Office reopening best practices for back to work Learn more
 |  4 min read

How to Be ITAR-Compliant With a Robust Visitor Management System

How to Be ITAR-Compliant With a Robust Visitor Management System Photo

Industrial manufacturer

Complying with ITAR in your controlled facility is a complex task with stringent requirements affecting all aspects of business operations, including visitor management.  The U.S. government requires International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) compliance from all exporters, brokers of defense articles, defense services, manufacturers and related technical data that is on the United States Munitions List (USML).

The failure of companies and members in their supply chain to adhere to a ITAR compliance visitor policy can result in civil and criminal prosecution with up to 10 years in prison, with a fine of up to $1 million, business interruption and denial of export privileges.

Navigating The ITAR Compliance Guidelines

Interpreting ITAR compliance comes with its own challenges. The requirements within the legislation had been structured to allow government flexibility and control over military articles and services. Of the 11 parts that ITAR consists of, export specialists have compiled guidelines for companies to follow when setting up compliance programs that align with directives from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).

A list of best practices to follow when putting together your ITAR compliance program includes:

  • Screening all parties and verifying citizenship
  • Ensuring names are accurate and complete
  • Tailoring compliance programs to specific business type
  • Keeping complete, detailed visitor records for at least five years
  • Records must be organized and easily accessible
  • Securing all physical and digital access points
  • Monitoring and regularly reviewing compliance programs

It’s important to emphasize that registering with the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) to sell your products or services in the ITAR regulated industry is only a first step; Companies must implement self-enforced programs that certify they operate in accordance to ITAR. Their employees are expected to be educated and trained in ITAR regulations. In order to remain compliant, companies need to demonstrate that they are proactive in implementing ITAR controlled facility best practices, audit readiness and training protocols.

Visitor scanning, tracking and record keeping are core functions of a visitor management system and are a key component in demonstrating ITAR compliance.

Compliance-Ready Visitor Management System

Having an automated Visitor Management System (VMS) in place helps companies meet company policy standards and ITAR visitor policy compliance. It also assists with audit reporting to prove appropriate security protocols and visitor controls are in place within a facility. Every visitor at every facility can be tracked and detailed reports to maintain ITAR compliance easily generated.

Visitor management systems also provide security at scale, full audit trails, control integration, screening of visitors in real-time, management of vendors and contractors and limits control access. Protect one building or a thousand, multiple entry point campuses or gated facilities. Many Visitor Management Systems can be integrated with existing access control systems, third party or internal watch lists and ID scanning devices to create multiple layers of security before, during and after a visitor being on site.

Captured information can be automatically exported to ITAR and stored for an unlimited time on a VMS platform. All around, companies get the needed tools to assess risk, ensure ITAR compliance and protect people, data, property, and IP.

ITAR Compliance and Technology Companies

ITAR also affects the manufacture, distribution, and sale of technology. This legislation is intended to prevent the disclosure or transfer of sensitive information to foreign nationals. It’s the responsibility of technology companies to certify that they are meeting ITAR compliance requirements. ITAR pose operational challenges for technology companies, as controlled technical data may need to be transferred over the web or stored outside of the United States.

Technology companies must protect sensitive data with encryption, maintain an information security policy, track and monitor access to network resources, maintain a visitor management program and implement measures to prevent the loss of ITAR-controlled data. It’s critical to have software in place that allows employees and partners to share information in a way that eliminates the possibility of it falling in the hands of a foreign national with malicious intentions.

One should consider that the verification of a visitor’s citizenship is the foundation to ITAR compliance.

Automating Citizenship Verification

Manually checking IDs is a process that is slow and prone to human error. Many companies have opted for an Assisted-Check-In (ACI) module to help them with this process.

Security personnel at external security points use airport-grade security scanners to verify and authenticate visitors’ government-issued IDs at lightning-quick speed. Visitors are checked-in, their information securely stored for future visits and ID badges with all relevant information are printed out.

As an integrated component of a VMS, visitor sign-in experiences can be customized. Once a US citizen’s identity had been confirmed, they bypass having to provide further information.

The Assisted-Check-In module can work alone or together with the reception area Self-Check-In process.

Consolidating the ITAR Compliance Processes

Using the advanced technology of Visitor Management Systems is an integral part of maintaining compliance with ITAR. It provides transparency and accountability along with enhanced security.

Not only is a robust visitor management system a critical tool for meeting ITAR compliance, it adds another layer of security to a facility. It’s to be used in conjunction with other security strategies for a comprehensive visitor security system. Many companies that don’t engage in the manufacturing, exporting, or brokering of defense articles, still maintain compliance programs as a risk management strategy and to increase operational efficiency.

Using a Visitor Management System as a basis for your ITAR compliance program ties together and automates essential visitor tasks and processes. The central platform makes it easy to manage your guests and their records, ensuring that company policy standards and compliance protocols are followed and adhered to at all times.