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Information in this resource was derived from materials created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

International shipping is complicated not always straightforward, and it becomes expensive and time-consuming when something goes wrong. International shipping is also subject to numerous export and import controls and regulations. Fines, confiscation, or incarceration can all result from failing to comply.


The University of Texas at Dallas is the shipper of record on all exports. Everything that crosses the border is an export, including items sent temporarily, items not sold, and research materials.

Most tangible items, and some software and information, are export-controlled. Some entities, people, and uses are restricted, and approval is needed to ship to them. Other items are hazardous (chemicals, batteries, radioactive items, etc.), and need to be packaged and labeled appropriately.

There are costs (tariffs and value-added taxes) and bureaucratic hurdles the shipment needs to clear to get out of the U.S. and into the destination country. Mistakes can delay shipments, and are hard to fix once the item has left the University.


All incoming shipments are cleared by U.S. Customs, with varying levels of scrutiny. Some items are restricted at the import stage (a variety of items, including certain wildlife and plants, and items from certain countries). On the other hand, some items are restricted at the delivery stage, and an import duty may be owed. Again, the shipment can be delayed or incur unexpected costs if the paperwork is wrong or incomplete. It can be hard to fix problems once the shipment is sitting in U.S. Customs.

For more information about international shipping, please contact UT Dallas Procurement Management at 972-883-2300.