Who can I contact for help?
Any time you have a question about the application of export controls at any stage of a specific research project or other activity, or have general questions about export controls and research, contact Export Control Staff at (402) 472-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Exporting and Importing Technical Data, Materials, and Biological Agents
Can I ship items that were developed as part of a Fundamental Research project to a foreign country?
Not automatically. While research results developed or generated under the Fundamental Research Exclusion are exempt from export controls and can be freely shared with foreign nationals both here and abroad, any materials, items, technology, or software generated from the research ARE NOT exempt from export controls. Before shipping or taking any item abroad, an export control review must be done.
Do I need an export license or other authorization before I ship any tangible item to another country?
All shipments of tangible items to a foreign country must be reviewed by the ECCP staff, to ensure compliance with export control regulations. Some items may require an export license before shipping.
Furthermore, all shipments of tangible items must also be in compliance with other regulations (e.g., USDA, APHIS) requirements regarding packaging and shipment of the material.
- Some materials will require a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) prior to shipment and therefore, approval by the Office of Sponsored Programs- Legal Team (email@example.com)/NUtech Ventures.
- Some biological transfers may require specific packaging and permits. Personnel should consult with the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) as applicable.
Do I need to be concerned if I’m importing an item into the U.S.?
Yes. All imported items are subject to U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP) regulations, and may have Customs duty and reporting requirements (e.g. DHHS, APHIS, CDC, or USDA Permits). Importing items listed on the USML requires an ITAR license unless certain specific exemptions are met. Additionally, a license may be required if you are importing NRC-regulated items, or items from an OFAC-sanctioned country.
Keep in mind, once the item is in the US, it is subject to US export control regulations.
What happens when a sponsor, external researcher or outside entity wants to provide export-controlled information?
Research conducted at UNL that includes or uses export-controlled, restricted information or items obtained from an outside entity do not qualify under the Fundamental Research Exclusion and would be subject to export controls. Before receiving export-controlled information or items, please contact the Export Control Staff. In some cases, a Determination, or formal Technology Control Plan will need to be implemented prior to receiving the item(s) or information depending on the specific circumstances.
When will I need an export license?
Determining when you need an export license can be very complicated. The Export Control staff is responsible for determining if a license is required and/or if there is a valid license exception or other exclusion that may apply.
An external researcher/entity is planning to transfer technical data to my facility. Will this create an export control concern?
In the event that a person or entity will be transferring technical data to a UNL researcher, the ECCP staff will need to be notified prior to transfer to ensure that proper controls are in place. Technical data that is regulated under ITAR will require a technology control plan.
Accessing EAR and ITAR Controlled Data and Materials
What Is a ‘Controlled Item’?
Each agency has developed its own rules and regulations regarding exports of goods, information, and monetary transactions. Certain items present a greater risk to national security than others, so the Departments of State and Commerce have developed lists of sensitive materials and technologies that require specific controls. The term “items” in this context includes both tangible objects and intangible information.
Items appearing on either list may require a license before transferring to other countries or used by a foreign national in research projects. If your project requires such a license, UNL’s Export Control staff and empowered official are the only persons authorized to apply for such licenses on your behalf.
The two most important lists of export-controlled technology are:
- The United States Munitions List (USML), which covers items specifically designed for military applications (under the ITAR).
- The Commerce Control List (CCL), which specifies “dual-use” items that have both commercial and military applications (under the EAR).
What happens if export control laws are violated?
It is important to remember that export controls are Federal regulations that all US citizens must follow. The consequences for non-compliance are severe for both the University and personnel. Fines can include up to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment up to 10 years for individuals. These penalties apply to single violations; multiple violations in the same project can easily result in enormous penalties.
What kinds of projects raise export control concerns?
Any research or other activity may be subject to export controls if it involves the actual export or “deemed export” of any goods, technology, or related controlled data that is either 1) “dual-use” (commercial in nature with possible military application) or 2) inherently military in nature.
The following examples are the types of university activities that may trigger the need for an export license or deemed export license.
- Research in controlled or restricted areas (e.g., defense items or services, missiles, nuclear technology, satellites, chemical/biological weapons, encryption)
- Research involving the use of restricted export information obtained from external sources
- Research involving collaborations with foreign nationals at UNL, at other domestic locations, or overseas
- Research involving travel or fieldwork done domestically or overseas
Additionally, any of the following raise export control questions for your project:
- Sponsor restrictions on the participation of foreign nationals in the research
- Sponsor restrictions on the publication or disclosure of the research results
- Indications from the sponsor or others that export-controlled information or technology will be furnished for use in the research
Fundamental Research Exclusion
How do I remain within the FRE when lecturing abroad?
