Frequently Asked Questions


This section provides answers to frequently asked questions about export control.


Export of Technical Data, Software or Other Item:

Do I need to be concerned if I’m importing an item into the U.S., i.e., are there import compliance regulations?

Yes. All imported items (regardless of U.S. content) are subject to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations and, by circumstance, become subject to U.S. export control regulations whether imported to the U.S. on a permanent, temporary, or transient basis. This also includes “deemed exports” where an item is released or otherwise transferred to a foreign person who is located in the U.S. For this reason, items being imported may also require a Technology Control Plan (TCP) to be implemented in order to ensure unauthorized access to export-controlled items remains secured per U.S. laws and regulations. In addition, depending on the item being imported, other agencies may require documentation before releasing the item from the Port for delivery. Thus, University Departments may need to work with a Licensed Customs Broker to ensure items can be imported without unnecessary delays. Please contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Export Control Officer for additional guidance.

I am planning to export an item, technical data or software. What do I need to do?

The export of such items or information may require an export license. Notify The University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer prior to your intention to export. If a license is required for the activity, additional time may be necessary.

What about foreign national access to technical data?

It depends, please contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

Do I need to wait to export my item until I receive an export license or other authorization?

Yes. If the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer determines that the item requires an export license, you will need to wait until we have the license. Please, contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer if it is determined you need an export license.

What countries do I need to worry about in terms of U.S. sanctions?

OFAC administers a number of U.S. economic sanctions and embargoes that target geographic regions and governments. Some programs are comprehensive in nature and block the government and include broad-based trade restrictions, while others target specific individuals and entities. (Please see the Sanctions Programs and Country Information page for information on specific programs.)

It is important to note that in non-comprehensive programs, there may be broad prohibitions on dealings with countries, and also against specific named individuals and entities. The names are incorporated into OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN list”) which includes approximately 6,400 names of companies and individuals who are connected with the sanctions targets. In addition, OFAC maintains other sanctions lists that may have different prohibitions associated with them. A number of the named individuals and entities are known to move from country to country and may end up in locations where they would be least expected. U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with SDNs wherever they are located and all SDN assets are blocked. Entities that a person on the SDN List owns (defined as a direct or indirect ownership interest of 50% or more) are also blocked, regardless of whether that entity is separately named on the SDN List. Please, contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

What is an embargo?

An embargo is the complete ban or prohibition of trade by one country with another. Under embargoes, no goods or services can be imported or exported from or to the embargoed nation. Please, contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

What is a sanction?

Sanctions are the trade prohibition on certain types of products, services or technology to another country due to various reasons, including nuclear non-proliferation and humanitarian purposes. Sanctions could also be considered as “partial embargoes” as they restrict trade in certain areas. Please, contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

Do I need an export license to temporarily ship research equipment or a prototype/sample out of the U.S., for example, for purposes of field research or equipment demonstration?

In some cases, yes. The answer depends on the export control jurisdiction of the item, as well as the destination(s) for where the item is going. Please, contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

Do I really need to be concerned if the item that I plan to export is commercially available abroad?

Yes. Commercial availability does not remove an article from export jurisdiction and a potential licensing requirement. Please, contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

I-129 Deemed Export Control Certifications:

My department has hired a new faculty member who requires a H-1B visa. As part of the visa request process, I’ve been forwarded a I-129 Certification Form to complete. Since he won’t be doing classified research, is it safe to indicate a license is not required and sign?

Remember that export controls apply to much more than just classified research. Unless you are deeply familiar with the export regulations, you should engage Research Integrity and Compliance (RSIC) for guidance on how to complete this I-129 Certification Form prior to signing and escalating. Note that I-129 Certifications are required by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for all foreign national workers applying for a visa under categories H-1B, H1-B1, L-1 and O-1A.

Fundamental Research:

A researcher in my department has been awarded a NSF grant. I’ve reviewed the terms and conditions and there are no participation or publication restrictions. Does this mean the research qualifies as Fundamental Research and her foreign national graduate student can work on the project?

Yes, the absence of participation and publication restrictions does qualify the research results for the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE). Foreign nationals can participate. Note that the FRE applies to research results. Any related international shipments, travel or visitors would still need reviewing. Any proprietary inputs to the research project would also need review prior to providing access.

Proprietary Research:

A professor in my department is working on a project with an industry sponsor. A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with publication restrictions was reviewed and approved by Office of Legal Counsel before proceeding. Can I assume that since the agreement is signed, any and all activities needed to support the work have also been approved?

Do not make such assumptions. The agreement likely established scope of the project and confidentiality terms, and is not authorization for any regulated export activities. Since the Fundamental Research Exclusion is not applicable due to publication restrictions, contact RSIC to classify items and gain a better understanding of relevant export restrictions before engaging in any export related activities.

Foreign Visitors:

My department has invited a professor from a foreign country to visit. Since the U.S. government approves the visa, the visitor has been properly vetted. Are there export restrictions to consider even though the visa is approved?

Yes, more diligence is needed. While the government may have screened the visa request, this is not a blanket export authorization. RSIC can complete Restricted Party Screening for the visitor and also provide guidelines on what can be shared and what should not be shared with the visitor.

Foreign Travel:

A professor in my department is collaborating on a Fundamental Research project with a colleague in China. She’s planning a trip to China, and will carry along some integrated circuits from the project for her colleague to evaluate. Since the project qualifies as Fundamental Research, there are no export restrictions, are there?

Even if the results of the research qualifies under the Fundamental Research Exclusion, it does not authorize the export tangible goods (such as integrated circuits). Those items would require an export classification by RSIC to determine any related restrictions. Since there are some Chinese universities on the Entity List, RSIC should also complete Restricted Party Screening.

Can I take my laptop and other hand-held communication devices with me?

If you are taking a university laptop, please contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

Can I hand carry samples or other laboratory instruments?

It depends, please contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.

Academic/Exchange Agreements:

A professor in my department wants to start a collaboration project with a colleague at an institution in a foreign country (where they both studied as undergraduates). Since UAF has a Memo of Understanding (MOU) in place with this institution, I don’t need to be concerned with regulatory restrictions, do I? Wasn’t this approved when the MOU was established?

A MOU, like other agreements, should never be interpreted as a blanket export authorization. RSIC should be engaged prior to any export related activities.

APHIS Permits:

A professor is working with a plant pathogen that was imported under an APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) permit. Doesn’t this allow for exportation of the pathogen to other collaborators in foreign countries?

No, an import authorization by APHIS does not serve as an export authorization. The Commerce Control List (CCL) includes plant pathogens and the item would need to be classified and reviewed for export restrictions prior to shipment. An export license may be required depending on the item being exported and the destinations.

Rushed Activity:

I’m up against a deadline and need to meet deliverables. My motto is it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. It’s just paperwork anyway – what’s the big deal? These export regulations seem complicated and I don’t have time?

It is not excusable to knowingly violate export regulations. Enforcement actions are much more severe when the exporter acts without doing its due diligence thoroughly. It is not acceptable to export first and ask permission later.

Laboratory Access:

Do I need a license to allow foreign nationals access to laboratory equipment?

It depends, please contact the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Export Control Officer for guidance.


Contact Export Control

Mevin Torres

Melvin Torres

Export Control Officer

108 MLKG