Exports include the shipment or transfer of equipment, articles, services, or encryption software to another country as well as the transfer of technical data or information to a foreign national, whether it occurs in the US or abroad.

Boston University is committed to complying with all United States export control laws and regulations, including those implemented by the Department of State through its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Department of Commerce through its Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and the Treasury Department through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The ITAR govern materials, technologies and software specially designed for military applications. The EAR govern dual-use items, technologies and software with commercial and military applications. OFAC governs economic and trade sanctions in support of US national security and foreign policy objectives.

Most research at universities, including Boston University, is fundamental – in other words unrestricted research. Fundamental research is basic and applied research in science and engineering, where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. The techniques used during the research are normally publicly available or are part of the published information. For example, university based research on vectors for salmonella typhi which is published broadly is considered fundamental research and uncontrolled. It is not considered fundamental research when there are restrictions placed on the outcome of the research or restrictions on methods used during the research. This includes proprietary research; industrial development; design, productions and product utilizations the results of which are restricted or government funded research that specifically restricts the outcome for national security reasons.

Violation of export control laws and regulations can result in significant civil and criminal penalties for the University and for the individual researchers involved.

See Provost memo on Export Control.

Before beginning any sponsored research project, you must complete the Research Project Export Control Checklist, which will alert the Office of Sponsored Programs to potential issues.

If you’re submitting to NASA you’ll need the NASA Restrictions on Funding Activity with China form.

Principal Investigators working on controlled research are required to develop a Technology Control Plan, which includes the forms. You are only required to complete the necessary forms, and the University Export Control Officer is able to help determine these requirements:

Faculty members often receive unsolicited emails or phone calls from students, researchers, or companies from outside of Boston University to discuss collaboration, research results, publications etc. Conduct due diligence in communicating with individuals that you don’t know and cannot easily verify their credentials.

You should always screen all requests for assistance or collaboration to ensure that these are legitimate requests, especially if these are related to controlled research, equipment, technologies or data, or unpublished results of your research.

You may meet other researchers at meetings, conferences, seminars, or other professional or social events or you may simply receive a phone call, email, or a visit from someone that you don’t know. Sharing too much information about your research could not only jeopardize your research efforts, it could also violate export regulations.

Consider some of the questions below before you engage in collaboration or provide assistance to researchers you don’t know.

  • Does the request come from a researcher at a known university/institution?
  • Does the university/institution have a website?
  • Does the researcher use an organizational email or did he/she use a private email?
  • Does the researcher have a website where you can verify his/her area of expertise?
  • Is the request consistent with his/her area of expertise?
  • Does the researcher have sufficient level of scientific expertise for the questions asked?
  • Did you call the individual and his department head to verify his/her affiliation with particular institution?
  • Is the request consistent with the type of questions/requests that you would receive from your colleagues at other US institutions?
  • Did you try to locate information about this individual online?
  • Have any of your colleagues ever met/collaborated with the individual?
  • Are there any papers that he/she published in scientific journals?
  • Is he or she asking questions related to your “unpublished” research, security procedures at your Center/Lab, or whether you work on military/space or controlled technology or research?
  • Did you screen the foreign researcher against all of the “Restricted Party Lists?”

Traveling Abroad

Note that travel abroad with technical data, technology, software, or information controlled for United States (US) export purposes is prohibited, and you will need a license or documentation of an exemption prior to the travel.

If you plan to travel to any of the countries that are the subject of US Sanctions to conduct University-related work or research or to present the results of University-related work or research, you should consult with the University Export Control Officer (henceforth Export Control Officer) to determine whether any restrictions will apply to your travel. If a license is required, the Export Control Officer can assist with that effortThe term Effort is used for persons charged to Sponsored Res... More.

Licenses are required for many activities in the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and North Korea. If you plan to travel to any of these countries, contact the Export Control Officer.

Principal Investigators traveling abroad should complete the GPS/Laptop Checklist and keep it on file for 5 years after the trip.

Take the completed form with you when you travel in case you are asked by US Customs officials what type of information is on your laptop and which license exception you are applying for the equipment/devices.

