International Shipments and Recordkeeping Requirements

Mason personnel who ship items abroad must ensure those shipments comply with U.S. export control laws. U.S. export regulations apply to software, raw material, technology, or items purchased or created in connection with research projects – even fundamental research projects. The regulations also apply to temporary exports, exports of items for repair or replacement, and hand-carried items.

The Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) can help you determine whether an export license from the U.S. Government is required or can help document the use of an approved license exception.  Even if you plan to use a freight forwarder or shipping company, contact our office so that we can ensure that full and accurate records of the shipment are retained.  University personnel who chose to export items without consulting ORIA may be held personally liable by the U.S. Government for violating the export compliance regulations.

For assistance, complete and submit the one-page fillable International Shipping Consultation Form:

We encourage you to speak with us concerning your project well in advance of making shipments overseas.

ORIA will review the International Shipping Consultation Form, perform restricted party screening to ensure that Mason is not shipping items to any prohibited parties, will apply for an export license, if needed, and will prepare and submit any electronic forms required by the U.S. Government for shipment.

Please note that ORIA is not a shipping department – you will need to coordinate with your department concerning freight forwarder matters, packing and actual shipment, and obtaining carnets. In some cases, engaging a customs broker may be advisable.  Contact the Purchasing Office to find a customs broker with an existing account with Mason.

U.S. export laws require that exporters retain records of all international shipments.  It is important that you keep copies of documentation related to all exports:

  • Invoices
  • Shippers export declarations
  • Air waybills
  • Shippers Letter of Instruction
  • Purchase Orders
  • Delivery Receipts
  • Emails describing the need for the export
  • Documents related to the export classification number of the items to be shipped
  • Other miscellaneous documents related to the shipment

Keep these records for five (5) years from the date of export.  If the U.S. Government requests our export records, we must be able to produce the documents in a timely manner or risk fines and penalties.  Make sure the documents are kept in a centralized location so that they are easy to retrieve.

Questions?  Contact for more information.