1217 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Foreign Source Purchases



This policy is to ensure compliance with U.S. customs and tariff regulations when purchasing goods from foreign sources.

Scope of Applicability

All University Faculty and Staff engaged in requisitioning of goods or services.


Policy Statement

All goods shipped into the United States from other countries are subject to U.S. customs and tariff regulations. To expedite regulatory compliance for incoming shipments from foreign sources, the University uses the services of a customs broker. Purchasing Services identifies the customs broker on all purchase orders for the foreign-sourced goods. International orders require that the University comply with U.S. and foreign trade regulations which requires communicating with customs agents, and arranging for the long-distance shipments of goods. These processes must be taken into account when purchasing from a non-U.S. vendor.



Additional Information

Special Situations

Certain incoming foreign products, such as agricultural products or drugs, may be subject to special approvals and/or licensing provisions. For such items, the using department must contact the appropriate Federal agency (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, etc.) to determine the required approval process. The U.S. Department of Commerce may also be contacted for assistance in determining which products require special approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My lab wants to order scientific equipment and was told that we would not have to pay duty to get it in the country; is that true?

A: Yes, but an ITA-338 form (Request for duty-free entry of scientific instruments or apparatus) must be completed and forwarded to the U.S. Department of Commerce to be granted the exemption.

Q: Will completing the ITA-338 form delay my order?

A: It can possibly extend the period of time that it will take to receive the goods. Please plan ahead when making your purchase since various procedures will have to be followed before the goods can be delivered.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen working in a University-owned facility in a foreign country. May I bring the goods I have purchased with foreign currency for the office back to the University office and be reimbursed?

A: No. The University will not honor such transactions without going through the proper procedures.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures


Contact Information

Policy Contact

Subject Contact Telephone Fax E-Mail
Foreign source purchases Purchasing Services – Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636 purchasing_team@unc.edu



  • July 15, 2010
  • February 12, 2004
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Article ID: 131416
Thu 4/8/21 9:08 PM
Mon 8/9/21 3:49 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Director of Purchasing Services
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
12/09/2021 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
12/09/2020 3:14 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
12/09/2020 3:14 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
12/09/2020 3:14 PM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/1995 12:00 AM