ECCNs and Classification

ECCN = Export Control Classification Number

ECCNs are five-character, alpha-numeric identifiers used for export control purposes of items, technology, materials, software and various other commodities which are controlled under the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") by jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • ECCNs are key determinants of whether an export license is necessary.

ECCN Structure

All ECCNs are listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL) (Supplement No. 1 to Part 774 of the EAR), which is divided into ten Categories (0-9), and each category is further subdivided into five Product Groups (A-E).

  • e.g. 5 992 - The first character of the ECCN identifies the Category (5) to which it belongs and the second character identifies the Product Group (A) (see chart below).
Commerce Control List (CCL) CategoriesProduct Groups
0 = Nuclear materials, facilities and
      equipment (and miscellaneous items)
1 = Materials, Chemicals,
      Microorganisms and Toxins
2 = Materials Processing
3 = Electronics
4 = Computers
5 = Telecommunications and Information
6 = Sensors and Lasers
7 = Navigation and Avionics
8 = Marine
9 = Propulsion Systems, Space
      Vehicles, and Related
A. Systems, Equipment
     and Components
B. Test, Inspection and
     Production Equipment
C. Material
D. Software
E. Technology


If your item does not have a specific ECCN in any applicable category of the CCL, then your item may be designated as EAR99.

Generally, EAR99 items/technology may be shipped/transferred under the designation 'NLR,' meaning "No License Required." However, if your export of an EAR99 item is to an embargoed or sanctioned country, to an end-user of concern (as is found on any Denied Party Lists), or in support of a prohibited end-use, you may still be required to obtain an export license.

Please contact VUMC EC with the correspondence details as noted below in Step 2 - Self-Classify for confirmation before proceeding with a shipment based on EAR99.

Looking to ship an item or transfer technology?

Step 1: Do you know the item's jurisdiction?

  • Items and/or technology being exported from the U.S. are subject to U.S. Export Control Laws. As such, each item or technology being considered for export/transfer requires a classification determination prior to release. Items are generally subject to either:
    • U.S. Department of Commerce (EAR),
      • Items subject to the EAR, as found on the Commerce Control List (CCL), are considered "dual-use" items. These items can require specific controls and potential export licensing requirements.

         -- or --
    • U.S. Department of State (ITAR)**
      • Items subject to the ITAR, as found on the United States Munitions List (USML), are considered military or defense-related items and as such, require stringent controls and export licensing requirements.
      • **STOP: Please immediately contact VUMC Export Compliance (VUMC EC) should any items or technology be subject to the ITAR. Only proceed below with manufacturer classification requests for items/technology subject to the EAR.

Step 2: Do you know the item's export classification?

  • A key factor in determining whether an export license is needed from the Department of Commerce is finding out if the item, material, commodity, or technology you intend to export has a specific Export Control Classification Number ("ECCN").
    • View the Export Compliance Review Flow Chart PDF to assist in determining if your item(s)/technology are export-controlled.
    • Scroll down to the "Steps in determining your ECCN(s)" section below for further guidance.

Step 3: Once the ECCN in Step 2 above has been identified, you can determine:

  • the reasons for control of the item(s),
  • which transactions may require an export license based on the country of destination, and
  • which license exceptions, if any, may apply.

**An ECCN is different from a Schedule B number, which is used by the Census Bureau to collect trade statistics. It is also different from the Harmonized Tariff System nomenclature, which is used to determine import duties.**

How to determine an ECCN:

1. Go to the Source:

Contact the manufacturer, producer, or developer and request that they provide you with the current ECCN for the item in question.

*When requesting ECCNs from the source, always ask that they send you confirmation of the ECCN via email, and forward that correspondence to VUMC Export Compliance (VUMC EC) at once received. It is important that we have this record of documentation and that it is kept with the file for five (5) years after the last date of activity on the project.

2. Self-Classify:

In order to work through self-classification, you will need a technical understanding of your item/technology. You will also need to be familiar with the structure and format of the Commerce Control List (CCL), by which classifications are determined.

A review of the general characteristics of the item/technology, along with a detailed examination of the categories and groups found on the CCL, should result in determination of a classification.

If your item does not seem to have a specific ECCN located in any of the categories applicable to your request, then your item may fall into the basket category known as EAR99. Please see below for additional information about EAR99.

Once a classification determination has been made for each item/technology intended for export, please send correspondence to VUMC EC at before shipping. Make sure to include the following with your email:

  • A list of all items, materials, commodities, and/or technologies being considered for export
  • A brief description of the item(s)
  • The ECCN determined for each item(s)
  • The method utilized in classification determination
  • All relevant classification notes and a brief summary of why you settled on your particular classification
  • Where the shipment/transfer is going (e.g. to what country of destination)
  • To whom or what entity the shipment/transfer is being sent
  • (All parties to the transaction must be screened against the various Denied Persons Lists (DPL) for potential matches before proceeding.)

*Before utilizing this classification, please contact VUMC EC for confirmation.

3. Work with VUMC Export Compliance (VUMC EC) to assist in classification determination:

We encourage you to contact VUMC EC directly for assistance with the classification process. The regulations are very complex and at times will require a skilled professional to determine the proper classification applicable for your item/technology.

Please email or call (615) 875-7577 with any classification requests, questions, or concerns. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

Please keep in mind that many classifications are complex and may require a thorough period of review before a determination can be made. We will try to work your request within ten (10) business days, but some classifications may take longer depending on the nature of and amount included in the request.

*If necessary, an official request to BIS (known as a commodity classification request) may be necessary to assist VUMC EC in determining the proper classification and necessary compliance requirements.

Once a classification determination has been made, what's next?

Once the item(s) have been classified, the next step is to determine whether an export license is necessary. This is accomplished by utilizing both the ECCN and the country of ultimate destination. You need to cross-reference the "Reasons for Control" listed in the sub-heading of the ECCN from the CCL, along with the destination country, on the Commerce Country Chart - found in Supplement 1 to Part 738 of the EAR.

If there is an 'X' in the column based on the reason(s) for control of your item(s) and destination country, a license is required (unless a License Exception is available).

Contact VUMC EC to assist with this process, if an item or technology requires a license based on the country destination and reason(s) for control, or if you would like to determine Licensing Exception availability prior to shipment/transfer.
*See the FAQ page for "How long does it take to obtain an export license?"

Common Travel Items

Most Mass Market Commercial Laptops (HP, Dell, Apple, etc.)5A992.c
iPhones, iPads, and most Android products5A992.c
Flash Drives (most)EAR99
Commerical GPS systems (Garmin, Tom Tom, etc.)7A994
Bitlocker Encryption5D992.c