

Technology Sharing

Technology required for the development, production, or use of controlled items is also controlled.  The level of control depends on the nature of the technology and the foreign destination or country of origin of the foreign national (non-U.S. citizen or non-green card holder).

Any information related to military or space technology is controlled. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions, algorithms  or documentation.

Consult the Commerce Control List (CCL) or the United States Munitions List (USML) to assess the level of control needed.

Email exports@uw.edu for assistance in this assessment, or to apply for a license to export your technology.

Deemed Exports

Controlled technology or source code released to a foreign national (non-U.S. citizen or non-green card holder) with the United States is a “deemed export”.

“Release” can occur in the following ways;

  • Visual export – Showing of technical details of export-controlled items to a foreign national, such as reading technical specifications, plans, blueprints, etc.
  • Oral export – Talking about the technical details or know how of export-controlled items.

If you  need to share export-controlled technology with a foreign national working on a sponsored project or research activity, email exports@uw.edu for help determining your licensing needs.

Public Domain or Publicly Available

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) do not control “technology” or “technical data” defined as “publicly available” or in the “public domain.” However, information made publicly available against U.S. law will remain export controlled and subject to regulation. (e.g., designs to make a gun on a 3-D printer).


Technology is publicly available information as:

  1. “already published or will be published,” as described in EAR section            734.7;
  2. “Arises during, or result from, fundamental research,” as described in EAR section 734.8;
  3. are released by instruction in a catalog course or associated teaching laboratory of an academic institution,” as described in EAR section 734.3; or
  4. “included in certain patent applications,” as described in EAR section            734.10.


Technical data is in the public domain if the information is published and generally accessible or available to the public, including through fundamental research in science and engineering at accredited institutions of higher learning in the U.S. where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community.

ITAR also does not control information concerning general scientific, mathematical or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges and universities or basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions of defense articles.

Travel and Research

Traveling or doing research internationally? If you are taking a laptop, tablet, or other electronic mobile device, you are taking a controlled device with you.

There may be limitations for taking these into certain countries. You are advised to review restrictions each time you travel.

Do not ship or otherwise take these devices with you to the following locations without first consulting OFAC imposed country or regional sanctions list and, if needed, contact exports@uw.edu, for assistance.

Currently sanctioned countries and regions

(NOT an exhaustive list and subject to change; check current OFAC sanctions list):

  • The Balkans
  • Belarus
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • Iran
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine (Russia-related sanctions)
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

While traveling your device should be free from customized software or stored or accessible controlled technology. Any ITAR controlled software or technology requires a license before traveling and additional security measures should be taken with EAR software and technology to prevent unauthorized dissemination.

Export Control License Exceptions

An exception may apply in very narrow circumstances and does not apply to technical information related to military or space applications. Two commonly used exceptions include:

  • TMP:  Temporary Imports, Exports, and Reexports (TMP) license exception allows you to export commodities and software for temporary use abroad (including use in international waters). Such items recognized as “tools of trade” may be taken or shipped to be used for research or other UW activity as long as they will return no later than one year from the date of export. Items taken as tools of trade must remain under your “effective control” while abroad. Contact exports@uw.edu for additional instructions and to complete the TMP certificate prior to export. See 15 CFR 740.9 for complete guidelines.
  • BAG: Baggage (BAG) License Exception authorizes individuals leaving the United States either temporarily (i.e., traveling) or longer-term (i.e., moving) to take commodities or software for personal use to any destination, as personal baggage. Items captured by this exception include personal effects, household effects, vehicles and tools of trade. See 15 CFR 740.14 for complete guidelines.

ITAR controlled technical data on a laptop, tablet or other device requires an approved export license for it to be taken/shipped to a foreign destination, with very few exceptions. Contact exports@uw.edu to see if exceptions apply.

Shipping Export Controlled Items

The University does not have a centralized shipping center for international or domestic shipments. Each department must determine the best practice and method related to the logistics in moving items, freight and cargo to the desired end-use location.

If you need assistance in determining if your item is export controlled, please complete the Export Control Worksheet and send it to exports@uw.edu.

All items shipped under an export license are required to submit an Electronic Export Information (EEI) via Automated Export System (AES); maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Use an authorized agent when shipping. The University has a contract with Expeditors, which provides assistance with the EEI filing.

Export control shipment checklist:

  • Is my item “export-controlled” by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)?
  • If my item is “export-controlled” does it require an export license or the use of a license exception to ship to the end-use country?
  • Is the End-User on any restricted party lists?
  • Does the country of End-Use have sanctions or embargoes that prohibit or limit shipment?
  • Are there any “red flags” about the shipment that make you question the legitimacy of the requested goods?

In addition to export controlled items, other conditions may be required in the packaging and shipment of dangerous goods. For additional guidance review Environment Health and Safety.

Defense Services

The U.S. Dept. of State – Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)  has published regulations for export of defense articles, technical data, and the provision of defense services to foreign national entities or persons.

A defense service is the:

  • furnishing of assistance, including training, to foreign persons, in design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing, or use of defense articles
  • furnishing to foreign persons any technical data
  • military training of foreign units and forces.

Providing defense service to a foreign national in the United States still qualifies as an activity that requires a license from the DDTC.  If your project involves any of the above activity, whether abroad or in the U.S., please contact exports@uw.edu for licensing assistance.

Federal Regulations