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Export Controls

What are Export Controls?

Export Controls are federal laws and regulations that govern the transfer of goods, technologies, related technical data, and some services and money. They are intended to protect national security, economic interests and foreign policy of the United States. While these laws are not new, they have received more attention post 9/11. Today, as global threats increase, it is even more important to preserve concerns about national security have let to stricter interpretation and enforcement of export control laws.  

Export Control Regulations:

  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) - Implemented by the department of Commerce for items that have both a commercial and potential military use
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) - Implemented by the Department of State for military items and defense services
  • Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions 

Is anything excluded from export control laws?

  • Educational information normally taught at a university
  • Public information such as patents, websites, books, papers, publicly available software
  • Fundamental research- basic or applied research normally published and broadly shared 

More information about these and other exclusions can be found on the Export Control FAQ's page.

How can export controls affect my research?

Export control laws define "export' as not only the physical transfer or disclosure of an item outside the US, but also as the transfer/disclosure of a controlled item or information (technology) within the US to anyone who is a foreign national (not a US Citizen or permanent resident).  This is known as the deemed export rule.  In some cases, the University may be required to obtain prior approval from the government (known as an export license) before allowing the participation of foreign national faculty, staff, or students to be involved in affected research.  In some cases, a license may not be available at all based on the country involved.

Licenses may also be required for:

  • Presentation/discussion of previously unpublished research at conferences and meetings where foreign national scholars may be in attendance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

More information can be found on the Export Controls website, or contact the Export Control office at or by phone at (701) 231-6455 with questions.

What do NDSU personnel need to do?

In order to ensure compliance with export controls, it is critically important for university personnel to identify when their activities may trigger export controls. When export controls apply, individuals must take the appropriate steps to obtain any required governmental licenses, monitor and control access to restricted information, and safeguard all controlled materials.


Research in export restricted science and engineering areas

Examples include:

  • Military or Defense Articles and Services
  • High Performance Computing
  • Dual Use Technologies (technologies with both a military and commercial application)
  • Encryption Technology
  • Missiles & Missile Technology
  • Chemical/Biological Weapons
  • Nuclear Technology
  • Select Agents & Toxins
  • Space Technology & Satellites
  • Medical Lasers

Overseas Travel

Traveling overseas with high tech equipment, confidential, unpublished, or proprietary information or data – Traveling with certain types of high tech equipment including but not limited to advanced GPS units, scientific equipment, or with controlled, proprietary or unpublished data in any format may require an export license depending on your travel destination. See International Travel for more information.

Traveling with laptop computers, web-enabled cell phones and other personal equipment – Laptop computers, web-enabled cell phones, and other electronics containing encryption hardware or software and/or proprietary software can require an export license to certain destinations. In general, an export license will be required to take any items to or through any U.S. sanctioned country (e.g., Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, and North Korea).

Use of Third Party Export Controlled Technology or Information

Use of 3rd Party Export Controlled Technology or Information – University activities involving the use of export controlled information, items, or technology received from outside the university are not protected under the Fundamental Research Exclusion and all research involving the use of export restricted technology is subject to all export controls.

Restrictions on publication or dissemination

Sponsored research containing contractual restrictions on publication or dissemination – The vast majority of research done at the university is shielded from export controls under the Fundamental Research Exclusion. However, this protection is lost whenever the university or the researcher agrees to allow any restrictions on the publication, dissemination, or access to the research by foreign nationals.

Shipping or Taking items overseas

University activities that involve the transfer of project information, equipment, materials, or technology out of the U.S. by whatever means will be subject to export controls and may require export license(s) depending on the item, destination, recipient, and end-use.

Providing financial support/International financial transactions

University activities that involve the international payment of funds to non-U.S. persons abroad need to be verified to ensure that the university is not inadvertently providing financial assistance to a blocked or sanctioned entity. Examples include providing support via a subcontract to a non-U.S. university or providing payments to research subjects in other countries.

Contact if your activity involves payment to persons or organizations outside the U.S.

International Collaborations & Presentations

University activities that involve foreign national faculty, students, staff, visiting foreign scientists or collaborator(s), or other foreign entities (e.g., non-U.S. company, university or other organization) or research that will include travel to international conferences to present unpublished results may be subject to export controls especially if any of the foreign nationals are from embargoed or sanctioned countries. See International Collaborations for more information.

International field work

Research projects where any part of the research will take place outside the U.S. (e.g., field work outside the U.S.) may not qualify under the Fundamental Research Exclusion and may be subject to export controls.

International consulting

Providing professional consulting services overseas, especially to embargoed or sanctioned countries (e.g., Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea) is, in most cases, strictly prohibited.

Where can you get help?

This website has been designed to help you understand and comply with the export control regulations. Assistance can be obtained by contacting the Export Control office at or by contacting the Export Control Administrator at (701) 231-6455.


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Phone: 701.231.8045
Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  P.O. Box 6050—Dept. 4000/Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: RCA

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 10:01:52 AM
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