Export Control: Licensing

Determining Whether an Export License is Required

The Export Control Office can assist you in determining whether a specific license is required, will secure a license when needed, and can advise you on what records need to be maintained, even when a license is not required. UC Berkeley faculty and staff should contact the Export Control Office to ensure that they do not violate the export regulations and become personally liable for the substantial civil and criminal penalties.

Determining if a Commodity is Controlled

In order to determine whether it is necessary to obtain an export license from the relevant federal agency to send tangible items outside the United States or share technical data to a foreign national abroad or in the U.S., consider the following:

  • What is the item or technology?
  • What is the end use of the item?
  • Who is the recipient and are they on a restricted list?
  • What is the destination country?

U.S. export regulations may require an export license or license exception based on the item classification (including technical data), destination, and end user.

There are U.S.-specific classifications based on technical listings in export regulations. The export classification can be either an ECCN(Export Control Classification Number alphanumeric code) under the EAR or in an ITAR Category (Roman numeral) on the U.S. Munitions List.

If you are unsure of the classification, the first step is to go to the source. Ask the manufacturer, producer or developer of the item. If the item has been exported in the past, they may know the ECCN, what countries require a license, and whether a license exception may be used.


For commodities controlled under U.S. Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations (EAR), whether a license is required depends upon the country to which the item is being shipped or the citizenship of the recipient of technical information (deemed export). Even in cases where license approval is not required, there are administrative requirements and records that must be maintained regarding exports of EAR-controlled items or information.

EAR99 Designation

Most items are designated “EAR99” and are not restricted by U.S. export control.

  • Items and equipment used to conduct fundamental research, or which are the result of fundamental research, going to a country that is not on any list of prohibited destinations, for use in that country in furtherance of fundamental research, ordinarily will qualify for “No License Required” (NLR) treatment under the Commerce Department regulations (EAR 99). Please contact the Export Control Officer to confirm your item is EAR99.

See the EAR section on the Lists of Controlled Technologies to determine if the information or technology is controlled under EAR.


If a commodity is controlled under U.S. Department of State International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), then a license is always required before it can be shipped to any country outside the U.S. or shared with a a foreign national abroad or in the U.S., except in limited circumstances such as shipment to a military base overseas. Licenses are also required to import such items. The UC Office of the President handles such licenses, working the campus Export Control Officer.

In most cases, the university is not fabricating or shipping ITAR controlled items, since these are generally items specifically designed for military purposes. See the ITAR section on the Lists of Controlled Technologies.

Securing a License

Contact the Export Control Office for assistance in determining whether a specific license is required. The Export Control Office will secure a license when needed. The Export Control Office can also review and advise on available license exceptions.

Government Processing Time

The processing time for a license application and supporting documents depends on where the exported material is going. You should allow a minimum of 8 to 12 weeks to process your application. Delays of three to six months are not uncommon for obtaining licenses for countries listed on the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List which may require review by more agencies and a longer processing time.