International shipping and exports

International Shipping and Exports

International Shipping Guidelines

The shipment of a tangible (e.g. equipment, materials, software, etc.) and intangible (e.g. training, know-how, data, etc.) item to a destination outside of the United States is considered an export, regardless of whether the item is sold, used for research, loaned, donated, or outside of the U.S. only temporarily.

All international shipping must comply with export control laws and regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). Dual-use commodities and technology controlled under the EAR may require a license for export, depending upon their Export Control Classification Number (“ECCN”). While many items that are used on a daily basis fall within the “EAR99” classification, or no license required, a number of items that are frequently used in academic research do not and will require an export control review and classification. Defense articles and associated technical data subject to the ITAR always require a license for export.

If you ship items internationally, failure to comply with the relevant laws and regulations may result in the confiscation of the shipped items, fines, and/or jail time. All international shipments must be reviewed prior to shipment to ensure that a license is not required and that items are not being exported to a denied or restricted entity or individual.

Before exporting an item, you should consider:

  • What is the item, product, or information? Is it subject to the EAR or ITAR?
    • Most items and technologies are controlled to some degree, and the degree of control varies per item. Contact Export Control for a review and classification of the item(s) you are shipping.
  • Where is the item going? Is the destination country embargoed or sanctioned?
    • Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria are subject to strict import and export license requirements. If you work with a collaborator in or will be sending or receiving items from one of these countries, contact Export Control.
  • Who is the end user? Is the end user a restricted party?
    • The U.S. government maintains lists of individuals and entities that U.S. organizations are prohibited from collaborating with or shipping to—known as “restricted parties.” Contact Export Control for a screening of the end user.
  • What is the intended end use? Is that end use prohibited?
    • Any end use that has a military or space application or that is contrary to national security will require an extra review by Export Control.

The export control laws and regulations may require that IU obtain a license for the export of certain items. The Office for Research Compliance, through the Export Control Specialist, will assist you in assessing the need for a license and in preparing and filing required export and shipping documentation.

IU is the shipper of record for all shipments sent by the university. You may not rely on the freight forwarder (e.g. FedEx, UPS, DHL or a customs broker) for IU export control compliance; rather, the freight forwarder will rely on the information provided to them by IU.

Additional Considerations before Shipping

There are some exceptions in place for temporary exports, but each case is different and must be evaluated individually. Contact Export Control if you are contemplating a temporary export of an item.

International shippers will often require you to provide the correct classification number or, when relevant, license exception code.

An item that appears on the United States Munitions List (USML) or that has an export control classification number (ECCN) other than “EAR99,” may require an export license, depending upon the shipment destination and end use. In many cases, an export license exception may be used to ship the items internationally, and Export Control will help to make that determination.

You may be asked to provide:

  • Consignee or Importer of Record
  • Country of Ultimate Destination
  • Waybill Number (from an Airway Bill or Bill of Lading)—this includes Incoterms (terms of trade)
  • Pro forma invoice and packing list
  • Manufacturer’s Serial Number
  • Description of Goods
  • Country of Origin
  • Harmonized System Tariff (HS) Code
  • Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)
  • Unit and/or Total Value
  • Diversion Statement: “These commodities, technology, or software were exported from the United States in accordance with the Export Administration Regulations. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.”
  • Automated Export System (AES) filing—Electronic Export Information (EEI) must be filed with AES for exports valued over $2500. (When no EEI is required, include the following low value exemption statement on the invoice: “30.37 (a) No EEI required—no individual Schedule B or HS number valued over $2500.)
  • Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI)
  • Certificate of Origin—completed by the exporter to declare where certain items were produced, manufactured, or assembled

Federal regulations require you to keep records of shipments for five years after the date of the shipment. These records include pro forma invoices, airway bills, export filings and all associated communications.

An Electronic Export Information (EEI) is required for all shipments to China, Russia and Venezuela. Contact the Export Control Office for assistance with shipments to these destinations.

Contact ORA to determine if a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is required. An MTA covers the transfer or tangible biological research materials between two organizations and addresses issues such as allowable uses, transfer of rights, intellectual property rights, confidentiality and liability. (See Other Research Agreements, under Material Transfer Agreement for more information.)


Shipping Biologicals Internationally

Contact the Export Control Office to determine if the materials being shipped are subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

  • human, animal and plant pathogens listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL) under Export Control Numbers (ECCNs) 1C351 and 1C354;
  • genetic elements and genetically modified organisms that contain or code for genes of the pathogens and toxins in 1C351 and 1C354: and
  • vaccines against the pathogens and toxins in 1C351 and 1C354.

  • materials, technologies and software specially designed for military applications. These are materials that can be used offensively or that might be used by a recipient in the design, development, production, stockpiling or use of chemical or biological weapons.

NOTE: Export controls apply regardless of quantity or attenuation and to shipments to all countries and for all purposes.

General Assistance with Shipping

The Export Control Office can secure appropriate permissions and connect shippers with other IU offices to assist with logistics, packaging, and other requirements that may apply.

Contact IU's Export Control Office

Contact IU's Export Control Office at You may also schedule an in-person meeting at a campus location convenient for you.