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All physical items, equipment, materials, commodities (including food and medicines), software, and biologics (collectively “things”) are subject to export control regulations and require some form of shipping documentation prior to shipping abroad. It’s important to understand that everything that crosses the border is an export, even if the item is abroad only temporarily or if it will be used for research. Contact the Export Compliance Office before shipping internationally.

International shipping is also subject to numerous export and import controls and regulations. Fines, confiscation or incarceration can all result from failing to comply. UNC’s Business Services office as well as all standard carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.) require completed paperwork prior to accepting a package for shipment internationally. UNC is the shipper of record — not the shipping agent or the customs broker — no matter who fills out the forms.

It is important to understand that everything that crosses the border is an export, even if the item is abroad only temporarily or if it will be used for research.

Most hardware as well as some software and information are export-controlled to some degree. Some entities, people and uses are restricted — approval must be obtained prior to shipping any item or information.

Hazardous materials need to be packaged and labeled appropriately:

  • Biological tissues
  • Chemicals
  • Batteries and fuel cells
  • Radioactive materials

Shippers can also contact the UNC Chapel Hill Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) department for shipments of Dangerous Goods, which may require specific university approval and/or special procedures prior to shipment. Review the EHS Shipping Page for more information.