BIS might require an export license based on several factors specific to a mailer’s transaction: the nature and use of the item (commodity, software, or technology) being exported, its destination, the consignee, and the end user. Exports to certain countries are more heavily restricted than others. For example, BIS maintains comprehensive controls against certain countries and regions (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine). For additional information on requirements for shipping to these countries and regions, see Publication 699.
Any item that is sent from the United States to a foreign destination is an export. “Items” include commodities, software, and technology. For example, clothing, building materials, circuit boards, automotive parts, blueprints, design plans, retail software packages, and technical information are “items” that may be subject to export control.
In determining export license requirements, it does not matter how an item is transported outside the United States. For example, an item can be sent by regular mail or hand-carried on an airplane; a set of schematics can be sent via facsimile to a foreign destination, software can be uploaded to or downloaded from an Internet site, or technology can be transmitted via e–mail or during a telephone conversation. Regardless of the method used for the transfer, the transaction is considered an “export” for export control purposes. An item is also considered an export even if it is leaving the United States only temporarily, if it is leaving the United States but is not for sale (e.g., a gift), or if it is being mailed to a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary in a foreign country. Finally, under the EAR, release of technology or source code subject to the EAR to a foreign national in the United States is “deemed” to be an export to the home country of the foreign national.
A relatively small percentage of U.S. exports require an export license from BIS. License requirements are dependent upon an item’s technical characteristics, destination, recipients, and end use. The value of the shipment does not affect the export license requirements. It is the mailer’s responsibility to determine if an export requires a license under the EAR. For further assistance about whether an export license might be required, visit export.gov/article?id=Regulation or bis.doc.gov/index.php/licensing, or call 202–482–4811.
Additional information concerning export licenses is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce as follows:
- Mailers located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming should contact either of the following offices:
- Mailers in all other locations should contact the following office:
Office of Exporter Services
Outreach and Exporter Services Division
US Department of Commerce
14th St & Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20230-0001