Basic Compliance Advice:
  • Review ETSU's Export Control Policy

  • Prior to shipping research equipment or materials out of the country, work with our office (the Office of the Vice Provost for Research) to determine whether an export license is required.
  • Publish research results in a timely manner through one of the means that qualifies as "publicly available" or "in the public domain."  Consult with our office if the data concerns a patentable invention.
  • Do not accept restrictions on access to or dissemination of information.
  • Do not provide citizenship, nationality, or visa status information to project sponsors or other third parties, or agree to background checks for project participants.
  • Do not attend meetings from which foreign nationals are barred.

Steps for Researchers to Follow:


  1. Prior to shipment of any commodity out of the U.S., determine if the commodity requires an export license and assist in securing such license, when required. There are two main 'lists' of controlled items: Export Regulations (eCFR) and International Traffic in Arms (ITAR).  You have to check both lists:  the Commerce Control List and the ITAR U.S. Munitions List.
  2. Secure license approval or verify license exception prior to shipment for all controlled items.  Contact our office for guidance for verifying license exceptions and submission of license applications.

Publications and Personnel Restrictions:

  1. Assure that all technical data about export-controlled commodities qualify as “publicly available”.
  2. Do not accept publication controls or access/dissemination restrictions (such as approval requirements for use of foreign nationals), enter into ‘secrecy agreements’, or otherwise agree to withhold results in research projects conducted at the University or that involve University facilities, students, or staff.
  3. Do not accept proprietary information from another that is marked “Export Controlled”.  Return to the manufacturer any materials they provide to you about export-controlled equipment that is marked “Confidential”.  Review any Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreements to insure that ETSU and you are not assuming the burden of restricting dissemination based on citizenship status or securing licenses.
  4. Do not provide citizenship, nationality, or visa status information for project staff to others or include such information in proposals.  It is a violation of the INS regulations and of the federal Privacy Act to do so.  It is also contrary to University policy to discriminate on this basis or to select research project staff on any basis other than merit.
  5. Do not agree to background checks or other arrangements where the external sponsor screens, clears, or otherwise
    approves project staff.  University policy allows for background screening conducted by the University when appropriate to the position.
  6. Do not attend meetings where foreign nationals are prohibited from attending.  Do not sign the DD2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, as a condition of attending a conference or receiving materials from the government.
  7. Do not travel to conduct research or educational activities to the embargoed countries of Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria without first checking with the campus Vice Provost for Research to ascertain whether a license from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, is required.
  8. Contact our office if you encounter problems in any of the above areas for assistance in resolving the matter so that the research may proceed in a manner that avoids violation of the export regulations.

It is important to take these steps to preserve the “publicly available” and “public domain” exemptions provided by the government, including that afforded to fundamental research.  Without exemptions, the eCFR or ITAR licensing requirements may apply to information (technology or technical data) concerning controlled commodities or items.  Unless a license exemption applies, a “deemed export” license would then be required before information is conveyed (even visually thorough observation) to foreign students, researchers, staff, or visitors on campus, and an actual export license would be required before information is conveyed abroad to anyone. 

The University’s goals for education and research along with the international nature of science and academic discourse require that we maintain an open academic environment without regard to citizenship or visa status.  The export regulations provide appropriate “safe harbors” for fundamental research to protect the University.  By following the above guidance, we can assure that the faculty, students, and staff of the University do not compromise our academic standards and do not violate the export regulations.

In the event of a violation of U.S. export control law, both the University and the individuals involved in the violation may be liable. The exporter and the individual employees involved may be subject to severe administrative and civil sanctions as well as criminal penalties. For example, "knowing" violations of the eCFR are punishable by a fine of up to five times the value of the exports involved, or $50,000, whichever is greater. "Willful" violations can result in penalties of up to $1 million per violation. Exports are subject to a strict liability standard, so even negligent exports can trigger fines of $10,000 to $120,000 per violation. In addition to fines, individuals may be imprisoned for intentional violations. Penalties can also include the denial of export privileges and debarment from contracting with the federal government. Almost all enforcement actions are public.

See Stanford University's Decision Tree to guide you through the thought process of deciding what you should do.

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