U.S. Sanctions and Export Controls

View of the US Capital building from a garden of flowers

Traveling to Sanctioned Countries and Working With Persons From Sanctioned Countries or SDNs.

The US government and other countries in which NYU has global sites and portal campuses maintain sanctions against a number of countries (currently, the strictest US sanctions are against Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea). View OGC's memo on the US government's updated restrictions on North Korea and Iran. A current list of sanctioned countries is available on the US Department of Treasury's Sanctions Programs and Country Information page. A current list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs - i.e., sanctioned persons, organizations and entities) is available on the US Department of Treasury's Specially Designated National List (SDN) page.

Travel to/or engaging in activities involving these countries and working in, or with persons who normally reside in, these countries or organizations established in these countries, including on a broad range of academic and research activities, are generally prohibited without authorization from the U.S. government. Authorization is granted in the form of a “license” from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which can be either general (applying to a specific type of activity and class of persons) or specific (applying to a specific transaction pursuant to a written application). OCRM has software that can quickly determine whether an individual or organization with whom you would like to engage in an academic, research or business transaction is sanctioned. To determine whether your proposed activity may require a license or is subject to any particular restrictions, contact OGC. Obtaining a specific license can take approximately six months or longer from the date an application is submitted to the US Government.

Traveling to Cuba for Academic Purposes

Members of the NYU community interested in traveling to Cuba should consult the Traveling to Cuba for Academic Purposes document for an explanation of the process. Notwithstanding recent changes in the relationship between the United States and Cuba, the U.S. government continues to maintain its embargo and sanctions against Cuba. As a result, travel to Cuba, including travel for academic purposes, is subject to a number of restrictions.

Export Controls

The U.S. Export Control Laws regulate the shipment, transfer or transmission of U.S. items and technology out of the United States and the transfer of technical data to non-U.S. foreign nationals within the United States. For persons who travel internationally or who are involved in international academic or research collaborations if you have questions regarding whether any of your planned activities are subject to export control laws, you may contact the Office of Compliance and Risk Management for assistance.  

Before traveling with equipment, chemical or biological material overseas or if you wish to ship such items internationally, please contact the Office of Compliance and Risk Management for assistance to determine whether licenses are necessary and to assist you ensuring that you have all necessary documentation for your shipment. Please note, if an export or import license is required, the government processes may take four (4) months or longer.

Responding to Requests to Comply with a Boycott of Israel or Similar Boycotts

U.S. law prohibits individuals and entities (including NYU) from participating in a boycott that is not approved by the U.S. government, including but not limited to the Arab League boycott of Israel. View a list of countries that currently have international boycotts. NYU cannot select one vendor or candidate over another for boycott reasons, and cannot furnish information about business relationships with Israel or other companies identified as having dealings with Israel.

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Working With Government Officials

Rows of flags from various countries outside the United Nations building.

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits payments or gifts of anything of value to a foreign official for the purpose of influencing the official in his or her official capacity or to obtain an improper advantage in securing or retaining business. The FCPA applies to all NYU employees and others who are acting on its behalf such as independent contractors, consultants, and subcontractors. It is important to note that many non-U.S. universities and hospitals are state-owned or controlled, making employees of those entities “foreign officials” for the purposes of the FCPA. Violations of the FCPA can result in serious criminal penalties for both the individual who made the unlawful payment or gift and the University.

There are also U.S. federal, state, and local laws that regulate political campaign activity and lobbying activity by NYU. NYU maintains a policy on Interaction with Government Officials to ensure compliance with these laws, which, among other things, prohibits the provision of gifts and meals to government officials in connection with University matters without permission of the Office of Government Affairs and Civic Engagement. For additional information please refer to the OGC Memorandum on U.S. and International Anti-Bribery Laws.

  • If a government official requests a visit or will speak at a University event, the Office of Government and Community Affairs should be contacted and OGC may be consulted if it is a foreign official

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Data Privacy

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Researchers should take care to become familiar with the requirements of local jurisdictions when gathering personally identified or personally identifiable information in foreign countries, as the privacy laws of other countries may be stricter than those in the United States.

The European Union in particular has developed comprehensive legislation that strictly regulates the ways in which organizations can gather and use data about individuals, and which provides individuals with specific rights and remedies regarding the use of their personal data such as rights of notice, access, and correction. EU law also places limits around the transfer of personal data outside the EU to other jurisdictions that are not deemed to provide an adequate level of data protection (which includes the U.S.). OGC should be consulted if you have specific questions regarding how privacy and data protection laws may affect your proposed activities.

  • Note that education records of NYU students should continue to be treated in accordance with NYU’s Guidelines for Compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), even where the project or program is conducted abroad.

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Local Laws

Street intersection with a taxi driving through and a parked red car.

International programs and activities are subject to the local laws and regulations of each host country. Since laws can differ significantly from country-to-country, these should be reviewed on an individualized basis with guidance from OGC. While compliance to local laws and regulations is required, so too is compliance with US laws and regulations (i.e. extraterritorial laws).

It is often necessary to consult with local resources and experts in the host country. Please note that only OGC is authorized to engage outside counsel to advise on the impact of local laws on the University’s international activities or represent the University, or any school, department, or other unit. Please see OGC’s Outside Counsel Guidelines.

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