Export Compliance FAQs

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EXPORT COMPLIANCE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

 

EXPORT COMPLIANCE BASICS

  1. What is Export Compliance?
  2. What U.S. Export Control Regulations should I know about?
  3. What is an “Export”?
  4. What is a “Deemed Export”?
  5. What is “Technology” or “Technical Data”?
  6. Who is considered to be a “Foreign National” of “Foreign Person”?
  7. What happens if I violate U.S. Export Regulations?
  8. Who can I contact with questions, for help, or to report potential concerns?

EXPORT COMPLIANCE AND UNIVERSITIES

  1. How can U.S. Export Controls impact University efforts?
  2. What is “Fundamental Research”?
  3. What is “Published” or “Public Domain” Information?
  4. Wait, isn't my academic research free of U.S. Export Control concerns?
  5. Are educational materials covered by U.S. Export Controls?
  6. What areas are most likely to have significant export compliance risks?
  7. How can U.S. Export Controls impact my research?
  8. What should I do if someone sends me something that is marked as export controlled?
  9. Who can I contact for more information or for help understanding if U.S. Export Controls are likely to impact my research efforts?
     

FOREIGN TRAVEL

  1. What is the definition of foreign travel for export compliance purposes?
  2. Why do I need to have my foreign travel reviewed for export compliance purposes?
  3. What destinations or travel efforts create the greatest amount of risk from an export compliance perspective?
  4. How do I have my foreign travel reviewed for export compliance purposes?
  5. What is the Travel Safety Network (TSN)?
  6. How do I get a “receipt” (or a copy of my receipt) for enrolling my foreign travel in the TSN?
  7. How can I get help with enrolling my travel in the TSN?
  8. What if Penn State is not paying for my foreign travel?
  9. What if Penn State is paying for the foreign travel of a non-Penn State person?
  10. Can I take my Penn State laptop with me on my foreign trip?
  11. Can I take “X” (equipment, prototypes, materials, chemicals, and/or supplies) with me on my foreign trip?
  12. What is the BAG or TMP license exception for hand-carried items?
  13. Who can I contact for help with my planned foreign travel?
     

FOREIGN SCHOLARS/VISITORS (Coming Soon)
 


FOREIGN SHIPMENTS (Coming Soon)
 


 


EXPORT COMPLIANCE BASICS

  1. What is Export Compliance?

    Export Compliance is the process of evaluating the impact of various U.S. Export Control Laws and Regulations ("U.S. Export Controls") on the operations of any business or individual activity to facilitate compliance with any legal obligations arising under such laws or regulations. In general, U.S. Export Controls apply to the transfer of controlled items, information and/or services to foreign recipients (foreign countries, companies, or persons). Export Compliance is a complex evaluation of the intersection between law and facts. The University has established a process to review various business transactions to evaluate the risk for potential violations of U.S. Export Controls. This process may include evaluation, remediation, and outreach efforts and is designed to protect the University and its constituents from inadvertently violating these complex laws and regulations.
     
  2. What U.S. Export Control regulations should I know about?

    There are a number of federal laws and regulations that commonly are referred to as Export Control Laws or U.S. Export Controls. The three (3) most likely to impact activities at Penn State are the following:

    International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) - These regulations are administered by the U.S. Department of State and govern the export of dual-use commodities, software, and technology. The ITAR takes precedence over the regulations from the Department of Commerce. Items controlled by the ITAR are designated in a positive control list entitled the United States Munitions List (USML). Restrictions on the export of items, data, or services controlled under the ITAR are substantial and a license is often required to physically export or to enable foreign persons to receive or work with ITAR data. The text of the ITAR is available at 22 C.F.R. Parts 120-130.

    Export Administration Regulations (EAR) - These regulations are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce and govern the export of dual-use commodities, software, and technology. Dual-use items are items that have both a potential military and commercial application. All items of U.S. origin and/or all items not governed by the ITAR may be controlled under the EAR. Items specifically controlled by the EAR are designated in a positive control list entitled the Commerce Control List (CCL).  All other items controlled under the EAR but not specifically designated on the CCL are considered low-level controlled items and designated as EAR99. Items listed on the CCL may be controlled for various purposes (Missile Technology, National Security, Anti-Terrorism, etc.) and the restrictions that apply will vary based on the purpose(s) of the controls and the intended destination and/or end-use. The text of the EAR is available at 15 C.F.R. Parts 730-770.

    Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) - OFAC is an executive agency that exists to administer various export control laws and regulations under the purview of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Unlike the ITAR and EAR, OFAC does not administer a single set of regulations but is responsible for implementation of various laws, regulations, and executive orders commonly referred to as sanctions. These sanctions are often based on current U.S. foreign policy and national security concerns and may restrict activities, shipments, and/or other transactions with foreign countries, foreign industrial sectors, foreign companies, and/or foreign persons. Activities prohibited under the relevant laws, regulations, or executive orders may be permitted under either a general license (pre-existing and defined to specific activities) or a specific license (specific to an applicant, location and activity). Also, unlike the ITAR and EAR, there is no positive control list for controlled technologies, so the impact of OFAC administered regulations may be very broad and difficult to understand. 
     
  3. What is an “Export”?

    When we hear the term "Export", our first thought is that it is the process of physically sending something to a foreign destination. While this is true, the term "Export" as used in the regulations is much broader in scope.  

    In general, an "Export" can be any shipment or transmission of items, services, or technical data out of the United States, or the release of technology, software, or technical data to a foreign national in the United States (i.e. a "Deemed Export"). Technology, software, or technical data may be “released” for export through any of the following: 

    a.  Visual inspection by a foreign national of U.S. origin equipment and facilities;

    b.  Oral exchanges of information in the United States or abroad; 

    c.  Transfer or shipment via any means (physical or electronic) to a foreign entity; or

    d.  Provision of a service, or the application to situations abroad of personal knowledge or technical experience acquired in the United States.
     
  4. What is a “Deemed Export”?

    A "Deemed Export" is any release of controlled information, technology or software to a foreign national whether the release occurs in the United States, or abroad. Any such release is "deemed" to be an export to the foreign national's country of origin and/or country of citizenship, depending on the regulations that apply. It is important to understand that Deemed Exports may require obtaining a license approval from the cognizant, government agency prior to release of the controlled information, technology or software. A Deemed Export is the legal equivalent to physically exporting the controlled information, technology, or software to the foreign country in question.
     
  5. What is “Technology” or “Technical Data”?

    Put simply, the terms "Technical Data" (ITAR) and "Technology" (EAR) refer to informational content that may be controlled under the applicable export regulations.  

    Specifically, controlled "Technical Data" under the ITAR includes the following: (i) Information which is required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance, or modification of defense articles; (ii) classified information relating to defense articles and defense services; and (iii) some software related to or necessary for the operation or use of defense articles. Technical Data under the ITAR does not include basic marketing information on function or purpose or general system descriptions of defense articles.

    Similarly, controlled "Technology" under the EAR includes the specific information necessary for the “development”, “production”, or “use” of a product. Release of technology for purposes of the “use” of an item requires all of the following capabilities be provided to the new “user”: Operation, installation (including on-site installation), maintenance (checking), repair, overhaul, and refurbishing.

    For more information on these definitions (and other definitions related to U.S. Export Controls), please visit our Important Export Compliance Definitions webpage.
     
  6. Who is considered to be a “Foreign National” or "Foreign Person"?

    The term "Foreign Person" is a defined term under both the ITAR and the EAR and generally covers any person who is not: (i) a U.S. citizen; (ii) a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder); or, (iii) a Protected Person under relevant immigration and naturalization laws or regulations (asylee, refugee, or temporary resident under amnesty provisions). The term also include any company, corporation, business association, partnership, or other legal entity not incorporated or otherwise organized to do business under the laws of the United States. The term "Foreign National" as may be used in the EAR is synonymous with the term "Foreign Person". 
     
  7. What happens if I violate U.S. Export Regulations?

    Violations of U.S. Export Controls can carry significant financial repercussions. In addition, intentional violations may result in criminal charges that could result in fines, penalties, and even jail time. It is important that all University Persons understand that liability under these laws and regulations apply to both the University, as an institution, and to the individual person whose acts result in the violation. Neither the University nor the individual responsible party can transfer their liability to the other, the liabilities are independently assessed by the enforcement agencies (i.e. joint and several liability).

    In addition to the potential financial and/or criminal consequences mentioned, violators of U.S. Export Controls may be made ineligible for future government funded programs and, in some circumstances, prevented from working with any U.S. Persons on future projects. These sanctions could substantially inhibit the ability to pursue current and future academic, research and employment opportunities.
     
  8. Who can I contact with questions, for help, or to report potential concerns?

    The University has a number of resources available to help evaluate the impact of U.S. Export Controls on University research efforts. The University Export Compliance Office, a unit within the Office of Ethics and Compliance, exists to help University Persons (faculty, staff, students, etc.) understand and comply with U.S. Export Controls as they impact their University efforts, including their research and instructional efforts. The University Export Compliance Officer (UECO) and Empowered Official (EO) is the manager of University's Export Compliance and Management Program. To reach the University Export Compliance Office or the UECO, please feel free to email us or contact us by phone at 814-867-2379.

