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Export Compliance > Visas, Foreign Visitors & Travel

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Deemed Exports & Visas

A “deemed export” is the transfer of export controlled technology or technical data to a foreign national within the United States. Exposing a non-citizen to export controlled information is considered the same as exporting information directly to that person’s country. It can occur not only when the technology or data is shared with a foreign national, but also when U.S. person provides technical assistance on the development, production, or use of export controlled technology to a foreign national. Methods of transfer can include email, visual inspection, conversation, observation, or demonstration.


What does this mean for Vanderbilt? Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Export Compliance office (VEC) are committed to maintaining a free and open academic environment that supports and administers fundamental research. However, Federal Regulations require Vanderbilt to assess any potential export concerns, evaluate whether an export license must be obtained, and to certify to those findings prior to hiring or hosting a visitor. The Visa Deemed Export Questionnaire (VDEQ) will fulfill Vanderbilt's compliance requirement as well as help VEC determine if an export license is necessary and work with the PI/departments to develop best practices and resolve any concerns.



Keep a copy of the completed documents for five (5) years past the last date of the visit.

Foreign National Visitors

Foreign national visitors are invited to Vanderbilt from around the world to speak, collaborate and study. Before inviting a foreign national visitor (e.g., student, faculty, colleague, business), it is important to determine if an export license is needed. Vanderbilt needs to review t he following considerations:

  1. Is the visitor from a sanctioned country?
  2. Is the individual, their associated organization, or the funding source listed on the Denied Parties List (DPL)?
  3. Will the visitor be exposed to any technology or information that is restricted or proprietary in nature?

Use the Foreign National Visitor Form to assist with export compliance analysis and denied parties screening. Email the completed document to vec@vanderbilt.edu no less than 10 business days prior to the foreign national’s visit.


Keep a copy of the completed documents for five (5) years past the last date of the visit.

Foreign Visitor Best Practices

  • Advise, in advance, all areas and individuals affected by this visitor to ensure information, items, area, etc. are secured appropriately. Some situations may require a license from the federal government before a visitor may see a lab, research results, etc.
  • For immigration assistance contact Global Support Services (GSS). A Business Visitor Questionnaire may be necessary. Contact GSS on their website or via email at gss@vanderbilt.edu.
  • For international tax assistance contact the International Tax Office (ITO). ITO will provide a questionnaire for the visitor to complete. Please allow sufficient time for processing.Click hereto view the questionnaire or you may contact ITO at ito@vanderbilt.edu.

International Travel

When you travel abroad everything you take with you is considered an export, and depending where you go and who you interact with, it may be restricted. This applies not only to tangible items (scientific equipment, laptops, phones, smart devices, flash drives) but also to intangible items (software, research data, encryption code).


Perform a Restricted Parties Screening on potential collaborators and associated entities with which you plan to encounter. Alternatively, contact VEC to assist in a restricted parties screening.


Any travel to an embargoed country must be reviewed in advance by VEC. OFAC sanctions prohibit the transfer of assets (any value) and other transactions of embargoed countries. The countries with most comprehensive sanctions and embargoes are North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Cuba. Check the Department of Treasury for the full list of current sanctions.


If you are taking Vanderbilt-owned property, some items may be temporarily exported as a “tool of the trade” under the Temporary Export Exception (TMP).

This exemption applies when these conditions are met:

  1. The item will be used to conduct Vanderbilt University business.
  2. The item will remain under the “effective control” of Vanderbilt personnel while abroad (physical possession or maintaining in a secure environment).
  3. The item will return to Vanderbilt within 1 year of departure or be destroyed.
Common Travel Items
Item ECCN
Dell Laptop 4A994
Mac Laptop 5A992
iPhone & iPad 5A992
Android Cell Phone/Tablet 5A992
Flash Drives (most) EAR99
Garmin GPS 7A994
GoPro Camera EAR99
Bitlocker Encryption 5D992
Commercially available basic software (Microsoft Office) EAR99

The TMP exemption is not valid for travel to the following countries:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syria


Travelers are free to take and openly discuss any data or information that is published, in the public domain, is normally taught as part of a class or that resulted from Fundamental Research. However, you cannot take or share data or information that is in any way export-restricted, such as information about export-controlled technologies, proprietary information, or the results of a project not protected under the Fundamental Research Exclusion. Sharing these types of information may constitute an unauthorized export.


Please complete the International Travel Questionnaire to assist with export compliance analysis and denied parties screening. If you are taking Vanderbilt property out of the country, please fill the Temporary Export Certification. Email the completed form to vec@vanderbilt.edu no less than 10 business days prior to departure.


Keep a copy of the completed documents for five (5) years past the last date of the visit.

General International Travel Best Practices

If you do not need it, do not take it with you!

Do…

  • Take a loaner laptop or burner cell phone
    • Utilize Virtual Private Network
    • Use password systems and personal firewalls
    • Disable Bluetooth 
  • Maintain “effective control” of your devices
  • Protect your research; back up your data

Don’t…

  • Assume Wi-Fi is secure
  • Use internet cafes and untrusted networks
  • Travel with or access any controlled or restricted data

It is illegal for U.S. persons to bribe a foreign official. Review the federal  Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)  anti-bribery provisions. 

