Policies and Guidelines


Activities that are impacted by export controls fall into four broad categories:

  1. Activities involving actual export or transmission from the U.S. to a foreign destination of information, technologies, and commodities.

  2. Release of export-controlled information or technology to Foreign Persons in the U.S. or abroad, commonly referred to as deemed exports.

  3. Activities involving entities or individuals listed on restricted or prohibited parties lists.

  4. Activities or transactions in countries or involving nationals of countries against whom the U.S. has placed economic and trade-related embargoes. Comprehensively embargoed destinations include Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, and Crimea region of Ukraine.

In an academic and research setting such as Emory's, activities that can fall in one or more of these broad categories include activities related to international collaborations, international shipping, international travel, hosting international visitors, employment of non-immigrant visa holders, conducting research which has restrictions on publications or Foreign Persons' participation, and conducting research which makes use of export-controlled inputs.

When evaluating whether an international collaboration is impacted by export controls, key points of consideration should include the following:

Can the research activity be described as fundamental research?

Technology that arises during, or results from, fundamental research and is intended to be published is not subject to export control. If a sponsor has placed restrictions on publications or who can participate in the research based on nationality, the research is likely not fundamental research and therefore likely subject to export controls.

Will the collaboration involve shipping or hand carrying items, including materials, samples, or equipment to Foreign Persons or to a foreign entity outside the US?

Specialized lab instruments, chemicals, samples, biological materials, and prototypes might require an export license to be exported outside the U.S. Some exports may require specialized documentation (see International Shipping below). If any items will be exported, please complete the International Shipping Request Form and the Export Control Office (ECO) will assist you in determining if an export license is required. If a license is required, ECO will apply for the license on your behalf.

Is the collaborating entity or individual(s) on any restricted or prohibited list?

The federal agencies responsible for the administration of export control regulations maintain lists of restricted or prohibited parties (both individuals and entities). Depending on the list, there may be a strict export prohibition, specific license requirements, or presence of a "red flag” that requires additional due diligence. Emory conducts restricted party screening to determine if parties to a collaboration appear on any of the restricted party lists. Several business and operational units across Emory can conduct restricted party screening. If you are not sure who within your unit/department can help with restricted party screening, please contact ECO exportcontrol@emory.edu.

Note: If you engage in international collaborations and have questions beyond export controls, contact internationalcollaborations@emory.edu.

There are several federal regulations and agencies that oversee different aspects of international shipping.

From an export control viewpoint, the key consideration is whether an export license is required. Whether a license is required depends on what is being shipped, the country of destination, the ultimate end user, and the ultimate end use. ECO evaluates shipments to determine if an export license is required. Restricted party screening helps to determine if the ultimate end user(s) appears on any restricted or prohibited parties' list. Please complete International Shipping Request Form and ECO will assist you in determining if an export license is required.

U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations require filing of Electronic Export Information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES) for certain exports. The U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations require AES filing for certain exports including shipments valued above $2,500, shipments that require an export license, and shipments exported under most EAR license exceptions and all ITAR license exemptions. A complete list of general filing requirements can be found at 15 CFR 30.2 (a) See also this link for resources and information on how to accurately report EEI. You can contact ECO for help in determining if EEI filing is applicable for your shipment.

Depending on the nature of your international shipment, multiple offices may need to provide guidance. ECO, in collaboration with some of our partner offices, has developed an import/export information sheet for Emory personnel. Please contact the appropriate office(s) with any questions.

If you are shipping infectious substances, biological materials, or dry ice, it is very likely that special shipping documents (including permits) must accompany the shipment. Minimally, the package must meet requirements of the Department of Transport (DOT) regulations (49 CFR 171 – 178) and IATA regulations. The person preparing the package for shipment must be appropriately trained. This training is required for persons who participate in any of the following activities as it pertains to shipping infectious substances, biological materials, and/or dry ice:

  1. Determining the hazard class
  2. Selecting packaging
  3. Securing the closure of a package
  4. Marking and labeling packages
  5. Preparing and reviewing shipping documentation

Completion of this training is important to stay in compliance with federal and state laws, and to maintain eligibility for you and your fellow researchers to apply for grants and funding. Please contact krengar@emory.edu with any questions.