    Anonymous reports of potential export compliance violations or concerns may also be made through the University Hotline either online or by calling 1-800-560-1637.
     

EXPORT COMPLIANCE AND UNIVERSITIES

  1. How can U.S. Export Controls impact University efforts?

    First, it is important to understand that, because U.S. Export Controls are very broad and encompass activities and efforts not generally considered an "export" as most consider the term, it is often difficult to understand the huge potential for the intersection of academic and university-based research and these complex laws and regulations. While U.S. Export Controls are broad-based, there are specific areas and activities that have increased risk for compliance concerns.

    Research in the STEM fields, especially research on advanced technologies and materials which have either substantial military or commercial value, present the most substantial risk. However, research and academic pursuits in other areas, often areas considered low-risk (for instance, communications, environmental engineering, healthcare/biological sciences), may present their own concerns.

    In particular, the following research areas and programs should be considered at increased risk for potential coverage under U.S. Export Controls:

    1.  Engineering and related applied sciences;
    2.  Aeronautical sciences and space-related efforts;
    3.  Biological sciences and bioengineering/biomedical programs involving hazardous, dangerous, or infectious chemicals, materials or organisms;
    4.  High-performance computing, advanced computer sciences, and/or cryptography efforts;
    5.  Laser-related research efforts or programs;
    6.  Advanced and/or novel materials sciences; and
    7.  Any research or programs with direct or substantial military focus, application or end-uses.

    In addition to the specific research areas listed above, any academic or research efforts or programs involving the following types of activities may be impacted by U.S. Export Controls:

    1.  Efforts or programs with direct or substantial involvement of foreign sponsors, collaborators, or visitors;
    2.  Efforts or programs involving international travel for research collaborations or field work;
    3.  Efforts or programs involving the foreign delivery of materials or equipment (goods or commodities);
    4.  Efforts or programs involving the participation of foreign persons or companies from embargoed or high-risk locations; and
    5.  Research efforts or programs which include any contractual restrictions or verbal/written assurances limiting and/or prohibiting publications or foreign national involvement without the prior approval of a sponsor, donor, collaborator, vendor, or supplier.

    As the potential impacts are substantial and sometimes hard to understand when applied to the academic or university research environment, faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the University Export Compliance Office for guidance and support of programs and efforts with substantial international components.
     
  2. What is “Fundamental Research”?

    Generally speaking, Fundamental Research, as used in the U.S. Export Control Laws and Regulations, is basic and applied research in the sciences, engineering and/or mathematics fields where the results of the research (the informational results like data or reports) are ordinarily published or shared widely within the relevant scientific community. Because Fundamental Research is intended to produce information or results which will be released to the public and therefore made available to everyone regardless of their status as a U.S. or Foreign Person/National, the information that results from Fundamental Research is generally exempt from coverage under U.S. Export Controls (typically referred to as the Fundamental Research Exclusion).

    Fundamental Research is distinguished from some University research efforts where the results of the research are restricted either for proprietary or national security reasons. Written, verbal, or any other evidence of a voluntary acceptance of a limitation on the right to publish or to involve foreign persons/nationals in the project has the effect of prohibiting a claim of Fundamental Research status. A prepublication review by a sponsor solely to ensure the publication does not compromise any patent rights and/or disclose any proprietary information of the sponsor does not constitute a limitation on publication that invalidates a claim of Fundamental Research, provided such reviews constitute only a temporary delay in the publication process.

    Most research conducted at U.S. Universities qualifies as Fundamental Research and, at Penn State, our policy is to conduct our research in a manner consistent with the definition of Fundamental Research unless specific national security concerns warrant an exception (See University Policy RA40). This allows our entire University population to work on the research projects we undertake, provided access is not required to any specifically controlled items, information, and/or services in the performance of such research. In accepting sponsorship awards, disclosures of confidential/proprietary information, or otherwise establishing collaborative research efforts, Penn State works diligently to limit the acceptance of formal or informal terms that would serve to invalidate our claim of Fundamental Research. In the event a research project must be established without the ability to claim Fundamental Research effort, the University may need to implement an internal compliance process, called a Technology Control Plan, to document our method of operating the project without intentionally or inadvertently violating any applicable U.S. Export Controls.

    The term Fundamental Research is defined in both the ITAR and the EAR, and while the definitions are largely consistent between the two regulations, the ITAR definition is more limited (limited to research at Universities in the U.S. and does not expressly cover mathematics). For more information on the definition of Fundamental Research under the ITAR or the EAR, please visit our Important Definitions Webpage.
     
  3. What is “Published” or “Public Domain” Information?

    Consistent with our rights to free speech and the press, and in view of our societal belief that information should be made available to the public for the public good, most information that has been Published or released into the Public Domain is excluded from coverage under both the ITAR and the EAR. Under both the ITAR and the EAR, information is "published" (EAR) or released into the "public domain" (ITAR) by using traditional methods of widely disseminating such information (publication, placement in libraries or other public places, presentation to open meetings/conferences, etc.). For more information on the concept of publicly releasing information and for definitions of Public Domain and Published under the ITAR or the EAR respectively, please visit our Important Definitions Webpage.
     
  4. Wait, isn't my academic research free of U.S. Export Control concerns?

    The new knowledge created by researchers at U.S. institutions of higher education is, in general, excluded from U.S. Export Controls as "fundamental research" as long as the researcher’s work has not been classified and the researcher has not accepted restrictions on publication or participation by foreign nationals. However, any pre-existing information, data or software brought into the research effort, as well as any equipment used in or developed during academic research, remain subject to any applicable export controls. There also may be restrictions and prohibitions on working with certain individuals and entities as part of the project, including those from countries subject to U.S. and U.N. embargoes. The University Export Compliance Office can provide guidance and develop strategies to help mitigate any impacts on your research program from these or other similar situational concerns.
     
  5. Are educational materials covered by U.S. Export Controls?

    Not surprisingly, Educational Materials and the information regularly provided to students in traditional instructional programs which occur in the U.S. and abroad are generally not subject to U.S. Export Controls. As a result, the participation of foreign persons/nationals in our formal educational programs is largely exempt and faculty should not be concerned that their instructional activities will result in an inadvertent violation of U.S. Export Controls when teaching catalog courses both on campus and abroad.

    However, while almost all instructional activities will be exempt from coverage under U.S. Export Controls, there are a few scenarios where faculty should seek the advice of the University Export Compliance Office to make sure that their efforts are not impacted by U.S. Export Controls.  First, faculty engaged in capstone projects or other applied research efforts as part of their instructional programs should use caution if such efforts involve the use of information, software, equipment, or materials provided by an outside party (ex. from a sponsor/donor/collaborator), as such materials may not constitute Educational Materials, information in the "public domain" or "published" information. Second, faculty should use caution if their instructional efforts could be deemed a defense service, as that term is defined in the ITAR. Of specific concern would be faculty providing instruction to non-traditional student populations, such as government/military end-user groups and/or third party corporate employees, when such instruction is in relation to specific defense articles or military end-use or end-user efforts.  Third, faculty engaged in instructional services directed to students located in countries subject to comprehensive U.S. embargoes or significant U.S. economic sanctions may also need to consider the impact of such sanctions on their efforts. It is anticipated that such exceptions to the traditional exclusion of Educational Materials and/or instructional efforts will be extremely rare and, therefore, faculty should not face any significant limitations on their educational service efforts as a result of the application of U.S. Export Controls.
     
  6. What areas are most likely to have significant export compliance risks?

    U.S. Export Controls are an extremely broad set of regulations with wide-ranging application areas. It is important for University Persons to understand that U.S. Export Controls may impact activities in areas that are not traditionally thought of as having significant export compliance risk exposure. The areas highlighted below, therefore, are not exhaustive and should not be considered the exclusive areas of concerns. However, University Persons who work in the areas below should be more vigilant given the inherent risks for export compliance concerns that may arise in these fields/activities.  

    In relation to U.S. Export Controls which are largely content/technology based (i.e. the ITAR and the EAR), the following areas of focus are more likely to have significant intersection with applicable controls:
    1.  Nuclear engineering, applied nuclear sciences, and nuclear energy related efforts;
    2.  Biological sciences, engineering and biomedical engineering/biomedical programs, specifically programs involving hazardous, dangerous, or infectious chemicals, materials or organisms;
    3.  Aeronautical and aerospace engineering, specifically development and design of novel application, materials, or flight systems;
    4.  Space-related research and associated applied sciences, specifically sensors, flight controls, and problem resolution efforts;
    5.  High-performance computing, advanced computer sciences, and encryption/cryptography efforts and programs;
    6.  Materials sciences and engineering, specifically the development, testing, and application of novel/advanced materials;
    7.  Laser and sensor engineering and development; and
    8.  Any programs or efforts with a direct or substantial military or law enforcement/physical security focus, application, or end-use.

