Export Control Regulations

At Georgia State University, the Office of Legal Affairs provides oversight, assistance, and training in complying with the federal export control regulations regarding access by foreign nationals to or the transfer abroad of information, materials, and technologies. If you have questions about export controls, please contact:

Caroline Lombard, J.D.
Office of Legal Affairs

What are Export Control Laws (ECLs)?

Export Control Laws broadly describe a comprehensive series of regulations enforced by the federal government concerning the transfer of certain controlled items to foreign nationals, foreign countries, and entities for reasons of national security and foreign policy. ECLs require certain items to be controlled most often because:

  • The nature or type of technology has potential military applications
  • The nature or type of technology raises some sort of trade/economic protection issue
  • There are concerns about the country, organization, individual or “end user” of the technology requiring control

What is considered an export?

The term export when used in the context of ECLs is much broader then the standard notion of a tangible item being shipped out of the United States. Under ECLs, an export includes:

  • Actual shipment of any covered goods or items
  • The electronic or digital transmission of any covered goods, items or related goods or items
  • Any release or disclosure, including verbal disclosures or visual inspections, of any technology, software or technical data to any foreign national
  • Actual use or application of covered technology on behalf of or for the benefit of a foreign entity or person anywhere

What is a deemed export?

A deemed export is the release or disclosure of information or technology to any foreign national with in the United States. Deemed exports are treated as exports to the foreign person’s home country. Deemed exports are a primary area of export control in the university setting. Persons with permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship, and persons granted status as a “protected individual” are exempt from the deemed export rule.

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

Why have export controls and why is compliance important?

Export controls are necessary to protect the foreign policy and national security goals of the United States. Export controls:

  • Restrict exports of goods and technology that could contribute to the military potential of adversaries
  • Prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, chemical)
  • Prevent terrorism
  • Assure compliance with U.S. trade agreements and trade and economic sanctions against other nations

It is important that faculty and other researchers understand their obligations under the regulations and follow them. The consequences of violating the regulations can be severe, and include loss of research funding, fines, and/or prison time. Faculty can be held personally liable for failure to comply with the ECLs.

What is the impact on your work and Georgia State University?

If research involves specified technologies, the ECLs may require that the GSU obtain prior federal approval before allowing foreign nationals to participate in the research, before partnering with a foreign company, or before sharing research results in any manner (including by publication or presentation at conferences) with persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens. Specifically, ECLs may restrict the ability to:

  • Ship, take, or transfer items out of the U.S.
  • Travel internationally with equipment/laptops
  • Collaborate with foreign colleagues/institutions
  • Allow participation of foreign students or researchers in research activities
  • Provide services (including training) to foreign persons, both in the U.S. and abroad
  • Conduct research freely without having to apply for an export license and/or implement security access controls

Who administers export control regulations?

The following U.S. government agencies administer the primary export control regulations: