Resources for Departments - EC

International Shipments

International shipments of items, technology, biological and chemical materials, and software are subject to numerous export and import obligations. University personnel who engage in international shipping are responsible for ensuring compliance with U.S. export control laws and regulations. Failure to apply for an export authorization or file the correct shipping documents, when necessary, can result in personal fines and/or incarceration and may also result in loss of the item/material being shipped. The USF Office of Export Controls is available to help comply with U.S. export control laws and regulations.

Export Requirements

Items leaving the United States are considered exports, even if the item is only leaving temporarily. This includes tangible items (laptops, cell phones, equipment, samples, paper documents etc.) and intangible products (trainings, know-how, files, data, etc.). It includes items shipped via US Mail, a freight forwarder (i.e. FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.) or hand-carried.

Defense articles and associated technical data listed on the International Traffic in-Arms Regulations (ITAR) and U.S. Munitions List (USML) always require a license before being shipped to any country outside the U.S. Licenses are also required to import such items.

Commodities controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) may require a license, depending upon the country to which the item is being shipped, the ultimate end user, and the intended end use.

The USF Office of Export Controls is here to assist you in navigating these complex regulations. Please reach out to the appropriate contact by email prior to shipping high-risk items such as: biological or chemical materials; satellite equipment; GPS equipment; portable computing devices (i.e. laptops, iPads, etc.); items inherently military in nature; UAVs (drones); encryption software; spectrometers; radar equipment; lasers.

The Office of Export Controls will assist with screening to ensure that the individuals and/or entities to which items are being shipped are eligible to receive those materials, i.e., that they do not appear on "specially designated national" or "banned parties" lists and are not in embargoed locations. The intent of the Office is not to discourage international shipping and partnerships but to assist faculty and department administrators in ensuring compliance with applicable federal requirements.

The Office of Export Controls currently works with FedEx and UPS to ensure compliance with items shipped through these vendors to foreign countries. You may receive notification from the Office of Export Controls if there are questions regarding items which are in route.

Shipment of controlled items should be planned well in advance, as it may take several weeks to several months to obtain any necessary license.

There are some exceptions in place for temporary exports that may apply under certain circumstances. Each case is different and must be evaluated individually as laws and regulations change frequently.

Any individual intending to transmit export-controlled items, technical data or technology outside the U.S. must first contact the Export Control Officer. Some license exceptions or exemptions may be available. The Export Control Officer has final authority on the application of the proposed license exceptions or exemptions and may consult with counsel if necessary. All exceptions or exemptions must be documented prior to use and records must be maintained for a minimum of five years after the end of the project.

Please contact the Office of Export Controls for review of the items you plan to hand-carry or ship prior to export.


Items being shipped must be properly packaged. Shipment of items controlled under the EAR and ITAR should be clearly marked as controlled with the regulatory information cited. There are several guidance documents available on the Biosafety Program website under "Marking and Labeling" that can assist you as you are packing items.

Export Declarations

U.S. Customs and Border Protections requires that any licensed export, as well as exports with a dollar value greater than $2,500, must be entered into the Department of Census Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) prior to the export of the item or information. While commercial freight forwarders will normally handle this entry into ACE, the Export Control Officer is available to assist with items that are hand carried or technical data being emailed or transmitted through electronic methods.

Import Requirements

When importing items into the U.S. it is necessary to work with the vendor and Purchasing Services in order to ensure that all shipping documents are filled out properly and to avoid any additional fees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Temporary imports may be eligible for license exceptions and be duty free under the condition that proper forms are completed prior to shipping the items.

Special requirements:

  • Items controlled under the ITAR always require a license before being imported.
  • The following categories of items have restrictions when importing into the U.S.:
    • Biological specimens
    • Certain fish and wildlife, and products made from them
    • Fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, soil
    • Items from comprehensively embargoed countries, including Iran, Cuba, Syria, Sudan and North Korea
    • For training and more information about shipping or receiving biological materials refer to the Biosafety Program website.


Any time you have a question or need assistance, contact the Office of Export Controls by email or call 813-974-5638.