    In relation to U.S. Export Controls which are largely sanctions based (i.e. OFAC and restricted party concerns), the following areas of focus are more likely to have significant intersection with applicable controls:
    1.  Efforts or programs with direct or substantial involvement of foreign sponsors, collaborators, or visitors;
    2.  Efforts or programs involving international travel for specific research collaborations or field work;
    3.  Efforts or programs involving the foreign delivery of materials or equipment (goods or commodities), specifically involving materials, equipment or services in high-technology fields (as outlined above); and
    4.  Efforts or programs involving the participation of foreign persons or companies from embargoed or high-risk locations.

    Finally, any specific transactions, research efforts or programs which include any contractual restrictions or verbal/written assurances limiting and/or prohibiting publications or foreign national involvement without the prior approval of a sponsor, donor, collaborator, vendor or supplier present significant concerns from an export compliance perspective. In the event of such restrictions, an analysis of the potential impact on the operational needs of the University and the affected unit is highly recommended or, in some instances (ex. situations involving sponsored research programs) required.
     
  7. How can U.S. Export Controls impact my research?

    U.S. Export Control laws and regulations can impact University research during the entire research cycle.  U.S. Export Controls can limit who researchers can work with, from whom they can receive funding, and what they can release to sponsors, collaborators, and/or the public. In fact, it is nearly impossible to summarize all of the potential impact areas in this limited space.  However, we encourage faculty and staff to be aware of the potential for U.S. Export Controls to impact University research in the following ways (non-exclusive):

    1.  By limiting research efforts with high-risk entities or countries and in research areas of significant military or national security concern;
    2.  By restricting the use of foreign nationals, unless licensed or exempt, on sensitive or controlled research efforts;
    3.  By restricting the types of materials, information, or equipment that is made available in general research labs;
    4.  By increasing faculty and staff administrative and operational responsibilities and burdens;
    5.  By increasing facility and operational costs when U.S. Export Controls are found to apply to a specific program/research area; and
    6.  By increasing complexity in the research operations of the University.

    Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek advice about the potential impacts on their research programs from the professional staff in the University Export Compliance Office. Our staff provides awareness training and conducts transactional export reviews for the entire Penn State community. To request assistance or training, please contact us at export@psu.edu
     
  8. What should I do if someone sends me something that is marked as export controlled?

    First, remember not to panic! Just because something has been marked as controlled, export controlled, or potentially subject to U.S. or International Export Laws or Regulations does not mean that the marking is correct, and, even if it is correct, there may not be any restrictions on the use/distribution of the item.

    Nevertheless, if you receive something that is marked as export controlled, please take the following actions.

    1.  Please place the item or information in a secure environment. For hard goods, materials, or equipment, putting the item in a lockable location or storage environment with limited or restricted access should suffice (e.g. placing the materials in a locked cabinet with limited key access). For information marked as controlled, please place in a user restricted location (i.e. personal drive, personal storage folder) to which unauthorized users will not have access.
    2.  Do not allow access to any other University Persons unless necessary for time-sensitive job functions.
    3.  Do not allow access to any foreign persons/nationals until otherwise approved by the University Export Compliance Officer (for foreign persons who receive controlled items/information, please document the source of materials/information and limit further sharing with foreign persons/nationals until approved).
    4.  Contact the University Export Compliance Office immediately and provide the following information: (i) the nature of the item/information received; (ii) the source or provider of the item/information; and (iii) the basis of the University need for access to such item/information. You may contact the University Export Compliance Office via email or by phone (814-867-2379).

    When the University Export Compliance Office receives a notification of the receipt of controlled items/information, an export compliance specialist will contact you for more information and to conduct a review. In the event controls are required, the export staff will work with the recipient, their unit, and support staff, to develop a management plan to limit or mitigate the export compliance risks that possession of the item/information may present.
     
  9. Who can I contact for more information or for help understanding if U.S. Export Controls are likely to impact my research efforts?

    The University has a number of resources available to help evaluate the impact of U.S. Export Controls on University research efforts. The University Export Compliance Office, a unit within the Office of Ethics and Compliance, exists to help University Persons (faculty, staff, students, etc.) understand and comply with U.S. Export Controls as they impact their University efforts, including their research and instructional efforts. The University Export Compliance Officer (UECO) and Empowered Official (EO) is the manager of University's Export Compliance and Management Program. The Office of Sponsored Programs also provides guidance to researchers on the impact of U.S. Export Controls on their research programs (including program related Grants, Contracts, Cooperative Agreements, NDAs, etc.).  

    To reach the University Export Compliance Office or the UECO, please feel free to email us or contact us by phone at 814-867-2379.

    To reach the export staff in OSP, please feel free to email the Chair, Export Compliance Committee in OSP or contact OSP by phone at 814-865-1372.

    Anonymous reports of potential export compliance violations or concerns may also be made through the University Hotline either online or by calling 1-800-560-1637.

