Export Control

Export Control

The export of certain data, technologies, software and hardware is regulated and controlled by Federal law for reasons of national security, foreign policy, for competitive trade reasons and prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The University and all its employees are required to comply with applicable export control laws and regulations.

Visit this site often for information about export control regulations and how they affect research on campus – such as employing foreign nationals on projects, international travel and shipping or taking items (e.g. laptops, software, and data) outside the U.S.

Concerns for the University Community

Although most of the research and technology development The University of Texas at Austin conducts is exempt from U.S. export control regulations, export control regulations do apply in some situations, and it is important to ensure compliance.

An export can occur through a variety of means, including:

  • Physically sending export-controlled items to a foreign country
  • Transmitting export-controlled information or software electronically or digitally to a foreign country or foreign person
  • Use of export-controlled technology on behalf or for the benefit of a foreign person or foreign country

Disclosure or transfer of export-controlled items (including technology and information) to a foreign entity or individual within the U.S. is deemed to be an export to the home country of the foreign person and is called a deemed export. A deemed export may occur through:

  • Tours of laboratories
  • Involvement of foreign persons in the research
  • Oral exchanges, emails or visual inspection
  • Hosting a foreign researcher

Export controls affect four main areas at UT:

  • Research
  • International travel
  • Sharing of information through conferences, outside consulting or teaching
  • International shipping



Common areas of research with potential export control issues include:

  • Research on nuclear, chemical, biological, weaponry, missiles or unmanned vehicles technologies topics
  • Research related to encryption
  • Research involving select agents or other pathogens
  • Using restricted material for research, such as military or space related information, technical data, equipment or software

Even if research does not involve one of the above areas, it is still important to be aware of the ways in which export control can apply to scholarly activity.

Using Restricted Material in Research at UT

The export control regulations restrict transfer of some software and technology to individuals from certain countries, even if they are in the U.S. Releasing export-controlled software and technology to a non-U.S. person, even within the U.S., is “deemed” an export to that person’s country of origin.

When research requires the use of restricted material, researchers must document how they are keeping the material secure from non-U.S. persons in a Technology Control Plan (TCP). The Technology Control Plan must be signed by all research personnel working on the project and the export control officer.

International Research Collaborations

The exchange of scientific information with collaborators abroad, whether research, teaching, presenting or working at another university, usually does not trigger an export control requirement unless it involves certain activities.

International collaborations that could trigger export control requirements include:

  • Collaboration on controlled or restricted research
  • Collaborators that include people or entities from a sanctioned country. See the list of Countries of Concern
  • Collaborators that include people or entities that are considered a restricted party
  • Research that involves the transfer of physical items, technical data (as defined in Key Terms and Definitions) or software
  • Any transfers that could meet the definition of a defense service, as defined in Key Terms and Definitions

Screening should be performed at the outset of any international collaboration, to ensure that the collaborating entity does not appear on any of the U.S. Government Restricted Party Lists. To ensure that the screening is being done properly, visit the Restricted Party Screening page for more information.

It is permissible to share the results of fundamental research or publicly available information with foreign colleagues, unless such recipients of this information are restricted parties or representatives of the government of a sanctioned country (e.g., North Korea). The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations may prohibit discussing even published research in some countries as the discussion may be considered providing a service.

If there is any question as to whether you might be sharing research results that are not intended for publication, or you are transferring abroad any commodity or software that could be controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), email the Export Control Officer.

Conducting Research Abroad

Research, training or field work that is conducted all or partly outside the U.S. may not qualify for the Fundamental Research Exclusion, as defined in the Key Terms and Definitions. The exemption is also nullified when there is a non-disclosure agreement signed by the faculty member. Export controls may apply until the work is published or is otherwise in the public domain. Before disclosing any information outside of the U.S., ensure that the information is not subject to export control regulations.

Technology under the EAR that was developed through fundamental research in the U.S. may be shared with collaborators in other countries. Technical data under ITAR and developed through fundamental research at institutions of higher education in the U.S. is generally accepted to be excluded from the ITAR when it is in the public domain or it is publicly available. However, the sharing abroad of personal knowledge or technical experience acquired in the U.S. may be considered technical assistance and could constitute an export of that knowledge and experience, and is therefore subject to the EAR. In certain technical areas, an export license or a qualifying license exception may be required prior to sharing certain information or working abroad.