Individuals traveling internationally on Emory business or with university property are responsible for complying with U.S. export control laws and regulations. Export control regulations may restrict or prohibit some travel-related activities or destinations, and/or may require licenses for others.

  • Travel to comprehensively embargoed destinations - Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Crimea region of Ukraine: The U.S. government maintains comprehensive trade and economic sanctions which severely restrict the importation and exportation of goods and services to and/or from these countries, including related transactions.Travel-related activities that are allowable for other destinations might require an export license or other authorization if the travel is to an embargoed destination. The rules are different for each sanctioned destination. For example, while travel to Iran is not prohibited, attending a conference, or conducting research in Iran often requires a license. Travel to Cuba on the other hand is prohibited, unless authorized by a license. If you intend to travel to any of these countries, please contact ECO exportcontrol@emory.edu as soon as possible so that we can provide you with guidance that is specific to the purpose of travel and destination. ECO will assist the traveler with applying for a license when necessary. Please note that licenses can take several weeks before they are granted, so it is important that the traveler contact ECO as early as possible. International Travel Form

  • Travel for Conferences - Most conferences will not fall under the purview of export control regulations as it is considered to be in the public domain. Information in the public domain include information that is published and is generally accessible to the public through publication in books or periodicals available in a public library or in bookstores, and information that is presented at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or other open gathering. Travelers should not share or take information, software, or technology that is proprietary, or that has been received under a nondisclosure agreement or is otherwise subject to contractual restrictions. As best practice, travelers should limit data or other information that they take during travel to what is necessary. Please consult your local IT unit for advice on information security during travel.

  • Travel with Emory equipment - Most items, including laptops, tablets, cellphones, and commercial software, may be taken outside the U.S. under a license exception called "Temporary Imports, Exports, Re-exports, and Transfers" (In-Country) (TMP). Where a license is required, the TMP license exception allows the traveler to take Emory's property out of the U.S. provided the item is (a) kept under the traveler's effective control and (b) brought back to the U.S. within a year of the departure date. We advise travelers to use the Checklist for License Exception – Temporary Export (PDF) to document the use of the TMP license exception.

    Please note that the TMP does not apply to items listed in the U.S. Munitions List or to specialized equipment such global positioning systems, thermal imaging cameras, and inertial measurement systems. These items may require a license, even if the export is temporary.

  • Travel with Personal Equipment/Items - Personal items including laptops, tablets, or cellphones can be taken under the license exception Baggage (BAG) when a license is required. Travelers are advised to use the Checklist – Baggage (BAG) License Exception (PDF) to document the use of this license exception. 

  • Information Security - Please refer to the Emory Office of Information Technology’s information security travel tips.

Visitors and the activities that they undertake while at Emory may be subject to U.S. export control regulations. Examples of when the regulations can apply include when:

  • The research that a visitor will participate in cannot be categorized as fundamental research.
  • The visitor will have access to export-controlled information or technology.
  • The visitor will participate in research or an activity that is subject to a Technology Control Plan.
  • The visitor is a national of a comprehensively sanctioned or embargoed country.
  • The visitor or the institution they are affiliated with appears in any of the restricted party lists.

ECO helps Emory host departments in reviewing visitors and their related activities to determine applicability of export control regulations.

Supervisors and departments filing Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should be aware of the attestation regarding the release of export-controlled technology, source code or technical data to Foreign Persons. Petitioners are required to indicate whether an export license is required to release export-controlled technology, source code, or technical data to the beneficiary of the petition. Prior to extending an offer for employment to a non-immigrant visa holder, the hiring supervisor must carefully consider if the proposed employment will involve the release of export-controlled technology, source code, or technical data.

