Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs)

An Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) is a five-digit identifier used by the U.S. Department of Commerce to categorize items that are subject to export control restrictions. The ECCN applicable to material, as well as its destination country, end user and end use are all factors in whether an export is legal. 

Many processes require finding material’s ECCN:

Any material with highly-restricted ECCNs, or military material regulated by ITAR, must have an approved technology control plan before coming onto campus.


Only materials that are under the jurisdiction of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) have ECCNs. This includes most items on campus. However, material that is inherently military, related to nuclear technology or protected infrastructure information, as well as some satellites, are in a jurisdiction other than the EAR, and may be under stricter controls. Contact MIT Export Control if this applies to your material. 

ECCN structure

An ECCN has five digits (for example, 9A001 is the ECCN for a gas turbine engine). The first digit is always a number (0-9) and represents the Category Number:

The second digit is always a letter (A-E) and represents the Product Group Letter:

ECCN Product Group Letters

Product Group Letter

Product Group


End Items, Equipment, Accessories, Attachments, Parts, Components, and Systems


Test, Inspection and Production Equipment







How to find an item’s ECCN

For purchased items, one source of export classification numbers is the US vendor or manufacturer. If they export their products, they should know what the item’s ECCN is. 

If the vendor cannot provide export classification (or if there is no vendor), confirm that the item is in the jurisdiction of the EAR, then use the Commerce Control List (CCL) to find its classification.

To find an item’s Export Control Classification Number (ECCN): 

  1. Using the item’s general characteristics, find its Category Number. Sometimes it is helpful to search the CCL Index to get an initial idea of what the category might be.
  2. Next, find the item’s Product Group Letter. 
  3. Starting at the beginning of the product group (A, B, C, D or E) for the category, review each ECCN to determine whether it describes the item. The first (most controlled) match is the item's ECCN.

Contact MIT Export Control with additional questions. 

Items without ECCNs

If there is no ECCN for your item, either it is in the jurisdiction of another agency or it is EAR99. EAR99 is the designation for low-technology consumer goods (e.g., a common house fan, office furniture, glass beakers, automobile tires). 

The Department of Commerce classifies the majority of commercial items as EAR99. EAR99 can be exported to all countries unless the export is going to a comprehensively-sanctioned country, a prohibited end-user/user of concern, an Entity List or Unverified List organization, or is for a prohibited end-use.

ECCNs for biological material and chemicals

ECCNs for some biological materials are available in the Human and Animal Materials Pathogens Quick Guide and Biological Plant Pathogens Quick Guide. eShip Global also provides an ECCN lookup tool for biological material, including human, animal, and plant pathogens. 

To find the ECCN for chemical shipments, consult the Category 1 of the Commerce Control List.