Export Controls


Resources for Researchers

Terms and Definitions

To understand the importance of Export Controls there are various definitions that need to be clarified first. The following defintions are all major focus points of regulations enforced by the various federal agencies in the United States.

  • Commerce Control List (CCL). The Commerce Control List is a list that includes commodities, software, and technology subject to the export licensing authority of the Bureau of Industry and Security. The CCL is contained in Supplement No. 1 to Part 774 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
  • Deemed Export. In addition to the shipment of a commodity (e.g. a product) from the United States to a foreign country, the Export Administration Regulations state that the release of technology to a foreign national (even inside the United States) is also ‘deemed’ to be an export. ‘Deemed’ examples can include: Tours of laboratories by foreign nationals; Foreign students, staff, or faculty conducting export controlled research or working in a laboratory where export controlled research is being performed; Hosting foreign scientists; Emails, visual inspection, oral exchanges
  • Defense Article. Defense article is a term used by the U.S. Department of State. It is defined as any item or technical data found in 22 CFR §121.1 of the ITAR (the United States Munitions List). This term includes technical data recorded or stored in any form, models, mock-ups, or other items that contain or reveal technical data directly relating to items designated in 22 CFR §121.1 of the ITAR. It does not include basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions.
  • Defense Service. Defense service is a term used by the U.S. Department of State. It is defined as the furnishing of assistance (including training) to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad, in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing OR use of defense articles. Defense service also includes the furnishing of technical data controlled by the ITAR to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad. Additionally, it includes the provision of military training to foreign units and forces, regular and irregular, including formal or informal instruction of foreign persons in the United States or abroad by correspondence courses; technical, educational or informational publications and media of all kinds; training aid; orientation; training exercise; and military advice.
  • Dual Use. Dual use describes tangible items, software, and/or technology that have both a potential civilian and military use.
  • EAR. Export Administration Regulations. Managed by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) under the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).
  • Educational Instruction Exclusion. The sharing of general scientific, mathematical, or engineering information commonly taught in colleges and universities (including information in the public domain) is exempt from export control regulations.
  • Empowered Official. An U.S. national employed by the UPRM with management authority who is legally able to sign export licenses and other related requests. This person should understand the export regulations and the criminal and civil liabilities and administrative penalties for violating federal export control regulations of military and defense articles.
  • Encryption Items. The process of converting data or information into code is encryption. The phrase encryption item includes all encryption commodities, software, and technology that contain encryption features subject to export controls. Though most of these items are controlled through the EAR, items having a specific military function may be controlled through ITAR.
  • Export. Any item that is sent from the United States to a foreign destination is an export, including, but not limited to, commodities and software or technology, such as clothing, building materials, instrumentation, chemicals, biological materials, circuit boards, automotive parts, blueprints, design plans, retail software packages and technical information. The term also applies to re-exports or re transfers of controlled items for a use, end user, or destination not previously authorized (e.g., an item shipped from one foreign country to another).
  • Foreign National: Any person who is not a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., or individual who has been granted asylum in the U.S.; any foreign corporation, society or any other entity or group that is not incorporated or organized to do business in the US; and any foreign government.
  • Fundamental Research Exclusion. Fundamental Research as defined in the National Security Decision Directive 189 (1985, NSDD189) is “basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons."
  • ITAR. International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Managed by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
  • OFAC. Office of Foreign Assets Control. Managed by the U.S. Department of Treasury (DOT).
  • Petitioner. A person who files an immigration petition or application. UPRM Employee seeking to support the application. May be referred to as the sponsor or UPRM employee.
  • Public Domain/Publicly Available Exclusion.  As defined in 22 CFR §120.22, public domain means information which is published and which is generally accessible or available to the public: (1) Through sales at newsstands and bookstores; (2) Through subscriptions which are available without restriction to any individual who desires to obtain or purchase the published information; (3) Through second class mailing privileges granted by the U.S. Government; (4) At libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents; (5) Through patents available at any patent office; (6) Through unlimited distribution at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show or exhibition, generally accessible to the public, in the United States; (7) Through public release (i.e., unlimited distribution) in any form (e.g., not necessarily in published form) after approval by the cognizant U.S. government department or agency (see also 125.4(b)(13) of this subchapter); (8) Through fundamental research in science and engineering at accredited institutions of higher learning in the U.S. where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community. Fundamental research is defined to mean basic and applied research in science and engineering where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from research results of which are restricted for proprietary reasons or specific U.S. Government access and dissemination controls. University research will not be considered fundamental research if: (i) The University or its researchers accept other restrictions on the publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity, or (ii) The research is funded by the U.S. Government and specific access and dissemination controls protecting information resulting from the research are applicable.
  • Re-export. Re-export means an actual shipment or transmission of controlled tangible items, software, or information from one foreign country to another foreign country. The export or re-export of controlled tangible items, software, or information that will transit through a country or countries, or will be unloaded in a country or countries for reloading and shipment to a new country, or are intended for re-export to the new country, are considered to be exports to the new country, and thus are regulated by export controls.
  • Refugees. Refugees include a person who has been forced from his home and crossed an international border for safety; person protected by political asylum; or someone granted temporary residency under an amnesty provision).
  • Resident Aliens. Resident aliens are green card holder.
  • Sponsor. Person completing the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services’ Form I-129, part 6. It applies only to H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, or O-1A visas. Part 6 asks for a certification connected with export controls.  
  • Technology Assistant Agreement. As defined in 22 CFR §120.22, technology assistant agreement is an agreement (e.g., contract) for the performance of a defense service(s) or the disclosure of technical data, as opposed to an agreement granting a right or license to manufacture defense articles. Assembly of defense articles is included under this section, provided production rights or manufacturing knowhow are not conveyed. Should such rights be transferred, 22 CFR §120.21 is applicable.
  • Technical Data. As defined in 22 CFR §120.10, technical data is: (1) Information, other than software as defined in 22 CFR §120.10(a)(4), which is required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of defense articles. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions or documentation. (2) Classified information relating to defense articles and defense services; (3) Information covered by an invention secrecy order; (4) Software as defined in 22 CFR §121.8(f) directly related to defense articles; This definition does not include information concerning general scientific, mathematical or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges and universities or information in the public domain as defined in § 120.11. It also does not include basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions of defense articles.
  • U.S. Citizens. U.S. citizens are individuals born in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, American Samoa or Swain’s Island; foreign-born children, under age 18, residing in the U.S. with their birth or adoptive parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization; and individuals granted citizenship status by Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). 
  • U.S. Nationals (also known as U.S. persons). U.S. nationalincludes U.S. citizens and other lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (i.e. resident aliens); protected residents as defined by 8 USC 1324(a)(3) which include refugees.; any corporation or other entity incorporated to do business in the United States; and any governmental (federal, state,  or local) entity.


If you have any questions regarding export controls, contact Dr. María Amador-Dumois, Interim Export Control Officer, Research and Development Center, at extension 5344 and via e-mail at exportcontrols@uprm.edu.