An export license may be required if it cannot be exported to the nonimmigrant visa holder's country of citizenship without authorization. If an export license is required, it must be obtained before export-controlled technology, source code, or technical data is released to the employee. ECO will assist the hiring department in filing a request for an export license with the relevant federal agency. The processing time for export licenses can take several weeks depending on the particulars of each case. Hiring departments/units should plan for possible delays in employment start dates. The hiring supervisor and the department must ensure that no export-controlled technology, source code, or technical data is released to the Foreign Person until a license is obtained.

Most activities that take place at an academic and research institution such as Emory are not subject to export control regulations. In particular, the following is not subject to export control regulations:

  1. Published information: Information that is published by making it available to the public without restrictions upon its further dissemination, such as through any of the following:

    • Subscriptions available without restriction to any individual who desires to obtain or purchase the published information.

    • Libraries or other public collections that are open and available to the public, and from which the public can obtain tangible or intangible document.

    • Unlimited distribution at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or exhibition, generally accessible to the interested public.

    • Public dissemination (i.e., unlimited distribution) in any form (e.g., not necessarily in published form), including posting on the Internet on sites available to the public; or

    • Submission of a written composition, manuscript, presentation, computer-readable dataset, formula, imagery, algorithms, or some other representation of knowledge with the intention that such information will be made publicly available if accepted for publication or presentation,

      •  To domestic or foreign co-authors, editors, or reviewers of journals, magazines, newspapers or trade publications;
      • To researchers conducting fundamental research; or
      • To organizers of open conferences or other open gatherings.

    (Note: certain published encryption software remains subject to the regulations. Please contact ECO for specific guidance on encryption software)

  2. Results of fundamental research: Technology and software that results from fundamental research and that is intended to be published is not export controlled. Fundamental research is defined as research in science, engineering, or mathematics, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the research community, and for which the researchers have not accepted restrictions for proprietary or national security reasons.

    Note: The fundamental research exclusion does not extend to export controlled technology, source code, or other items that are released or used to conduct fundamental research. For example, an export-controlled biological material or proprietary technology used in the conduct of fundamental research remain subject export controls.

  3. Patent information: Technology is not subject to export control regulations if it is contained in a patent or published patent application from or in any patent office.

  4. Educational information: Information and software that are released by instruction in a catalog course or associated teaching laboratory of an academic institution is not export controlled.

Even if an activity is export-controlled, it is not necessarily prohibited altogether. However, compliance is not optional. Additional due diligence is required to determine how to navigate the relevant restrictions and compliance requirements. ECO works with the principal investigator(s) and/or department to resolve the export compliance issues prior to start of the research effort or the activity in question. In general, ECO's review includes the following:

  • Determining if the activity will require a license or other authorization from OFAC, BIS, DDTC, or another federal agency. If a license is required, ECO works with the PI and/or department to gather information needed to request a license or other authorization and submits the license request on behalf of the PI and/or department. No work or other activity for which a license or other authorization is sought may begin until the license or authorization has been granted. Doing so would violate export control regulations.

  • Determining if a license exemption, exception, or a general license applies to the activity. In general, when an exception is available, the export-controlled activity or transaction does not require a specific license from the relevant federal agency. License exceptions include conditions that must be met for the exception to apply, including, in some cases, reporting obligations to the relevant federal agency and recordkeeping. When a license exception is available, ECO will work with the PI and/or department to document the applicability of the license exception.

  • Determining if a Technology Control Plan (TCP) is necessary to prevent the unauthorized deemed export of controlled technology. ECO works with the PI and the relevant department to develop the TCP.

  • Recordkeeping requirements generally apply to export-controlled activities. Therefore, ECO may also work with the PI and/or department to develop a record management plan.

Export control violations are a serious matter. Consequences can include severe fines and even imprisonment. In addition to implementing proactive compliance measures, the ECO aims to detect and address potential issues in a timely manner through periodic audits. In the event of a potential violation, Emory may submit a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to the authorities and implement a range of corrective actions.