General  International Shipping Information

University activities that involve the transfer of project information, equipment, materials, or technology out of the U.S. by whatever means may be subject to export controls and may require export license(s) depending on the item, destination, recipient, and end-use/user.

The shipment of an export controlled physical item from the United States to a foreign country, such as a piece of scientific equipment or a biological material, may require an export license. Be sure to secure license approval, verify your shipt qualifies for a license exception, or no license is required prior to shipment. Contact your campus export control resource.

To help ensure that OSU faculty, staff, and students do not experience customs delays, seizure of goods, or inadvertent violation of federal export laws the below describes the basic requirements for international shipping and hand carry of items abroad. Incorrect shipping paperwork can lead to delays in shipments, lost time, and lost opportunity. Failure to obtain an export license when required could result in fines up to $1million per violation and up to 20 years of prison time for criminal convictions.  False export declaration fines are $10,000. Customs fines vary by country and can also include seizure or detention of goods.

Before shipping internationally, contact the Export Control and International Compliance Office at for assistance in determining whether an export license is required, securing a license when needed, and advice on what records need to be maintained in cases where the item can be shipped without a license.

Commercial Invoice Requirements

A commercial invoice is required for all exports. You may also see this referred to as a pro-forma invoice. Even though you may not be selling the item you are shipping, if it is not a personally owned item, you will need a commercial invoice. A commercial invoice may be automatically generated if you are using FedEx online. If you are using Fedex by paper then you will need to create your own commercial invoice and include it in your package and keep a copy in your shipping records.

Information required (all items in the shipment must be declared on the invoice)

  • The date that the invoice is created
  • A unique invoice number
  • The complete name and address including country of the ship from and ship to party/company these are also known as the Exporter of Record / Shipper and the Importer of Record / Consignee
  • A complete and concise description of the goods shipping
    • Example, do not indicate “Cells”, you need to indicate what kind of cells”
    • Example Wrong:  cells; Right: – human liver cells
  • The country of origin (manufacture) of the item
  • Quantity: Accurate number of each piece shipping
  • Weight listed in  kilograms
  • Value of Product: Unit price and Extended total price
  • The total invoice amount
  • The diversion statement “These commodities, technology, or software were exported from the United States in accordance with the Export Administration Regulations. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.” If your items are being exported under an ITAR export license a different diversion statement is required, consult with the Export Compliance Officer.


Automated Export System (AES) Electronic Export Information (EEI) must be filed for exports valued over $2500 (per HS code), if the destination is China, if an export license is required whether it is shipped or hand carried. If an EEI is required, the AES ITN (proof of filing transaction number) must be listed on the airway bill. The export declaration EEI can be filed through a UC authorized freight forwarder or through the AES online system through the Export Compliance Officer. 


All shipping records including commercial invoice, airway bill, export filings, and associated communications are required to be maintained for a period of 5 years from the date of the export. Request a copy of relevant documents from your shipper or print them when using an online application. Your shipper (such as FedEx) will not keep copies of shipping records for you.

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.

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 a restricted entity or individual. Please make restricted party screening requests to the Export Control and International Office at