 


FOREIGN TRAVEL

  1. What is the definition of foreign travel for export compliance purposes?

    For the purposes of reviewing and evaluating travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State, foreign travel is any trip, regardless of the starting point, with an intended international destination.  Foreign travel does not include any travel to a U.S. destination, including any travel to a U.S. territory, possession, state, or commonwealth (including Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and others). Foreign travel also does not include any trip commencing from an international location with a destination in the U.S., even if the traveler then returns to the original international starting point (round trip to the U.S.).  For convenience, it is simplest to consider this on the basis of "departure" and "destination" points. Any travel with an intended destination in a foreign location, regardless of the departure point, is considered foreign travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State.  Here are some examples to help determine whether travel is considered foreign travel for export compliance purposes.

    1.  Traveler departs State College with a destination in Fairbanks, Alaska, including a short layover in Vancouver. This travel is not foreign travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State.
    2.  Traveler drives from State College to Toronto, Canada and the flies to Munich, Germany with a matching return itinerary. This travel is foreign travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State.
    3.  Traveler departs London, U.K. and flies to State College with a matching return flight. This travel is not foreign travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State.
    4.  Traveler departs London, U.K. and flies to State College. Traveler then rents a car and drives to Toronto, Canada. This travel is foreign travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State.
    5.  Traveler departs Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with a flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico to attend a conference at Penn State expense. Traveler returns to Santo Domingo at the conclusion of the conference. This travel is not foreign travel for export compliance purposes at Penn State.
     
  2. Why do I need to have my foreign travel reviewed for export compliance purposes?

    While the majority of faculty, staff, and student travel is unlikely to be substantially impacted by U.S. export control laws and regulations, there are a number of potential reasons why international travel may surprisingly be subject to U.S. export control restrictions. To help prevent potential problems for our faculty, including problems with customs clearance and re-entry upon return to the U.S., the pre-departure export compliance review of University Affiliated international travel is now required by University Policy AD89. By asking a few simple questions of all international travelers prior to departure, the export compliance staff at Penn State can identify trips that are more likely to raise siginificant export compliance issues.  Export compliance staff can then work with travelers to mitigate any export compliance risks that might impact their travel and related academic or research efforts. It is important to understand that U.S. export control laws and regulations can impact travel to any foreign destination, even places as benign as Canada, due to concerns over individuals, companies, technologies, or potential applications of technology. For example, while it is unlikely that a faculty member traveling to the United Kingdom to examine manuscripts in the Royal Library and Royal Archives in London will be involved in activities related to controlled technologies, should that same faculty member plan to meet with a member of the known "terror" group, then U.S. sanctions laws may apply even if the faculty member is unaware of that connection.

    The goal for our office remains the facilitation and support of the University's international efforts. Our review process is designed to identify potential red flags and then follow up with the potentially impacted international travelers. In the event any red flags are identified for a specific trip, our office will work with the traveler to mitigate any potential risk to the traveler and to the University.
     
  3. What destinations or travel efforts create the greatest amount of risk from an export compliance perspective?

    Given the breadth of U.S. export control laws and regulations, it is impossible to limit our review of foreign travel to trips to certain destinations and/or in certain fields of academic or research focus. However, certain destinations and activities present greater risks. International travelers to high risk destinations or traveling for high risk purposes should be prepared to answer U.S. government and border security questions about such itineraries. Travel to the following countries is significantly restricted or potentially at high risk for government review:  Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan (especially South Sudan), and Syria. While travel to such destinations may not be expressly prohibited, the provision of any "services" and/or the transfer of any "assets" (financial transactions included) to residents of such countries may require U.S. government approval, either via specific license or specific exemptions or existing regulatory approvals (such as General Licenses). Travelers wishing to travel to one of these destinations are urged to contact the Export Compliance Office well in advance of travel (recommend at least 3-6 months if possible), as filing for and obtaining specific licenses may take an extended period of time.

    NOTICE:  Starting approximately August 31, 2017, persons traveling under a U.S. Passport will be prohibited from travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) without proir approval and issuance of a special passport validation from the U.S. State Department. This new policy is due to ongoing safety, security, and geopolitical concerns, including concerns related to the treatment of international visitors and specifically the treatment of U.S. Persons. No University Affiliated travel to North Korea is authorized unless such travel is approved in advance by all required offices, including the University Export Compliance Office, and all required U.S. government licenses and approvals are obtained.

