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Definitions and Frequently Asked Questions




Deemed Export

The release or transmission of information or technology subject to export control restrictions to any foreign national in the U.S. The federal government deems such a release of information to be an export to the foreign national’s home country, thus the term “deemed export.”

Department of Energy (DOE)

The Department of Energy’s regulations likewise govern certain nuclear and nuclear-related technology and materials as well as other “sensitive” items and subjects.


In export control regulations, there are several meanings which include any of the following: 1) actual shipment of any covered goods or items; 2) the electronic or digital transmission of any covered goods, items or related goods or items; 3) any release or disclosure, including verbal disclosures or visual inspections, of any technology, software or technical data to any foreign national; or 4) actual use or application of covered technology on behalf of or for the benefit of any foreign entity or person anywhere.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

The Commerce Department’s Export Administration Regulations govern “dual-use” items. These are items having both civilian and military or defense applications.

Export Control Laws

The set of laws, policies, and regulations that govern the export of controlled items to an individual, entity or country.  Export controls consist of a series of regulatory frameworks overseen by various U.S. Federal agencies.

Export License

A written authorization provided by a governing regulatory authority having jurisdiction detailing the specific terms and conditions under which export or re-export of export-controlled items is allowed.

Foreign National

An individual who (1) is not a U.S. citizen, or (2) who is not a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., or (3) who does not have refugee or asylum status in the U.S.

Fundamental Research

Basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which are ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community. Information that results from Fundamental Research is not subject to export control restrictions under the Fundamental Research Exemption.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

The Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations govern defense articles and activities, as well as all space launch related items and activities.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission governs exports of certain nuclear equipment and materials.

Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC)

The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls governs exports and other transactions with economically embargoed countries and parties as well as those designated as sponsoring terrorism.

Public Domain

Information that is published and that is generally accessible or available to the public.


A re-export occurs whenever any item (i.e., commodity, software, technology, equipment or information) is sent from one foreign country to another foreign country.

Restricted Parties List(s)

Prohibited/restricted individuals, entities and countries listed by the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury and other Federal agencies.

U.S. Person

A U.S. citizen, permanent U.S. resident alien, or protected individual, wherever that person is located. U.S. incorporated, organized firms and their foreign branches are also considered “U.S. Person(s).”



Are these Regulations in any way connected to the recent Executive Orders affecting U.S. immigration?

No: Villanova has been working to strengthen it’s export compliance program for some time. Villanova is currently enhancing the  export control compliance program on several key fronts, including process improvements, awareness training, and additional guidance to be made available through web resources. These web-based materials will further outline University processes and provide essential export information to the community.

What are Export Controls?

Export Controls refer to the U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the export of materials, data, technical information, services, and financial transactions to foreign countries based on U.S. security interests. These regulations include ITAR, EAR, and OFAC regulations amongst others.

Why are certain exports controlled?

   National Security

   Nonproliferation of Chemical and Biological Weapons

   Nuclear Nonproliferation

   Control Access to Missile Technology


   Crime Control

   Limit Access to High-Performance Computing

   Regional Stability

   U.N. Sanctions

How does the EAR work?  

Under the EAR, items and technologies are assigned an ECCN or Export Control Classification Number. This number is a 5-digit alphanumeric code that identifies the item and technology. Export controls depend on the item classification and the export destination (or home country in the event of a deemed export to a foreign national). In the case of a controlled export, it may be necessary to apply to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for an export license.

What is the expected timeline for obtaining an export license?

Obtaining a license can take days, weeks or months depending on the agency involved and the details of the export.  Licenses/applications can undergo multiple U.S. interagency reviews including but not limited to the Departments of Defense, National Security Agency, and the FBI. The University has no control over which U.S. government agencies review the license or how long the review process may take. If you do not know if the item or information you want to export is subject to export controls consult with ORA/OGC/UCO before proceeding. Should a license be necessary, these offices will work with you to prepare the application.

What are “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDNs) and restricted parties?

SDNs are nations, entities and individuals that are the subject of economic and trade sanctions under the OFAC. Restricted parties are those persons, nations and entities to whom exports are restricted; they may be specially designated nationals, but also include individuals and entities that have been debarred by the Department of State or restricted by the Department of Commerce because of previous violation of the regulations. It is important to note that OFAC sanctions severely limit financial transactions as well as actual exports.  This includes paying to and accepting payments from sanctioned locations and individuals.  Most often, these financial transactions will require a license.

How can I check for SDNs and restricted parties?

Villanova utilizes Visual Compliance to conduct  restricted party screening. The service sends out notifications if previously screened individuals or entities become SDNs or restricted at any time. Please contact the following offices for assistance regarding checking SDNs and restricted parties:

If Research: Office of Research Administration

For General Guidance: The Offices of General Counsel or University Compliance

What is the “Fundamental Research Exemption”?

Fundamental Research is defined by the National Security Decision Directive 189 (NSDD189) “as basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons." In order to qualify as Fundamental Research, the research must be conducted free of any publication restrictions and without any access or dissemination restrictions. Research that qualifies as Fundamental Research is NOT subject to export controls as provided for under the federal regulations (15 CFR§734.8(3)(c)) (22§CFR 120.11(a)(8)). It is critical to note that the Fundamental Research Exemption will be lost if a researcher agrees to any “side-deals” allowing sponsors the ability to review and approve publications or to control access to the project or project results. Loss of the Fundamental Research Exemption can quickly put your research in jeopardy of non-compliance with export controls.

How do export control regulations affect foreign students?

In addition to actual shipment of a commodity out of the country, the export regulations also control the transfer, release, or disclosure of technical data about controlled commodities to foreign persons in the United States. The “deemed export” regulation states that transfer of source code, technology, or technical data to a foreign person is “deemed” an export to the home country of the foreign person.

Teaching faculty, research supervisors, and principal investigators who educate or supervise foreign national students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff must convey to them only that information or technology which qualifies as “fundamental research” and/or is in the public domain. Where interactions with foreign nationals in the United States could involve verbal, written, electronic, and/or visual disclosures of certain controlled scientific and technical information, an export control license may be required.

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