International Shipments Export Control

Export Control

International Shipments Export Control

International Shipping Best Practices Documents Example Shipping Mistakes General Resources

Questions? Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity ( for assistance with export control questions before engaging in any international shipping activities.


The shipment of controlled physical items - Such as scientific equipment, shipment and utilization of equipment, technology or other export controlled items - from the United States to a foreign national or foreign country could possibly require an export license depending on the item, destination, recipient, and end-use. 

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity (OSPRI) can help you be certain your export is in compliance with export and sanction laws.

Everything that leaves the United States is an export...

...even if it is temporary
...even if it wasn't sold
...even if it will be used for research

OSPRI will be happy to provide the following services related to International shipments:

  • Commodity jurisdiction and classifications (note only OSPRI can apply for these items)
  • Export license preparation and submission (note only OSPRI can apply for a license)
  • Obtain Export Control Commodity Numbers (ECCN) or United States Munitions List (USML) Category Number

Note OSPRI does not ship anything, but we are happy to work with you and mail services to ensure your shipment arrives at the final destination.

Shipping tangible items outside of the United States may require an export license.


International Shipping Best Practices


  • Review the International Shipping Export Control License Review Worksheet
  • Review Top Eight Items to Consider When Shipping Internationally Document 
  • International shipping is subject to export and import controls, duties, taxes and regulations of 196 different countries. Every export from the U.S. is an import somewhere else - all shipments go through customs in the destination country. 
  • Shipping to foreign countries incorrectly can result in fines, payment of unnecessary taxes, confiscation, or incarceration. Some items, as well as some software and information, are subject to US export controls. The impact of these controls on a particular shipment depends on the item, the country it's being shipped to, the entity or individual who will receive it, and the use to which it will be put.
  • Some items are hazardous, and may need to be packaged and labeled appropriately:
    • Biologicals
    • Chemicals
    • Batteries and fuel cells
    • Radioactive material, etc.
    • If you are shipping any of the items listed directly above, please contact the Hazardous Material Specialist Cynthia Norton via email


Examples how shipping mistakes can be costly and time-consuming


The University of Massachusetts at Lowell was fined $100,000 for unlicensed export of atmospheric sensing equipment to Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission ("SUPARCO"). The fine will be waived if the university does not commit any more export violations during a probationary period of two years.

Notably, the exports in this case were not controlled items--all were classified as EAR99, meaning they could be shipped without a license to most destinations in most circumstances--but the recipient of the items, SUPARCO, is on the Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List of people and organizations subject to special license requirements.