Export Controls

Procedures Manual

What are Exports?

  • An “Export” basically occurs when there is a transfer or shipment of items/information out of the U.S.
    • hand-carrying, shipping for repair or research abroad, etc.
    • the electronic transmission of this information out of the U.S. (e.g., fax, email, phone)
    • the provision of specific services to a foreign national (except for certain categories; e.g., a physical item/technology such as a laser, GPS, computer with encryption technology, etc.)
  • The Export can also occur even if the foreign national is in the United States, i.e., “Deemed Export
    • lab tours, presentations, discussions
  • When research or educational activities may involve providing technology, data, or services to foreign nationals in the U.S. or abroad, the Mines’ community needs to identify whether:
    • the export control laws and regulations apply in the situation
    • when to seek assistance from support offices to review the particular circumstances
    • determine if a license is needed for the Export, or if there are issues to occur.

What does "Export Control" mean?

The reference to "Export Controls" means the legal restrictions placed on the dissemination of technologies (including information) to non-US persons and non-US locations due to various laws, regulations, and interpretations from U.S. agencies. 

The restrictions exist to avoid:

  • sharing weapons of mass destruction, or certain nuclear technology and information
  • to protect the US commercial interests
  • to avoid assisting criminal or certain military activity globally. 

Similarly, many non-US countries have controls on technology, information, and items and the use of, movement of, or sharing of that with other persons.


Quick Agency & Regs Primer 

Various export agencies and their respective jurisdictions. Click FAQ for more information about each agency.

Regulations Agency (Jurisdiction) Oversight Areas

Export Administration Regulations

Department of Commerce,
Bureau of Business & Industry (BIS)
both commercial & military application, not those covered by ITAR
(often called Dual-Use" items)

International Traffic in Arms

Depart of State
Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)
Technologies, inherently military in properties


Office of Foreign Assets Control

Department of Treasury,

Prohibits transactions of value with certain countries/persons sanctioned or embargoed (also End Users)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Department of Energy tech or equipment related to nuclear reactors (commodities too)



Helpful Decision/Review Tools

Travel Abroad and Export Controls

  • Department of State Travel Warnings
  • FBI and Business Travels
  • Traveling to D5 countries (Syria, Sudan, N. Korea, Iran, or Cuba) require additional steps in advance.
  • Steps to consider if traveling abroad to some countries with IT devices may include:
    • using a clean laptop, with current security & malware detection
    • removing unnecessary Mines' data/personal data from devices before travel
    • removing 3d party proprietary software, confidential/sensitive data & export controlled data
    • remove encrypted files, encryption capable software, except for system critical tech (certain encryption tech is strictly controlled)
    • avoid using Wi-Fi connections, even if labeled as secure and/or requiring passwords
    • never attach or accept unknown devices/drives (including USB drives)
    • on return have the the device scanned for malware prior to connecting to Mines' network
    • accessing email abroad (even through VPN) may allow access to confidential/sensitive info

Resources & Information



What Activities may result in Export Control issues?

  • Performing Research
  • Collaborating with someone that is not a U.S. person
  • Teaching at Mines, other US locations, or abroad
  • Traveling abroad
  • Shipping/Sharing any item or materials (physically or electronically), software or information globally (even when hand-carried)
  • Paying someone abroad for items, materials services, expenses, etc.
  • Demonstrating technology that is not yet public to foreign nationals, etc.
  • Working in certain technologies/areas such as
    • Engineering
    • Space Sciences
    • Biomedical Research (esp. involving lasers or radioactive elements)
    • Research/Development Encrypted Software
    • Research with controlled chemicals, biological agents, and toxins
    • Nuclear research
    • Military Sponsored Research
    • Proprietary Research

Isn't all my research, scholarship, or teaching Fundamental Research?

Not necessarily.  While Mines is a Fundamental Research university and we start the consideration from that premise, some technology, information, or items used or transferred may fall outside the Fundamental Research Exception (FRE).  Please consult the Decision Trees or contact ORA for more information on the topic.

Are there Exceptions to Export Control restrictions over the activities or information mentioned above?

Yes. However, the exceptions to the export control restrictions on technology, information or activities each require analysis.  Generally these start with the Mines' position that we focus on Fundamental Research as that is defined under both ITAR and EAR.  However, the term Fundamental Research is not automatically applied to U.S. Universities under ITAR/EAR. For example:

  • ITAR:  If the technology is ITAR-controlled, but the research is occurring on an U.S. university campus and the results are fully published (in the public domain), usually there can be a Fundamental Research exception to the export controls determination.
    • Note 1:  If the info is already published, but it relates to/involves a "Defense Article" (on the US Munitions List), then an analysis of the activity to determine if a Defense Service will be performed must occur.
      • The FRE may or may not be available as an option to University Researchers; thus, there is a further required review and analysis, and includes documentation of the analysis and recordkeeping of it for at least 5 years following the analysis.
    • Note 2:  Equipment developed under Fundamental Research exception is not automatically excluded from export controls/ITAR if it meets USML criteria.
  • EAR:  University based research (basic & applied science or engineering) that is conducted by scientists, engineers, or students at an accredited U.S. University and that is publicly available (e.g., no restriction on publication) is normally (but not always) considered Fundamental Research.  Again an analysis is key to the process.

Where can I obtain more training on the Export and Export Control processes?

The Department of Commerce, through the Bureau of Business & Industry (BIS) provides some on-line resources for the public.  See BIS website, https://www.export.gov/Export-Guides.  For more information or for department or unit training, please contact ORA and Compliance by phone or email

What about if I have Foreign National Graduate Students in my lab, are licenses required?

It depends. If you are in the Mines' and you have Foreign National Grad Students working only on Fundamental Research* then you likely will not require a license to continue the work. However, it is recommended to perform a laboratory assessment both of the technology, items, equipment, or source code in use to ensure that there is not something or some work that will except the research from Fundamental Research designation. Please consult with ORA or compliance for more information.


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