8.3 Export Licenses for Overseas Shipments

Describes documentation requirements; identifies resources for export control determinations including export license exceptions, exclusions and “No License Required” (NLR) assessments.


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Eisner, Steve

Director of Export Compliance and University Export Control Officer

Vice Provost and Dean of Research

(650) 724-7072

1. Export Licenses for Overseas Shipments

The Commerce Department has export jurisdiction over all goods and all "technology" (Commerce Department term for information) in the United States, unless some other agency has expressly been given such authority. However, this does not mean that a license must be obtained before any item or piece of information can be shipped. An Export Control Decision Tree is available to assist in determining the applicability of export control regulations in the case of shipments of tangible items or transfers or transmission of software code or information outside US borders.

In order to determine whether it is necessary to obtain an export license from the relevant federal agency to send tangible items or to transfer or transmit software code or information outside the United States, the researcher preparing the shipment or transfer needs to consider:

  • whether the software code or information is proprietary or disclosure-restricted and thus possibly export controlled, or whether it resulted from fundamental research to which export controls do not apply
  • the description of the tangible item, software or information
  • the technical characteristics and specifications of the item, software or information
  • its intended end-use and end-user
  • its destination

All tangible items, software code and information not on a US export control list may be shipped or transmitted to any country, individual or entity that is not sanctioned, embargoed or otherwise restricted for export. Such items, code and information may be exported under "No License Required" (NLR) provisions.

Certain overseas shipments or transmissions being handled on a "No License Required" basis will require an explanation and justification for that classification. Stanford NLR Certification templates for such justifications are available, and the original Stanford Certification should be provided to the office of the Dean of Research; see RPH: Recordkeeping Requirements for information about recordkeeping.

Stanford's preferred export freight forwarder for more complex or sensitive international shipments, or for those shipments for which Stanford personnel would like individualized attention, is Tigers Global Logistics in Hayward, CA. Tigers' Export Manager may be contacted for assistance or to arrange for pickup at (510) 784-8920 ex. 2601. Tigers also serves as an import customs broker on Stanford's behalf and can assist in customs clearance for items purchased through Stanford's Purchasing Department (contact Patricia Moss by email or at 723-9000). Tigers' Import Manager can be reached at (510) 784-8920 ex. 2611.

Note also that specific training and documentation is needed whenever you are shipping chemicals, biologicals, or other dangerous materials. See Environmental Health & Safety website for more information.

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