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Visa Deemed Exports

A “deemed export” is the transfer of controlled material 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. The material can not only be tangible items such as research equipment, biological agents, and chemicals. It can also be something intangible such as data, information, software, and encryption. Additionally, the method of transfer can be a lot more broad than one would think. It could include sending an email, allowing visual inspection, a phone conversation, or providing demonstration or training. Such disclosure, if made without an authorized license from the appropriate government agency, is potentially a violation of the law and could result in harsh penalties.


What does this mean for Vanderbilt?
Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Export Compliance office (VEC) are committed to maintaining an open and free academic environment that supports international collaboration. However, Federal Regulations require Vanderbilt to evaluate the potential for deemed export, determine if an export license is needed, and to certify those findings. The Visa Deemed Export Questionnaire (VDEQ) fulfills Vanderbilt's compliance requirement and helps VEC determine if an export license is necessary. It also allows VEC to assist the PI/departments in developing best practices and resolving any concerns.


Who is required to complete a VDEQ?
As part of our dedication to protecting research, the following individuals should be evaluated for a deemed export prior to arrival:

Required Not Required
All employment visas (H1B, O1, 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 at a minimum 5 business days for review. Contact with any questions or concerns you may have. 


Foreign National Visitors

Foreign national visitors are invited to Vanderbilt from around the world to speak, collaborate and study. Examples of a foreign national visitor might be 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 to assist with export compliance analysis and restricted parties screening. Email the completed document to no less than 10 business days prior to the foreign national’s visit. If a deemed export license is required, be aware authorization from the U.S. Government can take 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, communicate with VEC early to allow adequate time. 

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?

A “deemed export” is the transfer of controlled material 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. Thus, it is important to consider what the visitor will be exposed to while on campus. Even inadvertent conversation or viewing of controlled materials may be 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 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

Always perform a Restricted Parties Screening (RPS) on the visitor(s) and their associated entity to ensure they are not listed on government maintained denied or block party lists. Use the search tool at, or alternatively contact for assistance with this search.


Foreign Visitor Best Practices

  • Advise, in advance, all areas and individuals affected by this visitor to ensure information, items, area, etc. are secured appropriately. Just because you do not have controlled material does not mean your neighbor does not have any.
  • Limit access, both physical and information systems, to only that which is needed to full-fill their 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