The Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a final rule that, effective May 22, amends the Export Administration Regulations to facilitate Internet-based communications with persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine. This rule allows exports or reexports to Crimea, without a license, of software that is necessary to enable the exchange of personal communications over the Internet. Such software must be designated EAR99 or classified as mass market software under Export Control Classification Number 5D992.c. It also must be widely available to the public at no cost to the user.

BIS states that this rule is being published simultaneously with the issuance by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control of General License No. 9, which authorizes the export or reexport from the United States or by U.S. persons to Crimea of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing and blogging.

The BIS rule also makes the following clarifications with respect to the EAR provisions on Crimea given that it is not a country.

- for purposes of the country group provisions under the EAR, Crimea uses the same country group designations as Ukraine

- for purposes of applying the EAR deemed export and deemed reexport requirements for foreign nationals located in or from Crimea, the nationality of the foreign national (as determined by accepted methods, such as looking to the passport or other nationality documents recognized by the U.S. government) is used to determine whether a license is required under the EAR

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