Shipping/Transporting Materials

The movement of potentially hazardous substances such as chemicals, diagnostic specimens, infectious agents, plant materials, genetically modified organisms, and dry ice can fall under several federal regulations and University requirements.

The shipper must ensure all applicable regulatory provisions for the shipment are met. Noncompliance can result in refusal or return of packages during the shipping process, risk of material release during the shipping process, or fines.

Preparing to Ship (Import, Export, or Transfer)

Confirm federal and MSU requirements and submit appropriate documentation well in advance.

Organization Requirement Further Information
MSU Technologies Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) required for the exchange of tangible research materials, such as chemicals, software, plant- and animal-derived material, or research animals, between universities and other non-profit organizations for research purposes.

MSU Technologies

MTA process typically takes at least two to three weeks.

MSU Export Controls and Trade Sanctions

Export control/trade sanction laws apply when exporting if

  • The material has potential military applications, including dual use items (i.e., commercial items with potential military application)
  • The destination country, organization, or individual is restricted by federal law
  • The declared or suspected end use or the end user of the export compromises national security
  • Economic protection issues are associated with the destination country
MSU Office of Export Controls and Trade Sanctions
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Formal Entry may be required to import any research material. Commonly required for importing human materials, plant materials, wildlife, livestock, other shipments presented with a USDA/CDC/FWS/FDA permit, high value items, large quantity items, shipments suspected to be misappropriated intellectual property, items not declared. It is highly recommended that you contact well in advance to discuss the need for a formal entry of your research materials.
U.S. Department of Commerce License to export listed materials, chemicals, microorganisms, or toxins

Commerce Control List

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service License/permit to import or export any wild animal, whether alive or dead, whether or not bred, hatched, or born in captivity, and including any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof

FWS Import/Export

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Permit for import or domestic transfer of animals/animal products, biotechnology, plants, organisms, soil

APHIS Permits (ePermits and eFile)

Centers for Disease Control Permit for import of infectious biological materials that could cause disease in humans

Import Permit Program (IPP)
Do I Need a Permit Tool

Hazardous Materials and Your Luggage

Pack Safe - Spending 5 minutes checking your luggage for hazardous materials gets us all there safer.

Q: "I would rather just carry my materials onto the airplane with me. Can I do this?"

A: Please review the 2006 Memo on Travel with or Transportation of Research-Related Materials and Data (PDF) from the Sr. Assistant VP for Research and Graduate Studies.

Additional Information