Skip to main content

International Shipping

Do you need to ship or hand-carry an item out of the US other than personal belongings?

Please read this section and seek additional assistance if you have any questions! [shortcut: International Shipping Review form]

  • Sending any item in the US to a foreign location, even if hand-carrying with luggage, is an “export” by US law.
  • The US Department of Commerce and US Department of State govern the export of all items in the US, even if they originated from a foreign location but are currently in the US). 
  • Some items require an export license to send to a foreign location.  It depends on what the item is and where it is going. 
  • Developmental technologies from research can be controlled even before commercialization.
  • Some items require additional paperwork and reporting even if an export license is not required. 

The UMD Export Compliance Office can help navigate these special requirements but it is the responsibility of the shipper to make sure it is done correctly and to keep any required records.

The following guidelines are to help faculty and staff understand when special requirements may apply to an international shipment.

Export License Likely Required (contact ECO for assistance!):

  • Shipping any item to an entity or location with sanctions: US Department of Treasury maintains a list of countries with special prohibitions. 
  • Shipping any item to a location on the BIS entity list, which includes some universities.
  • Shipping military technologies to any foreign location.  The US Munitions List of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) contains 20 categories of controlled technologies.  In addition to weapon technologies, this can include items used or developed in research including electronics, sensors, high-energy lasers, surveillance, navigation, and aircraft.  If your item has a potential military application, complete the International Shipping Review form ASAP.  Unauthorized exports may be a violation of federal regulations.
  • Shipping dual-use technologies, those with both civilian and military applications,  including biological pathogens.  The Commerce Control List of the Export Administration Regulations controls commercial items with potential military uses .  Many emerging technologies or disruptive cutting-edge technologies have high levels of control and require a license to foreign locations.  Biological pathogens and genetic elements can also have high levels of control and require a license to ship to foreign locations.  If your item may be dual-use, complete the International Shipping Review form ASAP.  Unauthorized exports may be a violation of federal regulations.

If any of these conditions might apply, please use this form: International Shipping Review form.

Required paperwork for international shipments:  

The department shipping the itemis responsible for creating or obtaining the required paperwork and retaining records for a minimum of 5 years.

  • Minimum Required Forms for aAll exports
    • Customs Invoice (AKA “Commercial Invoice” or “Pro Forma Invoice”): this is a complete description of the parties and items being shipped.  Contact for a sample template.
    • Bill of Lading: this is the receipt provided by the shipping company when the goods are picked up.
    • Packing List: a description of the contents and weight of each box.
  • When items are valued at $2,500 or greater:
    • AES Filing:  This can be done by the shipper or freight forwarder (contact with questions).
    • For high-value shipments, we strongly recommend that you work with a freight forwarder and customs broker for assistance with inbound and outbound customs clearances, taxes, duties, tariffs, etc.
  • Shipments requiring an export license (the ECO should be involved):
    • AES Filing is required regardless of value.
    • Shipper’s Export Declaration/Letter of Instruction: contact
  • Shipments involving hazardous items, animals, or other biological specimens:
    • Contact for assistance or referral to the appropriate specialist in ESSR.

REMINDER: All shipping records must be maintained for 5 years!  This is the responsibility of the department/unit and individual shipping.  The ECO will keep records for items shipped under an export license.


Export Compliance Office: for International Shipping Review

Transportation & Distribution: Doug Waterman;

Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk:

Freight forwarder: Contact for a list of current freight forwarders authorized to ship on behalf of UMD.

Export license review form:The Export Compliance Office can help determine if an Export License is required for an international shipment or exchange of data with a foreign national.  Please fill out the basic information or contact if you have questions.


Back to Top