Providing a “defense service” to foreign persons is prohibited. A “defense service” involves providing technical “know-how” related to the design, development, production, manufacturer, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of a defense article or dual use technology.

Sharing Information Abroad

Presentations at International Conferences and Webinars

Information presented at seminars must be limited to topics that are not related to controlled commodities, software or technology unless that information is already published or that information is already in the public domain or qualifies as fundamental research. Open seminars are usually not problematic unless they are in a sanctioned country or involve restricted parties. Exchanges of technical information including academic discussions may require a license.

Generally, information that is accessible to the public through a conference or webinar is considered in the public domain or publicly available and not subject to export control regulations. Specifically, the webinar or conference needs to be open to the public, such that all technically qualified members of the public can attend, and that attendees are allowed to take notes or make a personal record of the presentations. Attendance may be limited as long as attendance is based on those who have applied first or are decided on the basis of relevant scientific or technical experience or competence.

Email the Export Control Officer to review a specific situation.

Best practices for attending a conference:

  • Check that the host institution is not on a restricted party list
  • Check that the destination is not an embargoed or sanctioned country
  • Check that the conference is open to the public
  • Check that the topics to be discussed are not related to export-controlled items or information that is not already in the public domain
  • Bring a clean laptop and cell phone

Travelers should also secure their laptop information or take a loaner device from UT. Those presenting at conferences should also consider protecting their inventions before they publish or present them at conferences. See International Travel for more information and recommendations.

Teaching Abroad and Online

Material released in catalog-listed courses are considered publicly available, therefore most educational instruction at universities in the U.S. or abroad are excluded from U.S. export control under Educational Information protection, enabling participation by international students and faculty.

Before teaching a course outside of the U.S., it is important to ensure that the information is not subject to export control regulations. Export control issues could arise in the context of online courses and teaching abroad, even if only for part of a course.

Export controls could be implicated in the following examples:

  • The content includes use of controlled items, information or software (e.g., if a course on nocturnal animal behaviors involves use of night vision goggles distributed by the University)
  • Although the course description does not imply any export control area of concern, the faculty member strays outside of the topic into controlled topics (e.g., a course on microbiology that includes details on extracting and purifying viruses)
  • The course is delivered directly to students in a sanctioned or embargoed country (e.g., Iran, North Korea, and Syria – please check the list of countries of concern for current sanctions and embargoed countries)

To ensure that a course abroad or online does qualify for the educational exclusion, avoid instruction on advanced or sensitive technology, encryption, or nuclear technology, transfer of restricted or controlled technology, or instruction of any item where that instruction could be considered providing “defense service.”

If unsure if instruction could be export controlled, email the Export Control Officer to review a specific situation.

International Consulting

Providing professional consulting services overseas may require an export license, and providing professional consulting services to embargoed or sanctioned countries (e.g., Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Ukraine [Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk Regions]) is, in most cases, strictly prohibited.

Under export control regulations, U.S. citizens may not engage with certain foreign entities, including foreign persons, academic institutions, companies, governments or other entities that are considered Restricted Parties. This means that researchers are not able to include these individuals or entities in research or other collaborations. Most activities with these restricted parties are prohibited, including business transactions, sending physical items to or on behalf of a restricted entity, or providing them with technology, software or a service of any kind.

As a reminder, these regulations apply to outside professional activities as well, including consulting and adjunct professorships.

When considering consulting overseas, be aware of:

  • Sanctions that apply to that country
  • If the company is on any government lists
  • If the information you are sharing is controlled
  • Not providing technical assistance

International Travel

When traveling abroad, everything one takes with them is an export. Traveling with certain types of high-tech equipment, confidential, unpublished or proprietary information may cause export concerns.

