General International Shipping Information
University activities that involve the transfer of project information, equipment, materials, or technology out of the U.S. by whatever means may be subject to export controls and may require export license(s) depending on the item, destination, recipient, and end-use.
The shipment of a controlled physical item from the United States to a foreign country, such as a piece of scientific equipment or a biological material, may require an export license. Be sure to secure license approval or verify license exception prior to shipment for all controlled items.
To help ensure that university faculty, staff, and students do not experience customs delays, seizure of goods, or inadvertent violation of federal export laws, the information below describes the basic requirements for international shipping and hand carry of items abroad. Incorrect shipping paperwork can lead to delays in shipments, lost time and lost opportunity. Failure to obtain an export license when required could result in fines of $250,000 to $1 Million per violation and prison time for criminal convictions. False export declarations fines are $10,000. Customs fines vary by country and can also include seizure or detention of goods.
Before shipping internationally, contact the Office of Regulatory Compliance (email@example.com) for assistance in determining whether an export license is required, securing a license when needed, and advice on what records need to be maintained in cases where the item can be shipped without a license.
Commercial Invoice Requirements
A commercial invoice is required for all exports. This may also be referred to as a pro-forma invoice. Even though you may not be selling the item you are shipping, if it is not a personally owned item, you will need a commercial invoice. A commercial invoice may be automatically generated if using FedEx online. If using Fedex by paper, a commercial invoice will need to be created and included in the package. Copies of shipping records should be maintained.
The following information must be declared on the invoices:
- The date that the invoice is created
- A unique invoice number
- The complete name and address including country of the ship from and ship to party/company (these are also known as the Exporter of Record / Shipper and the Importer of Record / Consignee)
- A complete and concise description of the goods shipping
- Example, do not indicate “Cells”-indicate the type of cells
- Example Incorrect: cells. Correct: – human liver cells
- The country of origin (manufacture) of the item
- Quantity: Accurate number of each piece shipping
- Weight listed in kilograms
- Value of Product: Unit price and Extended total price
- The total invoice amount
- The diversion statement “These commodities, technology, or software were exported from the United States in accordance with the Export Administration Regulations. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.” If your items are being exported under an ITAR export license a different diversion statement is required; consult with the export control officer.
- When no EEI is required, the following statement needs to be noted on the invoice: “No EEI required - no individual Schedule B number valued over $2,500”
A Automated Export System (AES) Electronic Export Information (EEI) must be filed for exports valued over $2500 (per HS code) or, if an export license is required, whether the item is shipped or hand carried. If an EEI is required, the AES ITN (proof of filing transaction number) must be listed on the airway bill. The export declaration EEI can be filed through a UC authorized freight forwarder or through the AES online system through the Export Control Officer.
Tools of the Trade
There is an exemption for filing in AES when exporting a Tool of the Trade for temporary export. This typically applies to items you are hand carrying. To qualify for the “tool of trade” exception, the export must:
- Be for less than one year.
- Be a piece of equipment that people in the traveler’s discipline would generally recognize as a “tool of trade.”
- Be under the traveler’s effective control. This means that the item must be kept in the traveler’s physical possession at all times, or secured in a hotel safe, a bonded warehouse, or a locked conference facility.
- The travel cannot include a sanctioned country (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria or Sudan).
Travelers should not take ANY of the following without first obtaining specific advice:
- Data or information received under an obligation of confidentiality.
- Devices, equipment or computer software received with restrictions on export to or on access by foreign nationals.
- Devices, systems or software specifically designed or modified for military or space applications (even if these items are used in an academic research setting).
For more information see When to Apply for an Electronic Export Information (EEI)
All shipping records including commercial invoice, airway bill, export filings and associated communications are required to be maintained for a period of 5 years from the date of the export. Request a copy of relevant documents from your shipper or print them when using an online application. The shipper (e.g., FedEx) will not keep copies of shipping records for you.
United States Postal Service (USPS) - Mail
It is important to take time to properly 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 the Postal Service form 2976-A Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note or the Postal Service form 2976 Customs Declaration CN 22 - Senders Declaration. 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. Click here to view the online version of the guidance.
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 an entity or individual on any Denied Party List. Contact the export control office for assistance with assistance in screening internationl recipients at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-724-0245.