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Foreign Nationals

Deemed Exports 

A “deemed export” is the transfer or release of controlled material or technology to a foreign national within the United States. Exposing a non-U.S. person to controlled materials is considered the same as exporting directly to that person’s home country. Controlled materials are not only tangible items like research equipment, biological agents, or chemicals, but also include intangibles such as data, information, and encryption. Additionally, the methods of transfer vary and can involve sending an email, allowing visual inspection, engaging in a phone conversation, or providing demonstrations or training. Such disclosures, if made without an authorized license from the appropriate US Government agency, are potentially in violation of export laws and could result in harsh penalties.


What does this mean for Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt University is committed to maintaining an open and free academic environment that supports international collaboration. However, federal regulations require Vanderbilt to evaluate the potential for deemed exports, determine if an export license is needed, and certify these findings. The Visa Deemed Export Questionnaire (VDEQ) fulfills Vanderbilt's compliance requirement and helps Vanderbilt's Export Compliance (VEC) program determine if an export license is necessary. It also allows VEC to assist  faculty and departments in developing best practices and addressing concerns.


Who is required to complete a VDEQ?

As part of our dedication to protecting Vanderbilt's innovative research, VEC advises faculty and staff submit a VDEQ for the following individuals, so we can evaluate deemed export concerns prior to their arrival:

Required Not Required
All employment visas (H1B, O1, EAD, etc.) Students
All J1 visas Permanent Residents
  Asylum Refugees

If you are sponsoring one of these visa types, please complete the Visa Deemed Export Questionnaire (VDEQ) to assist with export compliance analysis. Allow a minimum of five (5) business days for review. Contact with any questions or concerns you may have. 


Foreign National Visitors

Foreign nationals are invited to Vanderbilt from around the world to speak, collaborate, and study. Examples of foreign nationals visiting the Vanderbilt campus are exchange students, collaborating faculty, conference speakers and attendees, and touring businesses that are not Vanderbilt personnel. Before inviting a foreign national visitor, it is important to determine if an export license is needed.

Please complete the Foreign National Visitor Form (VIS) to assist with export compliance analysis and restricted parties screening prior to the visit. If a deemed export license is required, be aware authorization from the U.S. Government can introduce delays. Additionally, it may be necessary to put controls in place to prevent unauthorized access. If you have reason to believe your visit may have export control restrictions, contact VEC early to allow adequate time for determinations. 

Prior to the visit, consider the following:

  • Will the visitor be exposed to any technology or information that is controlled?
  • Is the visitor from a sanctioned country?
  • Is the visitor or their associated organization listed on a government denied or blocked parties list?

Exposing a non-U.S. person to controlled materials is considered the same as exporting directly to that person’s home country; thus, it is important to consider what research or technologies the visitor will have access to while on campus. Even inadvertent conversations or viewing of controlled materials may constitute an export that requires an authorized license from the U.S. Government. Some examples of controlled items are here.

The level of control for an item can vary depending on its export classification and the visitor’s country of citizenship. However, certain countries are comprehensively sanctioned/embargoed and virtually all interactions are prohibited without an authorized export license from the U.S. Government. These countries are:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Venezuela (As of August 5, 2019)

Always perform a Restricted Parties Screening (RPS) on the visitor(s) and their associated entity to ensure they are not listed on the US Government's denied or blocked party lists. Complete complete a Restricted Parties Screening Request, or use the search tool at


Foreign National Best Practices

  • Give advanced notice to all areas and individuals affected by the visitor to ensure necessary security measures. Just because you do not have controlled material does not mean your neighbor does not.
  • Limit access, both physical and information systems, to only that which is needed to fulfill the visitor's purpose.
  • Ensure visitors are escorted at all times.
  • Maintain a visitor logbook and record pertinent information.
  • For immigration assistance, contact Global Support Services (GSS).
  • For international tax assistance contact the International Tax Office (ITO).


SPA > Export Compliance > Immigration