 

You are responsible for securing information that is on your device, both personal and university owned. Once outside the U.S. you do NOT have privacy. Your property may be seized and searched without probable cause.

 

Keep export compliance documents and search results for 5 years past the last date of travel activity.

 

Other Travel Resources

Vanderbilt Concur Solutions

Global Education Office

International Student & Scholar Services

Department of State International Travel Alerts and Warnings

Embargoed Countries Best Practices

Going to an embargoed or risky export country?

The Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) broadly regulates and restricts transactions with embargoed countries including certain academic collaborations and exchange of research materials and equipment. The most comprehensive controls apply to: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, and Syria. The regulations are country/region specific.

 

For more information on a specific country:


China

Travel to China is not prohibited and it is not a sanctioned country. However, cyber security is a large concern. U.S. travelers are believed to be priority targets for cyber-attack, particularly if they are known to be engaged in classified or proprietary research in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline. Devices taken across international borders may be subject to involuntary official governmental review and even complete duplication.

 

In addition, China does not allow the import/export of encrypted devices per the State Council Directive No. 273, Regulations on the Administration of Commercial Encryption. This regulation banned foreign encryption products, deemed all commercial encryption standards a state secret, and required that commercial encryption products only be produced and sold by units designated by the relevant government authorities: The State Encryption Management Bureau and the Office of State Commercial Cryptography Administration. The rules also required that the strength of encryption systems not surpass a level set by the state regulator.


General Don'ts Regarding China

  • Do not use your regular email account. Do not send any sensitive messages via email.

  • Avoid making or receiving voice calls, using voice mail, using IM or SMS, or sending or receiving faxes.

  • Do not use USB-based public battery charging stations; the USB interface to your device they may allow the charging station to do more than just provide power.

  • Do not purchase new hardware while traveling; Do not purchase or download any new software while traveling.

  • Do not have any of your electronic devices “repaired” or “worked-on” while abroad.

If arrested, taken into custody, or interrogated, do not make any statements or sign any documents, particularly if they are written in a language you don’t know. Ask to have the U.S. Embassy or Consulate notified of your detention at once.

 

If you are considering travel to China, contact Vanderbilt Export Control as soon as possible to get an export control review of your plans and the types of items you would like to take so we can determine if any licenses would be required.

Cuba

Travel to Cuba is a hot topic in the news. On June 16, 2017 it was announced that travel to Cuba is still prohibited under most circumstances by U.S. State Department regulations. There are 12 categories under which travel from the U.S. to Cuba is still permitted:

  • Educational activities for credit towards a degree
  • Educational activities not for credit towards a degree when organized by a US entity and accompanied by an employee or agent of that entity
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Public performances, workshops, clinics, competitions, and exhibitions
  • Journalism
  • Teaching

 The ban on tourism remains in place.  Travelers must maintain a full time schedule of activities related to an authorized travel category and must maintain records of their activities (itinerary, receipts, etc.).   Expect increased scrutiny at the US border when traveling to or from Cuba.

Travelers will also be prohibited from engaging in travel-related transactions with entities owned or controlled by Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA).  The US State Department will be issuing a list of GAESA entities, which may include hotels, restaurants, and various service providers a traveler may encounter.

 It is very important that you check with OFAC to ensure that your conference or business purpose qualifies under the general license and/or a specific license. In addition, it is very important to note that while you may be authorized under the general license to travel to Cuba, certain goods and/or the provision of services are prohibited. Note: Shipping or hand-carrying any items (and certain technology or software) to Cuba remains subject to strict export control restrictions. Cuban FAQs.

If you are considering travel to Cuba, contact Vanderbilt Export Control as soon as possible to get an export control review of your plans and the types of items you would like to take so we can determine if any licenses would be required.

Here is a link to the OFAC summary information on travel restrictions to Cuba along with information on who to contact if you have questions or need additional information.

Iran

Travel to Iran is not prohibited.  However, prohibited transactions include exportation, re-exportation, sale or supply of goods, technology, or services to Iran.  “Services” is broadly construed to mean providing anything of value, even if no money is exchanged.

Examples might be:

  • Providing technical assistance to an Iranian national in Iran or an Iranian institution

  • Providing unpublished data or research results to a person or institution in Iran

  • Teaching or lecturing as a guest of an institution in Iran

  • Conducting surveys and interviews inside Iran

OFAC publishes country-specific guidance on regulatory interpretation, but such guidance is not comprehensive. The Iranian Sanctions are updated frequently through publications to the Federal Register. If you are contemplating a collaboration with or research in Iran there may be licensing requirements. Licensing for Iran will take months to obtain approval and shipments or research timelines may be impacted.


General Don'ts regarding Iran: 

  • Provide technical assistance or analysis to Iranian nationals that reside in Iran or to Iranian institutions that would constitute a “service” without an OFAC license.

  • Travel to Iran and bring anything other than personal belongings (note that if personal belongings include a controlled item, the item would still require a license) or equipment covered by an OFAC license. University owned equipment or material may require a specific export license.