When presenting research results abroad, attending professional conferences, etc., if what is being presented is the result of Fundamental Research intended for publication or to be published, there is no export license requirement. Special requirements apply for sanctioned countries, consult with Export Control Staff if you have any presentations in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria or Sudan.
How can we lose the ‘fundamental research’ exclusion?
- Accept restrictions on publication or release of information
- Allow sponsor approval rights on publications
- Limit access of foreign nationals to research
- Enter into Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) that limit disclosure of information
- PIs accept ‘side deals’ directly with a sponsor
Conducting Research Domestically and Abroad
There is no external funding supporting my international activities. Do export controls apply?
Yes, export controls apply to all international activities regardless of funding status or source.
How do export controls affect the University in non-scientific areas?
Although everyone is required to comply with export control regulations, those in non-science, non-engineering disciplines are less likely to come across commodities, data, or technology that is export controlled under the ITAR or the EAR.
However, U.S. sanction regulations under the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) restrict the following, with limited exceptions:
- The exporting, selling, or supplying any service to certain countries or having dealings with the governments of these countries, which may include individuals or entities with affiliations with those respective governments. These sanctions vary in scope and may be based on a country, e.g., Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Russia, etc., or a specific targeted countries, e.g., terrorism or narcotics; and
- Transactions with individuals or entities on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN).
The Export Control Compliance Program (ECCP) can assist you in identifying countries or entities that are on these restricted lists and how those regulations/sanctions may intersect with your proposed activities.
I have to sign an NDA for my research; what are the export control impacts?
The Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE) only applies to technology or software that arises during, or results from, fundamental research and that is intended to be published. Thus, information received under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is subject to the export control regulations.
In most cases, only the institutional representative (usually the Office of Sponsored Research) should sign an NDA. In addition, the NDA should specify if the information to be shared is export-controlled. The ECCP can help you determine if any licenses or technology control plans are necessary, and whether there may be broader impacts to your research.
I am working as a consultant or collaborator overseas; do export controls apply to me?
Yes, export controls apply to all U.S. persons and visa holders sponsored by UNL, at all times. It is important that you understand and comply with your obligations under export control regulations. If you are consulting or collaborating in a restricted technology area (e.g., on dual-use technologies or select agent work), you may need an export license depending on where you are going, what information you are providing, whom you are providing it to, and the end-use. If the destination or end-user is a foreign national of a sanctioned country or on a U.S. government restricted list, then in most cases, any consulting or collaborating activities would be prohibited.
In addition, Foreign institutional partnerships, foreign consulting relationships, active or proposed positions by a foreign institution, must also be evaluated for export control restrictions and foreign influence concerns. In some cases, these may be linked to foreign talent recruitment programs (e.g., foreign 1000 talents program, young scholar 1000 talents plan, etc.) which are prohibited at UNL.
Visit the Foreign Influence & International Activities webpage for additional guidance information on this topic.
Who is required to complete export-control training?
UNL requires all personnel, including researchers, faculty, staff, and students involved in an export controlled activity to complete and maintain training before and during their work on the activity. UNL’s Export Control Compliance Program (ECCP) will not approve a project without training either completed or updated at least 30 days prior to expiration. Read more about the training policy here.
Under certain circumstances, in-person training is required for specific research projects.
International Travel FAQ’s
What is subject to export control in relation to international travel?
Tangible items, equipment, and devices used for research, materials (print or electronic version) include technology, software, information related to the design, production, testing, maintenance, operation, modification, or use of controlled items, tech equipment, confidential, unpublished, proprietary information, technical data, and items with current military applications.
Can I hand carry samples or other laboratory instruments on my international trip?
The International Travel Checklist will allow you to list any tangible items required for your research. The ECCP will review and determine if the items require an export license or a license exception (i. e. Tools of Trade Exception for temporary exports).
In addition to export control review for tangible items, some biological or other hazardous materials will need to be reviewed by EHS.
What is not subject to export control in relation to international travel?
Basic marketing information on function or purpose; information regarding general scientific, mathematical, or engineering principles commonly taught in universities; or information that is generally accessible in the public domain or which falls under the Fundamental Research Exclusion.
What travel destinations may be restricted?
There are countries that have U. S. sanctions under the OFAC regulations. These sanctions vary in scope, some are targeted to specific entities while other sanctions are county specific. Therefore, travel to countries such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, and Libya may require a license or travel may be denied.
