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Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Administration

East Tennessee State University

Export Control Overview


What is Export Control?
Export control laws are federal regulations that govern how certain information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted overseas to anyone -- including U.S. citizens -- or to foreign nationals on U.S. soil. ETSU is committed to the highest level of compliance with all applicable export control laws and regulations. Penalties for non-compliance with export control laws are severe and impact both the institution and the researcher.

Who Governs Export Control Regulations?
The following U.S. governmental agencies determine polices regarding export control:

What is an Export?
An export is any oral, written, electronic or visual disclosure, shipment, transfer or transmission of commodities, technology, information, technical data, assistance or software codes to

  • anyone outside the U.S. including a U.S. citizen
  • a "foreign national" wherever they are (deemed export)
  • a foreign embassy or affiliate

Who is a Foreign National?
A "Foreign National" is any person who is NOT a:

  • U.S. Citizen or National
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Person Granted Asylum
  • Person Granted Refugee Status
  • Temporary Resident

"Foreign Nationals" include:

  • Persons in the U.S. in non-immigrant status (for example, H-1B, H-3, L-1, J-1, F-1 Practical Training, L-1)
  • Persons unlawfully in the U.S.

How are Exports Disclosed?
Exports can be disclosed via the following actions:

  • Fax
  • Telephone discussions
  • E-mail communications
  • Computer data
  • Face-to-face discussions
  • Training sessions
  • Tours which involve visual inspections

Are there exclusions from Export Control laws?
Yes, there are several exclusions, and two that are particularly relevant to academic research: the fundamental research exclusion and the public domain exclusion. These exclusions can be lost, however, if researchers sign side agreements (including material transfer and non-disclosure agreements) that contain publication restrictions or restrictions on who can participate in the research. It is crucial that you not sign any such agreements--or any agreements that mention export controls--on your own.  See also Licenses and Exclusions.


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