  • Import from Iran or Export to Iran (apart from personal items you bring for personal use during travel) anything outside of informational materials or humanitarian donations without an OFAC license.

  • Transfer funds to Iranian financial institution or to an individual or entity on one of the government restricted party lists.

If you are considering travel to Iran, contact Vanderbilt Export Control as soon as possible to get an export control review of your plans and the types of items you would like to take so we can determine if any licenses would be required.

North Korea

Travel to North Korea is generally not prohibited but if you plan to travel to North Korea, it is strongly recommended to consult the U.S. Department of State travel web page regarding such travel.


General Don’ts regarding North Korea:

  • U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings involving persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to North Korea-related authorities.

  • Although OFAC does not prohibit exports to North Korea per se, exports of goods and services to North Korea are generally subject to export controls administered by other agencies, including the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). A license is required for the export or re-export to North Korea of almost all items (all items subject to the EAR other than food or medicines designated as EAR99).

Here is a link to the OFAC summary information on the North Korea sanctions program. If you are planning to travel to North Korea, you must consult the University’s Export Control Officer to determine if any licenses would be required.

Russia

Travel to the Russian Federation is not prohibited, but the current status of Crimea prevents official Americans from traveling to that area.

General Licenses may be issued for the following transactions:

  • The exportation or reexportation of certain agricultural commodities, medicine, medical supplies, and replacement parts from the United States or by a U.S. person, wherever located, to the Crimea region of Ukraine;

  • Noncommercial, personal remittances by U.S. persons to or from the Crimea region of Ukraine, or for or on behalf of a person ordinarily resident in the Crimea region of Ukraine;

  • The operation of certain accounts in a U.S. financial institution for an individual ordinarily resident in the Crimea region of Ukraine;

  • Certain transactions with respect to the receipt and transmission of telecommunications and mail involving the Crimea region of Ukraine; and

  • The exportation or reexportation of certain services and software from the United States or by a U.S. person, wherever located, to the Crimea region of Ukraine.

 

In considering cyber security, U.S. travelers are believed to be priority targets for cyber-attack as well as monitoring/surveillance, particularly if they are known to be engaged in classified or proprietary research in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline. Devices taken across international borders may be subject to involuntary official governmental review and even complete duplication.

 

In addition, Russia does not allow the importation/exportation of encrypted devices. Russia also requires advance approval to bring in satellite telephones. Global Positioning System (GPS) and other radio electronic devices, and their use, are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia.

 

A note on the North Caucasus Region:

Civil and political unrest continues throughout the North Caucasus region including Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. Local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. Do not travel to Chechnya or any other areas in the North Caucasus region. If you find yourself residing in these areas depart immediately.

General Don'ts regarding Russia: 

  • Transfer, pay, export, withdraw, or otherwise deal in the property or interests in property of an entity or individual listed on OFAC’s SDN List

  • Directive 4 prohibits providing, exporting, or reexporting, directly or indirectly, goods, services (except for financial services), or technology in support of exploration or production for deep-water, Arctic offshore, or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil in the Russian Federation, or in maritime area claimed by the Russian Federation and extending from its territory, and that involve any person subject to Directive 4, its property, or its interests in property.

  • Importation/exportation, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the Crimea region of Ukraine is prohibited.

Sudan

Travel to Sudan is not prohibited. However, many transactions, including the provision of certain services, is prohibited or requires a license.

The following transactions are allowed under a General License:

  • donations of articles intended to relieve human suffering, such as food, clothing, and medicine;

  • the importation from and exportation to Sudan of information and informational materials whether commercial or otherwise, regardless of format or medium of transmission;

  • certain academic and professional exchanges with Sudan.

General Don'ts regarding Sudan:

  • The importation to and exportation from the U.S. of goods and services is generally prohibited. Specifically, the following is prohibited:
    • The importation of goods and services of Sudanese origin;

    • The exportation and re-exportation to Sudan of goods, technology, or services from the U.S. or by a U.S. person;

    • The performance by a U.S. person of any contract in support of an industrial, commercial, public utility, or governmental project in Sudan

Note that on July 9, 2011, Southern Sudan gained its independence, becoming the new Republic of South Sudan, and was formally recognized by the United States Government. As of July 9, 2011, therefore, the Republic of South Sudan is no longer subject to the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations

Here is a link to the OFAC summary information on the Sudan sanctions program. If you are planning to travel to/research in Sudan, you must consult the University’s Export Control Officer to determine if any licenses would be required.

Syria

Travel to Syria is generally allowed although not advised. If you are planning to travel to Syria, please consult the U.S. Department of State website.


General Don’ts regarding Syria:

  • You cannot directly or indirectly export, re-export, sell or supply any services to Syria with the exception of exports and re-exports of services in support of humanitarian and other not-for-profit activities in Syria by U.S. and third-country non-governmental organizations.

Here is a link to the OFAC summary information on the Syria sanctions program. If you are planning to travel to/research in Syria, you must consult the University’s Export Control Officer to determine if any licenses would be required.

SPA > Export Compliance > Visa, Foreign Visitors & Travel

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