If you are planning to travel to a sanction or embargoed country, please contact the Export Control Office. A license application to OFAC may take 3-4 months to process.
Where can I find the International Travel Checklist?
The International Travel Checklist is now available in NuRamp under the Export Control Module. If you have not used NuRamp previously, your MyRed credentials can be used to log in to NuRamp.
Who is required to complete the Travel Checklist?
- Faculty, staff, and students planning international travel if UNL is funding any part of your trip to a country with sanctions, embargos, or risk alerts.
- Faculty, staff, and students traveling with UNL equipment or materials used for research and other activities that may have export control requirements may need to complete the checklist, regardless of destination.
You are not required to fill out the travel checklist for your personal international travel. However, if you are traveling with a UNL laptop, equipment, or devices, please contact the Export Control office to determine if a checklist is required based on your travel destination.
How will I be notified to complete the Travel Checklist?
You will receive an email notification via NuRamp after you have completed your travel authorization through Concur:
- If you are traveling to a destination with sanctions, restrictions, and/or risk alerts, you will receive an email notification that you are required to complete the Travel Checklist.
- If you are NOT traveling to a destination with export control concerns, you will receive an email notification with general travel information and precautions, along with information regarding other requirements that may apply to your travel.
When do I need to complete the Travel Checklist?
You will need to complete the International Travel Checklist within five (5) business days of completing your travel authorization through Concur. For special circumstances where international travel is arranged under short notice, a checklist should be completed no less than 48 hours from your international flight.
What happens once my Travel Checklist is submitted?
The checklist will be reviewed and approved by the Export Control Compliance Program. The Export Control Staff may contact you to get additional information to complete the export review process.
International Travel Caution Information
Remember: If you do not need it – do not take it with you.
Prepare your laptop before leaving the U.S. Remove anything that constitutes a trade secret, proprietary information, sensitive/restricted information, export-controlled information, or technical data. Keep in mind that you will need to do more than deleting files to ensure that they cannot be easily recreated. Use an electronic “shredder” program to erase the information you do not want to share so it cannot be recovered.
Encrypt and then email yourself any information you may need while overseas. Do not retrieve the email until you have reached your destination and remember to delete it before returning to the U.S. or crossing any international border.
Never let an electronic device out of your sight, and always be aware of your surroundings.
- Be aware of the persons, companies, conferences, universities, or others you visit/meet with. Exports can also occur via the transfer of knowledge to a person or country’s representative.
- Presenting information that is not in the public domain or not fundamental research may fall under export control regulations and require a license prior to the presentation or may not be allowed at all.
- If you are attending a closed meeting (not open to all technically qualified members of the public): Please be aware that there are “denied/restricted” entities with whom UNL is prohibited from doing business. The Export Control Coordinator can quickly screen these entities before your travel to check they are not on any denied/restricted list.
- If you plan to travel with an electronic device such as a laptop, smartphone, tablet, GPS, or other technology software, please be aware that it is important it is only used as a “tool of the trade” only to conduct UNL business (e.g., present at a conference, conduct research projects, teaching, etc.), and that it will be under the “effective control” of UNL personnel while it is abroad. Note: “Effective Control” is defined as retaining physical possession of an item or maintaining it in a secure environment such as a hotel safe or a locked or guarded facility.
- It is important to inform the ECCP if you plan to share UNL-developed, non-commercial encryption software in source code or object code, not already published via one or more of the following:
- Books, print, electronic or oth er media available for general distribution to any member of the public
- Libraries open to the public, unrestricted subscriptions, news-stands or bookstores
- Published patents
- Conferences, meetings, seminars or tradeshows in the S. that are generally accessible to the public
- Websites available to the public free of charge or at a minimal fee
The Export Control Compliance Program has limited wiped laptops available for your use. If you would like to check one out to ensure no information or technology is accidentally shared while on your trip. The ECCP strongly recommends using these wiped laptops, particularly for those working with controlled information/items, and/or those with TCPs.
Regulatory Agency Information
Do other regulatory agencies offer FAQ’s?
Yes. The following informational links are related to export control under the authority of the Department of State, Department of Treasury, and Department of Commerce:
- Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) – the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page for the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls website provides links to 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 various information associated with embargoes and the trade sanction regulations administered and enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Controls
- Bureau of Industry and Security (Export Administration Regulations) – the FAQs on the Export Licensing page offers necessary information on licensing requirements for commercial items.