By Tom Reynolds, Export Solutions

Updated 1/14/2019

The ITAR Exemption Handbook Intro

Many people focus on the need to obtain an ITAR license, without first considering whether or not an exemption may apply to their transaction.

What is an ITAR exemption?

Simply put, an exemption is a set of conditions which – if met – allow you to ship to your destination without the need to obtain an export license.

The government allows the use of exemptions because they have evaluated specific exports and feel confident that – as long as the conditions of the exemption apply – these items can be safely exported without harm to U.S. national security.

What Kinds Of Exemptions Are Available Under The ITAR?

There are almost countless amount of ITAR exemptions that your products might fall under. Here are just a few types of ITAR exemptions that you should be aware of:

  • Exemptions for temporary imports and exports
  • Technical data exemptions
  • Retransfers
  • U.S. Government and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) exemptions.

In addition, there are also ITAR exemptions for certain countries, including:

  • Canada (§126.5)
  • Australia (§126.16)
  • The U.K. (§126.17)
  • A variety of exemptions/authorizations for NATO and other allied countries (most notably in §123.9).
The Rules Are Changing. Are You Ready?
The government takes ITAR seriously, and one mistake could land you with over $10,000 in fines and penalties. Are you prepared to take that risk on your own? Our trade compliance pros have the experience and knowledge that you need to help you comply with trade compliance regulations today!

Where Can I Find All Possible ITAR Exemptions?

Unfortunately, there is no single section or “chapter” of the ITAR which contains all of the exemptions in one place.

Instead, you will find these exemptions throughout the ITAR – particularly in sections 123, 125 and 126.

What Else Do I Need To Know About ITAR Exemptions?

Here are a few additional helpful tips about using ITAR exemptions:

1. ITAR Exemptions Means You Self-Certify Transactions

Remember that by claiming an exemption, you are self-certifying that your transaction meets all the criteria defined in the ITAR and is eligible to ship without a license.

This means you must read the exemption carefully, and make sure that all of the conditions apply!

Never assume!

When in doubt, seek professional help or apply for a license.

2. You Must Report All ITAR Exemptions To DDTC

Your company’s use of exemptions must be reported annually to DDTC.

3. ITAR Exemptions Require Detailed Paperwork

Don’t forget to document the exemption you used on your shipping paperwork and bill of lading.

4. You Need To Keep Good Records With All ITAR Exemptions That You Claim

Keep good records! We recommend maintaining an exemption/exception log, which is an easy reference to show all of your shipments.

Some useful information to capture on this log includes:

  • Date of Shipment
  • Exemption/Exception Claimed
  • Jurisdiction (ITAR or EAR)
  • USML/ECCN
  • Description
  • End User
  • Country
  • Type of Export (e.g., hardware, technical data, etc.)
  • Value
  • Export Method (e.g., email, shipment, hand-carry, face-to-face meeting, etc.)

ITAR Exemptions Are Not Something To Play With!

As you can see, using an ITAR exemption is more complicated than simply putting “NLR (No License Required)” on your shipping documents.

However, in some circumstances, these exemptions can save your company valuable time and money compared to applying for a license.

For more information, get in touch with your company’s Empowered Official or feel free to contact us for help!

Image by Gerd Altmann

Don't Delay- Our Trade Consultans Are Standing By
The government takes ITAR seriously, and you should too. You can’t risk losing $10,000 in fines and penalties, and trade compliance is a complex and confusing subject. Don’t go it alone- reserve your free trade compliance consultation with one of our pros today!


ITAR Exemptions F.A.Q.

What Does ITAR Mean?
ITAR is the abbreviation for and the typical way to refer to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which documents the US State Department’s requirements for the export and import of specific items, referred to as defense articles, that are controlled for foreign policy and national security purposes.
What Is ITAR Compliance?
ITAR Compliance means that an exporter or manufacturer of specific hardware (defense articles) needs to meet certain requirements and operate in a certain manner consistent with those requirements to be allowed to participate in the supply chain involved with these items.
What Are Penalties For ITAR Violations?
Penalties for violating ITAR requirements include denying the ability to export items, seizure of goods, significant fines, and potentially even jail time in the most extreme cases.
How Do I Find Out If My Company Is ITAR Compliant?
The way to ensure that your company is compliant is to have an experienced trade compliance professional or team of professionals in your company develops and maintain a trade compliance program.

Tom Reynolds is the Vice President of Operations for Export Solutions, a consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies with import/export compliance.