Export Control Laws - Regulations and Overview

Cornell University is fully committed to compliance with all U.S. Government export control laws and regulations. Export Compliance is the responsibility of all Cornell University faculty, staff, and students. Penalties for non-compliance are severe and impact both the institution and the individual.

Export Control Laws and Regulations

"Export Controls" are federal laws and regulations that govern the transfer or disclosure of goods, technology, data, software, services, information, and funds (collectively "Items"). Export Control laws apply not only to transfers out of the country, but to some in-country transfers as well. They apply to all disclosures, including but not limited to electronic, visual, oral, and physical disclosures.

  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
    • Citation: 22 CFR 120-130
    • Agency: Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), US Department of State
    • Statutory Authority: Arms Export Control Act (AECA)
    • Scope: Primarily military items
    • Examples of Items controlled: satellite technology, some unmanned aerial vehicles, global positioning systems, chemicals, night vision technology, navigation systems, sonar and radar systems, military electronics and software.
  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
    • Citation: 15 CFR chapter VII, subchapter C
    • Agency: Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS), US Department of Commerce
    • Statutory Authority: Export Administration Act (EAA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)
    • Scope: Items not controlled by another agency and predominantly related to dual-use (those with military and commercial utility) technology which may or may not be listed on the Commerce Control List.
    • Examples of Items controlled: lasers, software, cameras, encryption technology, sensors, navigation and avionics, propulsion systems, toxins, chemicals, bacteria, fungi, viruses, genetic and biological materials, and commercial electronics (phones, laptops, PDAs).
  • Embargoes and Trade Sanctions or Foreign Assets Control Regulations (FACR)
    • Citation: 31 CFR 500-598
    • Agency: Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Department of the Treasury
    • Statutory Authority: Presidential National Emergency Powers and various legislation impacting international trade
    • Scope: Targets individuals, entities, and locations - as opposed to specific technology. Restricts the flow of financial assets, goods and services.
    • Examples of Controls
      • Comprehensively Sanctioned Countries: Iran, Cuba, Ukraine (Crimea, DNR, and LNR regions), Syria, and North Korea.
      • List-Based: Counter Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Counter Narcotics Trafficking.
    • The Iran Sanctions Guidance Document spells out specifics for Cornell faculty, staff, and students wishing to travel to Iran or engage with and Iranian entity.

Other Federal Agencies with Export Control Authority

Although the Departments of State, Commerce & Treasury are the primary agencies with export control authority, there are other agencies that have authority over certain types of goods and materials. The agencies listed below are examples, not a comprehensive list:

  • Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Justice
    Import/Export Quick Reference Guide and website
  • Food and Drug Administration 
    Export Guidance website
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
    USFWS Import/Export Permit website
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
    NRC Export-Import website
  • Department of Energy 
    National Nuclear Security Administration website; Office of Nuclear Energy website
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture 
    APHIS Import/Export website

This is not a comprehensive list of all US export control regulations; additional laws and regulations exist, but typically university activities will not involve data, goods, or services under their jurisdiction. The Export Controls Office provides consultative expertise and will assist researchers in contacting the appropriate cognizant agency for other regulations.

License Requirements

  • EAR: If an item is EAR-controlled, it may need an export license based on its Export Control Classification Number, destination country, the end user and the end use, if no exceptions apply.
    • The application for an EAR license is a detailed summary of what the item is, who will be using it and for what, the identities of individuals and entities who will have custody on its way to the end user, its value, and other necessary information.
    • Once submitted, it may take up to 90 days to receive the license.
  • ITAR: All ITAR controlled items require an ITAR license for export. 
    • The application for an ITAR license is a detailed summary of what the item is, who will be using it and for what, the identities of individuals and entities who will have custody on its way to the end user, its value, and other information. 
    • Once submitted, it may take more than 90 days to receive the license. 
  • A license may also be required to disclose EAR controlled technology, information, source code or object code to foreign nationals located in the U.S. In addition, anything ITAR controlled (i.e. technology, information, source code, object code, material, items, equipment) may not be accessed by foreign nationals in the U.S. OR by anyone (i.e. foreign nationals, U.S. citizens) located outside of the U.S. An OFAC license will be required prior to engaging with certain sanctioned entities or countries.

The Export Controls Office can assist in determining the ECCN or United States Munitions List ID of the item(s) you wish to export, or any exceptions which apply to the transaction. We will also apply for any required licenses on Cornell's behalf.