    In addition to travel to high-risk destinations, travel for high-risk purposes may also require U.S. government approvals. Travel for research in high-tech, emerging technology fields that have potential military, physical security, and/or data security/data protection applications creates additional risk exposure. Field research involving hazardous, dangerous, or infectious materials, components, or systems also increases the risk of potential U.S. government investigations and interest. Finally, research and activities in certain sanctioned or targeted fields (e.g., oil and natural gas programs in Russia, computer security and data protection programs in China) may also present greater risks.  
     
  4. How do I have my foreign travel reviewed for export compliance purposes?

    Having your international travel evaluated for potential export compliance risks is incorporated into the Travel Safety Network (TSN) online enrollment system. The TSN is required for all University Affiliated international travel under the University International Travel Requirements Policy. To simplify processes for international travelers, our office has created an online questionnaire in the TSN to help us identify those trips which may be of concern. By answering 6 simple questions, our export compliance staff can evaluate your trip for potential red flags and follow up, if necessary, to get more information or to provide assistance in mitigation of any export compliance risks that your travel plans may generate. For the vast majority of travelers, no additional follow up beyond the completion of the 6 original questions asked in the form is necessary.

    When completing the online export compliance questionnaire in the TSN, we ask that you read the instructions and questions carefully and provide complete but concise responses. By answering the questions completely as part of the initial TSN process, you will reduce any potential delays in the processing of your TSN enrollment and limit the need for additional, time-consuming follow up inquiries.
     
  5. What is the Travel Safety Network (TSN)?

    The Travel Safety Network (TSN) is a system of offices at Penn State involved with preparing faculty, staff, and students for international travel, recording travel information, and providing assists to international travelers when needed. The TSN brings together the services of the Student Affairs Office, University Risk Management Office, Export Compliance Office, International Risk Office, and others to help Penn State international travelers conduct their travel safely and in compliance with federal regulations and University policies. Penn State travelers record their international travel information in the TSN database and additional information and services related to the planned international travel is made available within or through the TSN.
     
  6. How do I get a “receipt” (or a copy of my receipt) for enrolling my foreign travel in the TSN?

    Travelers will receive an e-mail confirmation "receipt" to retain for their records. This e-mail confirmation can be used as part of the reimbursement process to document completion of the TSN enrollment. TSN e-mail confirmations are generated weekly to travelers based on their date of travel. Based on the number of travel records received for the review period, TSN enrolled travelers should generally receive an e-mail confirmation one (1) week prior to their date of departure.

    If you need a copy of your email confirmation or you believe you failed to receive an email confirmation for a completed TSN enrollment, please contact the TSN Staff to request a copy. The TSN Staff may be reached via e-mail (tsn@psu.edu) or by phone (814-863-8788).

    Please note: While the Export Compliance Office will do everything we can to assist you with your TSN questions and enrollment, our office does not have access to the full TSN records or the TSN generated e-mail confirmations. For assistance with using the TSN or obtaining an e-mail confirmation, travelers will need to contact the TSN Staff.
     
  7. How can I get help with enrolling my travel in the TSN?

    For questions related solely to the export compliance portions of the TSN enrollment process, please feel free to contact the Export Compliance Office via e-mail (export@psu.edu) or by phone (814-867-5088).

    For assistance or questions about the TSN enrollment process, including technical assistance with completing a TSN enrollment, please contact the TSN Staff via e-mail (tsn@psu.edu) or by phone (814-863-8788).
     
  8. What if Penn State is not paying for my foreign travel?

    All University Affiliated international travel is subject to the International Travel Requirements Policy and must be enrolled in the TSN and undergo an export compliance review. University Affiliated international travel is defined in the International Travel Requirements Policy as "[a]ny travel by University employees, students or authorized volunteers to an international destination which is for educational, research, or business purposes tied to the traveler’s affiliation with the University. This includes travel by groups affiliated with the University, such as Recognized Student Organizations and travel to professional conferences/meetings even if the University travelers’ costs are paid by an outside organization."

    Travel funded and/or reimbursed by outside entities or individuals, particularly foreign parties or entities, presents additional concerns due to economic sanctions and embargoes that may apply.  International travelers are encouraged to enroll all international travel related to their ongoing University affiliations and activities. When in doubt about whether any particular international trip is University Affiliated, travelers are encouraged to treat such trips as University Affiliated for purposes of the International Travel Requirements Policy.
     
  9. What if Penn State is paying for the foreign travel of a non-Penn State person?

    For non-Penn State persons traveling internationally at Penn State expense, such travel is considered University Affiliated International Travel. As with other University Affiliated Travel, an export review is required for such travel due to potential liability that may be assessed to Penn State given our fiscal responsibility for the activities/efforts. Non-PSU travelers may enroll their travel in the TSN by contacting the TSN Staff to request access credentials for the TSN site. Alternatively, an export review of international travel by a non-PSU person may be requested by submitting a request directly to the University Export Compliance Office using our online web form which is available here.  The online web form should be used only if the non-PSU person will not be completing a TSN enrollment covering the University Affiliated International Travel.
     
