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Export Controls > Introduction to EAR and ITAR Decision Trees

What Export Controls Affect University Research Activities?

To assist you in determining how Export Controls affect your specific research activities, we have created two decision trees for researchers and administrators.

If you are traveling abroad or purchasing/using research equipment on campus, you may go directly to the appropriate Decision Tree below.

Two electronic Decision Trees have been designed to help you assess the issues for your entire project under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). These decision trees enable you to answer a short series of YES or NO questions to determine whether you have a potential export controls issue to bring to the attention of the Export Controls Office for resolution.

EAR Tree

The EAR Tree should be used for any research project that requires travel outside the United States, the transfer of items outside the United States, or the involvement of foreign nationals (including graduate students at Cornell).

The EAR broadly regulate the export and re-export of commercial items, and related software and technology, that could have both civilian and military applications, including certain chemicals; human, animal and plant pathogens; lasers; computers, GPS, semiconductors, and other electronics; and information security and telecommunications items.


The ITAR Tree should be used for research relating to potential defense and military- related items and technologies, such as spacecraft and components, including those related to navigation and launch systems (e.g., GPS, radar).

It is best to use the Trees to identify issues at the start of your research project or whenever an interaction arises between your project and a foreign country or foreign national. Both ITAR and EAR authorize stiff civil and criminal penalties for violations and non-compliance.