Basic Info - Export Control

Export Control Overview

What are Export Controls?

Export Controls are U.S. laws that regulate, for reasons of foreign policy and national security, the distribution of strategically important technology, services and information to foreign nationals and foreign countries.

Why are Export Controls important to USF?

USF investigators engage in a broad range of innovative and important research both in the United States and overseas. These activities include the sharing and development of products, goods, hardware, software, or materials, as well as research involving technology that may be subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations. While our primary mission is education, research and service, the responsibility remains to balance the service of this mission with safeguarding national assets through the adherence to export regulations, rules and laws of the U.S. Government.

Following the events of 9/11 there has been a heightened level of awareness and scrutiny of all export activities with an accompanying emphasis on enforcement. Federal agencies are increasingly focused on universities and their compliance with export regulations. Non-compliance with export regulations can lead to substantial and severe criminal and monetary penalties imposed on both individual researchers and institutions.

What do universities export?

University researchers mainly export information and knowledge. Under the export regulations, the transfer of controlled technology, technical data, software, or items is considered an export even when transferred to a foreign national within the United States (deemed export). Because universities are diverse and open and encourage collaborative environments, there are many avenues for exports. The good news is that most information in the university environment is considered within the public domain and is therefore not subject to regulations. However, exporting items like samples, prototypes, and material are always subject to export control regulations that may require a license. Export controls become a concern when researchers and staff work on projects that are considered controlled or have publication restrictions that include foreign persons or foreign collaborators.

What is an Export?

The transfer of 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
  • A foreign embassy or affiliate

What is a Deemed Export?

The term "deemed export" refers to the release or transmission of information or technology to any foreign national in the U.S., including students, post-docs, faculty, visiting scientists, or training fellows. A deemed export is treated as an export to that person's home country. Deemed exports are a primary area of export control exposure and concern for the university.

Who is a Foreign National?

  • A "Foreign National" is any person who is NOT a:
    • U.S. Citizen or National
    • U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident
    • Person Granted Asylum/Refugee Status
  • Temporary Resident "Foreign Nationals" 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)

Who is a U.S. Citizen?

  • A natural born U.S. citizen
  • A U.S. legal permanent resident ("green card" holder) or an asylee/refugee under Federal regulation
  • A U.S. corporation, partnership, trust, society or other entity incorporated or organized to do business in the United States

Who Governs Export Control Regulations?

The following are the current U.S. Governmental agencies with oversight of export control regulations:

Are There Exclusions from Export Control Laws?

There are several exclusions, here are several exclusions, and three that are particularly relevant to the university setting:

  • Fundamental Research Exclusion
  • Educational Information Exclusion
  • Publicly Available or Public Domain Information Exclusion

What happens if Export Control laws are violated?

The penalties for non-compliance are severe. With potential fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars for each civil violation of an EAR, ITAR or OFAC regulation, the cost of not closely adhering to export laws can easily climb into the millions of dollars.

Criminal penalties for willful misconduct are even harsher. In these cases, not only can the university be hit with major multi-million dollar fines, but the researchers and administrators could also be sentenced to time in jail.