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Shipments & Exports

International shipping of items is perhaps the most traditional contemplation of an export. Physical items shipped abroad may require an export license and are not eligible for the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE). 

Before each shipment, it is important to consider:

What are you shipping and is it export controlled?

Where is the item going?

Who is the end-user and what is the intended end-use?

By completing an  International Shipments Form, VEC can help determine export licensing requirements for your shipment. (This form is an export review only and not a shipping service.) Allow a minimum of 5 business days processing prior to your anticipated shipping date. If you have reason to believe your item may be controlled, communicate with VEC early to allow adequate time.

For an additional resource, please see the Foreign Shipments Flyer.


 What are you shipping and is it export controlled?

Most all items and technologies are controlled to some degree. The degree of control varies per item and in order to determine that degree, it is important to know the classification. If you do not know the classification of your item, the most reliable source is to contact the manufacturer or sponsor and ask for the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) or ITAR Category. If you need additional help, contact to assist with a self-classification. Just because it is not labeled does not mean it is not controlled. Just because you bought it commercially does not mean it is not controlled.

Some examples of controlled technologies are listed here. Keep in mind, in general, while almost every item located within the U.S. is subject to export, most do not require an export license.

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 Where is the item going?

Once you determine your item's classification you can determine where it is controlled or restricted to.

Certain destinations are comprehensively sanctioned and virtually all interactions are prohibited without an authorized export license from the U.S. Government. These countries are:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syria

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 Who is the end-user and what is the intended end-use?

It is important to consider who is receiving the item (and their associated entity). Some companies and individuals are denied or blocked parties and we are prohibited from doing business with them without a license. Always perform a Restricted Parties Screening (RPS) on the recipient, or end-user, and their associated entity to ensure they are not on one of the government maintained lists. You can perform a restricted parties screening by completing a Restricted Parties Screening Request or searching on

In addition, consider what recipient is going to do with the item. Any end-use (ultimate purpose) that has a military or space application or any end-use that is contrary to national security requires extra review.

Special note: The U.S. Government restricts the shipping of bacteria, fungi, toxins, or viruses. For a list of controlled biological agents see the Restricted Biological Agents guide and for a list of controlled chemicals see the Controlled Chemicals guide.

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Other Shipping Resources

Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization, CTTC (MTAs)

Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety, VEHS (biological agents, chemicals, toxins, etc.)


Shipping Vendors



FedEx is Vanderbilt's approved international carrier. Please see the Vanderbilt Finance Gold Guide for updated vendor representative contact information.

It is important to note that there may be duties and fees associated with a foreign shipment and it may take several business days to secure the proper information. Please schedule and budget accordingly.

For more guidance on how to ship internationally with FedEx, refer to FedEx About EEI or contact FedEx customer service at 800-247-4747.


V. Alexander

If the shipment requires the expertise of customs broker, V. Alexander is Vanderbilt's approved vendor. Please see the Vanderbilt Finance Gold Guide for updated vendor representative contact information

For more guidance on how to ship internationally with V. Alexander, refer to their website or contanct the vendor representative


United States Postal Service

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) also requires that export controlled items shipped to an entity (company, organization, university, contact, etc.) in the US be reviewed prior to shipment to ensure they are not being exported to an entity on the Denied Persons Lists (DPL).

It is important to take time to prepare a letter or a package that will be mailed to a foreign country. When mailing to a foreign country exporters may be asked to complete:

For more information on sending items or information internationally, please visit USPS webpage International Mail Delivery Services. In addition, the USPS Publication 613 "Shipping International Packages" is available at USPS locations as a resource. To contact a Vanderbilt Post Office please click here.

Some international mail shipments may not require a specific form. However, the individual mailing the letter or package is still responsible to ensure compliance with export control laws and regulations.

In addition, all international mail exports should be reviewed prior to shipment to ensure they are not being exported to a denied or restricted entity or individual.


SPA > Export Compliance > Imports & Shipments