In addition, the Export Control Officer will assist with securing a “clean” laptop for travel.

You are prohibited from taking any export controlled materials/papers/reports on your laptop outside of the US without an export license or valid license exception that is determined by the Export Control Officer. Please pay special attention to the reports that you are submitting to your project managers and instructions that you are receiving from sponsor agencies, which can be part of the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, NASA, or NOAA. Even if your research qualifies under the Fundamental Research Exclusion; these materials may be controlled for export purposes and not intended for public release. Contact the Export Control Officer to assess whether or not you may take these abroad.

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center has tips for traveling overseas with mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, and other electronic devices.

Principal Investigators/Lab Managers are strongly encouraged to use the following forms when shipping abroad:

You are welcome to use your own process to document export control decisions. Keep in mind that you are required to keep shipping records on file for five years after the shipment is made or later if shipping under an export license. The Export Control Officer is available to assist with international shipping requirements.

Any member of Boston University interested in shipping ITAR controlled items, software, and/or data abroad should contact the Export Control Officer for assistance prior to the shipment.

Before you carry, ship, or otherwise transport materials or equipment outside of the United States, you should:

  • Determine if the commodity requires an export license and assist the University in securing the license, when required. It can take several months to obtain a license. Guidance and assistance in making this determination and applying for a license are provided below.
  • Consult with the University’s customs broker to ensure that your shipment abroad meets other legal requirements, incluhttp://www.bu.edu/sourcing/requirements. Details about the University’s customs broker and their services are available at the Office of Sourcing & Procurement.

Shipment/Transport Questions to Answer

To determine the applicability of export licensing requirements, you should review the following steps. If, after this review, you have any questions, please contact the Export Control Officer. It is important to clearly identify what you are exporting, to whom you are exporting it, and the purpose for which it will be used.

You should review the Commerce Department’s Commerce Control List (CCL) and the Department of State’s Munitions List (USML) to determine whether the item(s) you intend to ship are subject to export restrictions. Always check with the manufacturer of any item(s) you intend to ship to determine the proper classification.

If the item you intend to ship appears on either list, you may need a license.

The country of the item(s) final destination determines the licensing requirements. Even if the item(s) you intend to ship are not on the CCL or USML, you may be prohibited from sending certain items to certain countries that are the subject of sanctions or embargoes, including the Western Balkans region, Burma, Côte D’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Former Liberian Regime of Charles Taylor, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe. You can check the current lists of all sanctioned or embargoed countries at:

If you are shipping to a sanctioned country, you may need a license.

The final recipient of your item(s) cannot be on any of the lists of individuals or entities prohibited from receiving certain exports. The United States publishes several lists of individuals and entities that are prohibited from receiving certain types of goods, including the Denied Persons List, the Unverified List, the Specially Designated Nationals List, the Entity List, and the Debarred Lists. Check each of these lists before proceeding with your purchase. Each list is available online in searchable form at Export.gov.

If the intended recipient of your shipment appears on one of these lists, contact the Export Control Officer.

The end-use of your item(s) cannot be subject to the EAR’s general end-use prohibitions. If the materials, equipment, or technology are designed or adapted for a military application, or may be used in connection with or relate to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or terrorism, it is unlikely that you will be able to ship or transport those materials abroad.

If the end-use of your item(s) may be prohibited, contact the Export Control Officer.

Check the Department of Commerce “Red Flag” list to identify possible violations of export control laws.

If any of these red flags apply, contact the Export Control Officer.

Note regarding Materials Transfer Agreements (MTAs): The Office of Technology Development (OTD) generally processes requests to transfer research materials from Boston University to researchers, academic institutions, or other third-parties and uses standard forms and agreements to do so. If you intend to transfer research materials to a researcher, academic institution, or other third-party outside of the United States you must complete Office of Technology Development’s Export of Materials Checklist before your request may be processed. If you think the materials you will be transferring may be subject to export controls, please inform Office of Technology Development at the time of request.

You must also secure license approval or verify license exception prior to shipment for all export-controlled items. Contact the Export Control Officer for guidance on verifying license exceptions and assistance for the submission of license applications, if required.