Export Controls Decision Tree

A questionnaire to determine whether export controls are applicable to your project

How Does it Work?

This tool will walk you through a series of "Yes" or "No" questions that ask about sharing, shipping, transmitting or transferring items, information, or software in the context of your situation.  Your replies will lead to a determination of whether an export control license may be applicable, and will provide guidance on next steps.  


The Decision Tree questions are structured conceptually into four general categories and are presented sequentially to assess the following:

  • Is Your Export High Risk?
  • Is Your Export Compliant with Stanford's Policy on Openness?
  • Is the Fundamental Research Exclusion Available?
  • Do US Trade Sanctions Apply?


Export controls apply whenever:

  • Tangible items (equipment, components, materials etc.) including laptops and smartphones are being sent or hand carried outside US borders;
  • Regulated ("controlled") technical information or software code is being shared with foreign persons or entities in the US or transferred physically, visually or orally to foreign persons abroad;
  • When items, information or software are intended for a person or organization identified on a US Restricted Party List; or
  • Intended for the design, development, production, stockpiling or use of a nuclear explosive device, chemical or biological weapons, or missiles.


The Decision Tree content uses terminology derived from US Department of State, Commerce, and Treasury export regulations.  Many of these terms are found in the "Definitions" section of this website, accessible in the "In This Section" column to the right.


Refers to any tangible things, equipment or hardware.


Can include technical data such as models, formulae, engineering designs and specifications, or technical assistance such as training or instruction.


Refers to a collection of one or more computer programs or micro programs in either source code (programming statements) or object code (machine-readable instructions).


Stanford's Export Controls Decision Tree, guidance from its Export Control Officer, and materials found on Stanford's DoResearch export control pages (doresearch.stanford.edu and subsites) are specifically intended for Stanford faculty, students and staff.  Stanford's DoResearch export control content may not apply to your specific situation or may be incomplete.  Stanford's DoResearch export control materials do not constitute legal advice. Those outside of Stanford University should not act or rely on any information on Stanford's DoResearch export control pages and should seek the advice of counsel.