  10. Can I take my Penn State laptop with me on my foreign trip?

    Best practices suggestion: If you do not need a particular technological device, it is safest to leave it home. If you do need to take your laptop, smartphone, or tablet with you abroad, we recommend that you please consider the following:
    • Make sure your device has all current security patches and software updates installed;
    • Make sure you have a current backup of all files on the device;
    • Remove any unnecessary files/content, including any sensitive or controlled content (FERPA, PII, 3rd Party IP, Export Controlled information or software, etc.);
    • Encrypt all necessary sensitive/controlled information (though encryption does present concerns in some destinations like China, France, etc.);
    • Connect to Penn State resources/files remotely through trusted network connections;
    • Use tunneled access (VPN/encrypted connections) back to Penn State resources whenever possible;
    • Do not leave your device unattended or unsecured, even in your hotel room (take it with you or, at a minimum, use the hotel safe);
    • Do not attach any third party provided or foreign sourced devices, including USB sticks, to your device; and
    • Upon return, have the device scanned for malware prior to reconnection to the Penn State network (or your home network).
       
  11. Can I take “X” (equipment, prototypes, materials, chemicals, and/or supplies) with me on my foreign trip?

    (Coming Soon)
     
  12. What is the BAG or TMP license exception for hand-carried items?

    The BAG (Baggage) and TMP (Temporary) license exemptions permit travelers to carry certain controlled items with them during their travel abroad without first having to obtain a U.S. Government export license.

    License exception BAG (Baggage) authorizes the temporary export/reexport of otherwise controlled items or technology that are personally owned by the traveler. For example, a traveler may take his/her personally owned laptop on a foreign trip to most destinations using the BAG exception. The BAG exception may not, however, cover the temporary export of controlled or restricted software, technical data, or information that is stored on the laptop. The BAG license exception applies only to personally owned items; therefore, BAG may not be used for Penn State owned resources like department provided tablets or laptops. 

    License exception TMP (Temporary) authorizes the temporary export/reexport of employer-owned items that will accompany an employee on business related travel.  Items exported using the TMP exception must return to the United States within one year of the initial departure (thus setting the timing for the temporary nature of the export). The items exported using the TMP exception must remain under the effective control of the traveler while abroad. As used in the regulations, effective control generally means keeping the TMP eligible items in the traveler's physical possession or storing them in a secured location such as a hotel safe or lockbox. The TMP exception allows travelers to travel with usual and reasonable quantities of standard tools of trade to any country, except Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. License exception TMP is available to all U.S. persons (e.g., Penn State University) and to their employees (e.g., all Penn State employees regardless of their citizenship status) and does not require any specific documentation. However, for customs clearance purposes, documentation of the TMP export status of certain items may be advisable.

    The University Export Compliance Office can assist travelers with documenting the use of these exceptions using self-certifying BAG or TMP forms as appropriate. For assistance with such documentation, please contact the University Export Compliance Office directly.

    PLEASE NOTE: Neither the BAG or the TMP license exceptions apply to any of the following types of specifically, controlled technology: high-grade encryption products; satellite or space-related equipment, components, or software; or any ITAR-controlled items.
     
  13. Who can I contact for help with my planned foreign travel?

    The University has a number of resources available to help evaluate and remediate concerns with any official University International Travel. For specific guidance regarding compliance with University policy governing International Travel, please review the new International Travel Requirements Policy. The University Export Compliance Office, a unit within the Office of Ethics and Compliance, exists to help University Persons (faculty, staff, students, etc.) understand and comply with U.S. Export Controls as they impact their official University travel. The University Export Compliance Officer (UECO) and Empowered Official (EO) is the manager of University's Export Compliance and Management Program. The University Office of Global Programs also provides guidance, direction, and assistance to University personnel on the University's approach to its global efforts, including implementation and management of the University's mandatory international travel enrollment system, the Travel Safety Network.  PLEASE NOTE: According to University Policy, all University Affiliated international travel must be enrolled in the TSN prior to departure.

    To reach the University Export Compliance Office or the UECO, please feel free to email us or contact us by phone at 814-867-2379. To reach the TSN staff in Global Programs, please feel free to email them or contact them by phone at 814-863-8788. 

    Anonymous reports of potential export compliance violations or concerns may also be made through the University Hotline either online or by calling 1-800-560-1637.

    FOREIGN SCHOLARS/VISITORS (Coming Soon)
     


    FOREIGN SHIPMENTS (Coming Soon)