New Export Control Certifications – Visiting Scholars

in OSP News
March 7th, 2011

To:          Members of the Research Community

From:     Ara Tahmassian, Associate Vice President, Research Compliance

Re:         New Export Control Certifications – Visiting Scholars

As you may know, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently issued new requirements in connection with obtaining certain visas for faculty and staff. Specifically, the I-129 Form (used in connection with H-1B visas for temporary workers, O-1 visas for persons of extraordinary ability, and TN (Trade NAFTA) visas) includes a certification concerning export controls. For the first time, the applicant (the University) must certify that the potential employee will not be given access to export-controlled technology and/or technical data except as permitted by export control laws. The certification is included in the new version of the ISSO intake form available at http://www.bu.edu/isso/forms/form_a.pdf.

In order to submit visa applications that are subject to this requirement, the University must rely on those in the academic department to assess the incoming researcher’s work. Specifically, the revised Request for Visa-Related Documents for an International Scholar (Form A) includes three new paragraphs concerning export controls. In addition, the revised Scholar Information (Form B) includes one new paragraph concerning export controls. Those additional certifications are included in the forms available at http://www.bu.edu/isso/administrators/checklist/index.html.  

In addition, some colleges and departments within the University are, by the nature of their work, more likely than other departments to engage in research that involves export-controlled technology or technical data. Those colleges or departments include Engineering, Earth Science, Computer Science, Computational Science, Cognitive and Neural Systems, Math, Physics, the Center for Remote Sensing, the Center for Space Physics and the Photonics Center. The Departmental Host from those departments are required to provide an additional certification as the individual who is most likely to anticipate the particulars of the international scholar’s work. That certification is included in paragraph 14 of Form A, which is available at http://www.bu.edu/isso/forms/form_a.pdf.

We encourage you to review the materials concerning export controls on the Office of Research Compliance website (http://www.bu.edu/orc/export/) for additional information. In particular, we encourage you to review the University’s commitment to openness in research (http://www.bu.edu/orc/export/laws-and-open-access/) as well as the information concerning the fundamental research exclusion (http://www.bu.edu/orc/export/exclusions/). As we explain there, for most technology and technical data:

The export control regulatory schemes acknowledge the importance of open, fundamental research at universities. Basic and applied research in science and engineering conducted on campus resulting in information that is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community is generally considered to be “fundamental research” and is excluded from export license requirements.

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In order to be considered “fundamental research,” the research cannot be subject to restrictions on the publication of the information resulting from the research and cannot exclude participation of foreign nationals. If the University or the researcher accepts broader restrictions on the publication of the results – whether formally (such as in a sponsored research agreement) or informally (such as a “handshake” agreement) – or has agreed to accept specific national security controls, then the fundamental research exclusion will not apply.

If you have any questions regarding the ISSO policies, procedures and forms, please contact ISSO. If you have any questions concerning export controls please do not hesitate to contact us.