Basic Info - Export Control


How can export controls affect my research?

"Export" is defined not only as a physical transfer/disclosure of an item outside the U.S., but also as a transfer/disclosure in any form of a controlled item or information within the U.S. to anyone who is a foreign national (not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident). This is called the "deemed export" rule. As a result, unless an exclusion or exemption is available, the university may be required to obtain prior governmental approval (in the form of an export license) before allowing the participation of foreign national faculty, staff, or students in affected research. In some cases, a license may not be available at all based on the country involved.

The following are some additional examples of situations in which a license may be required:

  • Presentation/discussion of previously unpublished research at conferences and meetings where foreign national scholars may be in attendance
  • Research collaborations with foreign nationals and technical exchange programs
  • Transfers of research equipment abroad
  • Visits to your lab by foreign scholars

How will I know if I'm exporting information or technology?

Does the activity involve:

  • A foreign company or government sponsor where the activity is conducted here or abroad?
  • A foreign national (a person who is not a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder)?
  • Foreign Nationals (faculty, post-docs, students, visiting scholars, collaborators, etc.) using equipment on the USF campus?
  • A U.S. government contract with a restriction on participation by foreign nationals or other restriction?
  • A contract with a U.S. company or the U.S. government that has a publication restriction or an associated NDA or proprietary rights agreement?
  • Taking equipment abroad?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, contact the Office of Export Controls at or by phone (813-974-5638).

What kinds of projects raise export control questions?

Any research activity may be subject to export controls if it involves the actual export or "deemed export" of any goods, technology, or related technical data that is either 1) "dual use" (commercial in nature with possible military application) or 2) inherently military in nature.

Work in the following areas (not inclusive) is considered high risk:

  • Engineering
  • Space sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Biomedical research with lasers
  • Research with encrypted software
  • Research with controlled chemicals, biological agents, and toxins

In addition, any of the following raise export control questions for your project:

  • The funding opportunity announcement (BAA, RFP or other solicitation) or terms and conditions mention citizenship/foreign national controls, export controls, or publication restrictions.
  • Sponsor restrictions on the participation of foreign nationals in the research.
  • Sponsor restrictions on the publication or disclosure of the research results.
  • The sponsor is a Department of Defense agency, an intelligence agency, Homeland Security, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, or a defense contractor.
  • You will be working with ITAR information or technology, proprietary equipment, software or technical data; particularly if supplied by the sponsor or a third party.
  • The physical export of controlled goods or technology is expected
  • You will be paying for services in a foreign country.
  • The proposal includes work in or travels to a sanctioned country (e.g. Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Sudan, and North Korea).
  • Any party (individual, company, or other organization) to the proposal, including the sponsor, is a listed entity or has otherwise been denied US export privileges.

How long does it take to get an export license?

A license is not required to send most items to most countries. However, you should always consult with the Office of Export Controls prior to exporting equipment, software (including source or object code), technical data (other than fundamental research results), or encryption technology. A license may be required to hire a foreign national to participate in an export controlled project.

Export licenses are requested on behalf of a researcher by the Office of Export Controls to the appropriate regulatory body. It is important to note that obtaining an export license may take several months and there is no guarantee that the U.S. government will approve a license request.

What do I need to do?

Educate yourself about export controls. You don't have to become an expert, but you need to have a fundamental understanding of the subject to be able to know when to raise questions and alert the university to a possible export controls issue. The materials on this web site have been developed for that purpose, and the Office of Export Controls would be happy to conduct educational sessions on export controls to provide information in a classroom setting or online through TRAIN.