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International Shipping Documentation

Please email the completed documents to for review 10 business days prior to your international shipment. 

Keep a copy of the completed document for five years past the last date of shipment activity.  For more information regarding these documents, see the Best Practices section below

Foreign Imports & Shipments

It is important to take time to prepare for the physical foreign shipment of information or items. All items to be exported should be reviewed for:

1) potential export to a sanctioned country

2) to an end-user of concern

3) export control classification or category

4) or for support of a prohibited end-use

You may be required to obtain a license from the federal government for your export and in some situations, a license may not be granted. The Export Control Compliance Review Flow Chart may be used as a tool in the analysis of your shipment.

All international shipments should be reviewed prior to shipping to ensure they are not controlled for export, and to ensure they are not being exported to an entity or individual (end user) on the Denied Party Lists (DPL).

Keep in mind that in addition to U.S. export control laws and regulations there are other U.S. regulations to consider when you import items, travel or ship internationally.

Please Note: Once outside the U.S. or upon your re-entry to the U.S., your laptop or other items (import) may be subject to search or items may be seized without probable cause, suspicion or warrant. Be sure to safeguard your personal, sensitive, export controlled, and proprietary data appropriately. If you don't need it - don't take it out of the U.S.!

If you plan on international travel, VEC advises review of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to ensure that you have the documents required by your destination country, and to ensure accurate customs declaration upon re-entry into the United States.

US Shipments

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) also requires that export controlled items shipped to an entity (company, organization, university, contact, etc.) in the US be reviewed prior to shipment to ensure they are not being exported to an entity on the Denied Persons Lists (DPL).

Import/Customs Broker

If you plan on importing upon your return to the U.S., or if you need specific shipping guidance regarding an international shipment, please consider using the services of V. Alexander. Vanderbilt University’s contact at V.Alexander is Emily Ashworth.

V. Alexander can assist with the following:

  • Automated Filing with the U.S. Customs (required for shipments valued at $2,500.00 or more)
  • Importing documentation preparation
  • Export document preparation
  • Binding rule service
  • Post entry service
  • Consular legalization
  • Export crating
  • Door-to-door services
  • Import Security Filing (ISF) 
  • Customs Surety Bonds
  • Carnets
  • Letter of Credit Consulting
  • Consular Legalization
  • Air waybills
  • Certificates of Origin

If the shipment is valued at over $2500.00 or if you plan to import, please contact Emily Ashworth at  V.Alexander & for international customs broker service. 

Best Practices

BEFORE each shipment, it is important to consider:

      • What is the item or information? (Is it export controlled?)
      • Where is it going?
      • Who will receive it?
      • What will be the end-use?
      • What is the value?
      • Do I need a carnet or surety bond?

It is important to consider all of the above before each shipment as federal regulations change frequently.  

Duties, Fees, Invoices

Vanderbilt's approved international carrier is FedEx.  If you have any questions relating to opening a FedEx account or other general FAQ, please contact Vanderbilt Disbursement Services, via email or at (615) 343-2942.

Additionally, it is important to note that there may be duties and fees associated with a foreign shipment and it may take several business days to secure the ECCN or category from the manufacturer (it is recommended to get the information in writing for your records). Please schedule and budget accordingly. If you should receive an invoice from a carrier, please forward it promptly to Procurement for processing; you must include your contact information along with the center number that should be charged.

  • Click here for more details regarding international shipments with FedEx. FedEx International Customer Service - (800) 247-4747
  • Click here for an example of a commercial invoice.
  • If you need additional shipment guidance or if you plan to import, please contact Emily Ashworth at  V.Alexander & for international customs broker service.

United States Postal Service (USPS) - Mail

It is important to take time to prepare a letter or a package that will be mailed to a foreign country. When mailing to a foreign country exporters may be asked to complete the Postal Service form 2976-A Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note or the Postal Service form 2976 Customs Declaration CN 22 - Senders Declaration. For more information on sending items or information internationally, please visit USPS webpage International Mail Delivery Services. In addition, the USPS Publication 613 "Shipping International Packages" is available at USPS locations as a resource. To contact a Vanderbilt Post Office please click here.

Some international mail shipments may not require a specific form. However, the individual mailing the letter or package is still responsible to ensure compliance with export control laws and regulations. In addition, all international mail exports should be reviewed prior to shipment to ensure they are not being exported to an entity or individual on the Denied Party Lists (DPL).