Actions Affected by Export Regulations

  • Taking items on a trip in support of work or conference participation, such as:
    • Laptops
    • Encryption products
    • Data/technology
    • Blueprints, drawing or schematics
    • GPS units
    • Scientific equipment
  • Supplying certain technologies/data at a "closed" conference or meeting (not open to all technically qualified members of the public, and attendees are not permitted to take notes)
  • Money transactions and the exchange of goods and services in certain countries
  • Travel to sanctioned/embargoed countries (see list of Countries of Concern PDF)
  • Doing business with restricted people or entities (see Restricted Party Screening)

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) makes an exception to licensing requirements for the temporary export or reexport of certain items, technology or software for professional use. When traveling with a University-issued laptop and other standard business equipment, travelers are encouraged to download and complete the Export License Exception (TMP) Certification and keep it with travel documents. See License Exceptions below for more information.

License Exceptions

Export License Exception (TMP) for Temporary Exports/Reexports

This exception (TMP) can be used for travel outside the U.S. when one is taking items or technology that would normally require a license from the Department of Commerce.

What the exception covers

The export of items, technology, commercial software and encryption code is subject to export control regulations (this includes laptops and digital storage devices). The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) makes an exception to licensing requirements for the temporary export or reexport of certain items, technology or software for professional use as long as the criteria in the Export License Exception (TMP) Certification are met.

What the exception does not cover

The exception does not apply to any EAR satellite or space-related equipment, components, or software, or to any technology associated with high-level encryption products and cannot be used for travel to Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea or Sudan. This exception does not apply to items, technology, data or software regulated by the Department of State's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) - see ITAR exemption below.

Record-keeping requirements and procedures

The regulations require the use of this license exception be documented, and records must be kept for five years. Fill out the exception form prior to travel (keep a copy) and return via email to the Export Controls Officer.

Export License Exception (BAG) for Temporary Exports/Reexports

License Exception (BAG) Certification can be used for travel outside the U.S. when taking PERSONAL items or technology that would normally require a license from the Department of Commerce (see TMP exception above). For example, if planning to take a personal laptop rather than a UT laptop when attending a conference or conducting research abroad, and if taking controlled technology, software or other information that would require a license, the BAG license exception is available. In addition, only the BAG exception is available for travel to Cuba, Syria and North Korea - taking a UT owned laptop would require a license from Commerce.

Record-keeping requirements and procedures

The regulations require the use of this license exception be documented, and records must be kept for five years. Fill out the exception form prior to travel (keep a copy) and return to the Export Controls Officer.

When traveling with non-standard business items or technology, a license could be required from the Departments of Commerce, State or Treasury, depending on what someone is taking and the country to which they are traveling. A license could also be required if providing a defense service to a foreign person.

Prior to traveling, verify that the technology or information falls into one or more of the following categories:

  • Research that qualifies as fundamental research
  • Published information
  • Publicly available software
  • Educational information

Contact the Export Control Officer by email prior to traveling with any commodities, software or technology that fall into one of the following categories:

  • Controlled Unclassified, or Export Controlled or information under any other restriction including third-party proprietary information received under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • Limited Distribution, Proprietary, Confidential or Sensitive
  • Specifically designed for military, intelligence, space, encryption software or nuclear related applications
  • Data or information received under a Non-Disclosure Agreement
  • Data or information that results from a project with contractual constraints on the dissemination of the research results
  • Computer software received with restrictions on export to or on access by non-U.S. persons


International Shipping

Shipping items, particularly the shipment of hazardous materials or items, materials and technical data involving high-technology systems, components or supplies outside the U.S. could require an export license even when the item or equipment is used in or results from fundamental research. Email with the Export Control Officer to determine if a license is needed.

A license can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to obtain, so allow plenty of time before the shipping date.

Foreign shipments identified and disclosed as part of any sponsored research project are reviewed at the time of award. Similarly, Material Transfers Agreements (MTA) requests also receive an export review. For all other foreign shipments of potentially controlled information, software, materials, equipment or supplies, request an export review. An export review should also be requested for any materials, equipment or supplies that one will receive from and later return to a foreign party, as foreign-origin items once in the U.S. are subject to export control regulations.


State Department Registration

The University of Texas at Austin is registered with the U.S. Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC); also known as  ITAR registration. Registration runs through July 31 of each year and is renewed annually.