International Shipping

Before Shipping

The University does not have a centralized shipping center for international or domestic shipments, but regulatory requirements may apply depending on the item, destination, end-user, and end-use. To help ensure that UCI faculty, staff, and students do not experience customs delays, seizure of goods, or inadvertent violation of federal export laws, please submit a Shipment Review Form to the Export Control Office. The review will help determine whether an export license is required. Please note that international shipments also include items hand-carried or packed in baggage during travel outside of the U.S.

1. Are you shipping or hand-carrying the item(s) to an embargoed country?

Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Ukraine (Crimea, Donetsk, & Luhansk regions only) are countries with strict import and export license requirements. If you have a collaborator or will be sending or receiving items from one of these countries, contact the Export Control Office regarding license requirements.

Please see Sanctioned and Embargoed Countries for more information.

2. Has the Restricted Party Screening been conducted?

The U.S. government maintains a number of lists of federally sanctioned, debarred or restricted persons and organizations. Please contact the Export Control Office for assistance with screenings and to determine if a license is required.

Please see Restricted Parties for more information. 

3. Has a Classification been assigned?

Export classification can be either an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) or ITAR Category. These are US specific, determined based on technical listings in export regulations. Based on the export classification, an export license or license exception may be required based on ship to entity, end user or country destination. HS code or the Harmonized System Tariff code is the internationally standardized system of names and numbers for classifying traded products. It is a 6-10 digit number. The USHTS is the US version of the Tariff Code. Improper classification can lead to duties (taxes) or fines. In order to provide the most accurate classification, an adequate description or part number is required. The HS code and export classification can also be requested from the manufacturer. Is your item on the list of potentially Controlled Items?

4. What is the Valuation?

The World Trade Organization and Customs in each country require accurate valuation of the goods. No country accepts a zero dollar value. The minimum value that can be declared is $1. If the item is not being sold, the invoice should indicate the value for Customs purposes only and “item not for sale, for research purposes only”.

Why is the valuation declaration important?

The Value determines if there are special government filings required in the US prior to the export of the goods - Automated Export System (AES) Electronic Export Information (EEI). AES EEI must be filed for exports valued over $2500 (per HS code) or if an export license is required regardless of whether it is shipped or hand carried. See Tools of the Trade for an exemption. 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 transport carrier. Declared invoice value is the basis for any applicable duty or taxes/fees that are due in the ship-to country. Customs knows what the typical value is for goods; a low value can be a red flag. If there are any import or export penalties, the penalties are assessed against the value of the goods.

  • Valuation for Purchased goods: If the item was purchased, then the value to be declared should be equal to the PO price or quote.
  • Valuation for In-house developed item, i.e. test equipment : The value should be the cost of goods + labor.
  • Valuation for Prototypes provided free of charge: the supplier should provide the price of the item if it were to be sold.
5. Finally, is an Export License Review required, or are there declarations?

US export regulations may require an export license or license exception based on the item (including technical data), shipping destination, value, or end user. AES filing for shipments valued over $2500 or those that require an export license are required under the Foreign Trade Regulations. The Export Control Office can review and advise on available license exceptions.

Additional Considerations

A pro forma invoice is required for all exports. You may also see this referred to as a commercial invoice (CI). Although you are not selling the item you are shipping, you will need a pro forma invoice if it is not a personally owned item. A pro forma invoice may be automatically generated if you are using an online expediter system (such as FedEx or UPS). If you are using an expediter paper system then you will need to create your own pro forma invoice, include it in your package, and keep a copy in your shipping records.

An EEI is an electronic declaration of items leaving the U.S. to a foreign country, which is managed through the Automated Export System (AES) by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If an EEI is required, the AES ITN (proof of filing transaction number) must be listed on the airway bill. The EEI can be filed through a UC authorized freight forwarder or transport carrier. See “Tools of Trade” for exceptions.

The University of California has a systemwide contract with American Cargoservice (ACS) to clear import and export shipments through U.S. Customs and provide freight-forwarding services.

American Cargoservice, Inc.
Local: (858) 565-4125
Toll free: (800) 508-4888

General EEI Requirements

The EEI must be filed for shipments from the U.S. to foreign destinations if any of the following applies:

  • Shipment of an item (in a single Schedule B or HTS number) valued at more than $2,500. (Note: Shipments to Canada from the U.S. are generally exempt from this requirement.)
  • The shipment requires an export license.
  • The shipment is authorized under certain export license exceptions (e.g., Strategic Trade Authorization (STA)).
  • The shipment is subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), regardless of value.
  • Other requirements as outlined in Part 758 of the EAR.

Shipments to China, Russia, or Venezuela

In addition to the above, an EEI filing is required for shipments to China, Russia, and Venezuela for any item listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL), regardless of value or whether an export license is required. Examples of CCL items can include everyday items such as computers, GPS, cell phones, as well as research equipment/material (e.g., UAVs, sensors, biological materials).

  • Regulations exclude documents and EAR99 items that are less than $2,500 in value.

For researchers working with biological items, there are a number of items that will require export licenses prior to being shipped outside the U.S. These include attenuated forms of bacteria, toxins, virus, and fungi or animals or material containing those items that are on the Export-Restricted Biologicals and Select Agents list.

There are many items that are not select agents, but do require export licenses as it falls under the controlled category for genetic elements and/or genetically modified organisms. Contact Export Control if you plan to ship any items on this list so we can file the required export licenses. Please note that this may take 6 weeks or longer to obtain.

All shipping records including pro forma 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. Your shipper (such as DHL, FedEx or UPS) will not keep copies of shipping records for you.


For every export, there is an import to the receiving country.

Please contact your collaborator in order to comply with applicable import requirements to the destination country. Import requirements vary greatly by country, and your item(s) may be stopped by Customs officials in the importing country if the proper licenses are not included in the paperwork.