Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity

International Travel and Export Controls

 

Questions? Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity (OSPRI) at exportcontrol@uccs.edu for assistance with export control questions related to international travel or activities involving any sanctioned country.

Things to Consider Before You Travel

  • Review the material on this page, and contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity (OSPRI) if you have questions.
  • Electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, drives, memory), and the software and data are subject to U.S. export controls when you leave the U.S.
  • Devices and data may be inspected or retained by U.S. Customs upon departure or return to the U.S.
  • Devices and data are also subject to destination laws and regulations.
  • Exchanges of controlled technical data outside the U.S. or with foreign persons in the U.S. are subject to U.S. export regulations and may require an export license.
  • Do not access or take export controlled material while on international travel. (see examples below)
    • Classified, Controlled Unclassified, or Export Controlled
    • Items that have limited distribution, proprietary, confidential, or sensitive controls
    • Items that are specifically designed for military, intelligence, space, encryption software, or nuclear related applications
    • Data or information received under a Non-Disclosure Agreement
    • Data or information that results from a project with contractual constraints on the dissemination of the research results
    • Computer software or other equipment received with restrictions on export to or on access by non-US persons
  • Know in advance with whom (individuals and entities) you will be communication and collaborating, and contact OSPRI to perform a Restricted Party Screening (RPS).
  • Travel with a clean or vanilla laptop when possible.
  • Consult OSPRI before traveling to an embargoed country-
    • Cuba
    • Iran
    • North Korea
    • Sudan (North)
    • Syria, etc.
  • Review the rest of this page.

General Export Control International Travel Guidelines

When you leave the United States, you need to know your responsibilities under export control regulations regarding the export of University-owned equipment, non-public technical information and encryption source code are subject to export control regulations, which means a license may be required to take or send it out of the U.S.; technology developed by or at the University may also be subject to these regulations. In most cases University employees may temporarily (<12 months) take common technology (e.g. laptop computers, commercial software, PDAs, cell phones) subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to most international destinations without an export license.

This is possible via specific license exceptions found in the EAR, provided specific documentation and control criteria are met:

  • Temporary export if the equipment meets the requirement for "tools of the trade" TMP* (documented in §740.9 of the EAR) 
    • To qualify for the "tools of the trade" TMP exception the export must:
      • Consist only of reasonable equipment, i.e. clean or vanilla laptops, other portable computing devices, data storage devices.
      • Equipment and data cannot be on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) U.S. Munitions List (USML) (e.g. DoD sponsored project articles or data not in the public domain), or regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
      • You must maintain effective control by retaining physical possession of the equipment at all times or securing the item in a secure environment such as a hotel safe, a bonded warehouse, or a locked or guarded meeting or conference facility.
      • Equipment and/or data cannot be out of the U.S. for longer than 12 months.
      • Travel cannot be to an embargoed country i.e. Cuba, Iran, etc.
    • You should not take with you ANY of the following without discussing the possible need for a license with OSPRI:
      • University-owned scientific equipment (other than a clean or vanilla laptop, other portable computing devices or data storage devices).
      • Data or information received under an obligation of confidentiality including private information about research subjects.
      • Data or analyses that are the result of a project for which there are contractual constraints on dissemination of the research results.
      • Devices, equipment or computer software received with restrictions on export to or access by foreign nationals.
      • Devices, systems or software that was specifically designed or modified for military or space applications.
      • Technology subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
  • Baggage exception which authorizes leaving the U.S. temporarily to take personally owned devices and software to any destination BAG* (documented in §740.14 of the EAR)

*Neither exception may be used for technology subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which includes but is not limited to equipment, components, accessories, and software designed for use with/in missiles, satellites, spacecraft or defense/military items associated technical data. In almost all cases a license will be required to temporarily or permanently export technology controlled by the ITAR. Nor do they apply to any nuclear or atomic energy items regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or Department of Energy (DOE). If you believe you have items of this nature please contact OSPRI at exportcontrol@uccs.edu

If your University travel is to countries subject to a comprehensive program of economic and trade sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. Department of Treasury, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity at exportcontrol@uccs.edu to ensure that all travel related activities are covered by a general license or that a specific license is obtained prior to travel.

An up-to-date list of OFAC sanctioned countries may be on the OFAC Resource Center Page- http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx.

Country-Specific Regulations:

U.S. laws and regulations restrict and/or prohibit U.S. persons from traveling to or engaging in transactions with certain countries. The restrictions, in the form of economic embargoes, trade sanctions programs, export controls, and anti-boycotting laws, differ in scope based on the subject country and do change from time to time. Currently, the following countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes, which strictly governs travel to these countries:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine (Crimean region)

All University faculty, staff, or students traveling to these countries must consult with the University's Export Controls Officer prior to departure to ensure whether travel is permitted for their proposed purpose, any special government licenses are required, and to understand if there are any restrictions on items you may wish to bring along. Licenses can take as long as two to three months to obtain, so travelers are urged to contact the Export Controls Officer as early as possible. Contact OSPRI for information on embargoed countries.

International Travel with Computers and Other Electronic Devices

In most cases, if you are traveling outside the United States with a university-owned laptop with typical office productivity software, you will probably not need an export license as long as the equipment is always under your immediate control and it is returned to the United States within a year. If you are travelling to an embargoed country, or you have non-retail encryption software installed or the device includes EAR or ITAR controlled technical data, please contact OSPRI at exportcontrol@uccs.edu.  

Traveling outside the US with laptops, tablets, smart phones or storage devices involves special considerations and may require an export license:

  • Hardware.  Generally speaking, computer hardware is not subject to tight restrictions, as long as the hardware returns to the US.  However, there are limitations on "high performance" computers exported to embargoed countries.
  • Software.  Most commercial and public domain software is often already licensed for export-this can be confirmed by checking with the vendor (e.g.,  www.microsoft.com/exporting/).  The most significant restrictions pertain to encryption software.  Commercially-available software (including the VPN software provided by CU) can be installed on devices that otherwise qualify for the exemptions listed below. Non-commercial encryption software in source code or object code is likely to be restricted; please check with the OSPRI if you have questions.
  • Controlled data. If you are working on a project that involves EAR or ITAR controlled technologies, your device may contain controlled technical data that cannot be shared with foreign parties without a license.  It is strongly recommended that you not take a device with such data outside the US.  If you do, it is critical that you inform the Export Control office if such data may have been compromised while traveling due to the device being lost, stolen, or outside your control.
  • Other private data.  Aside from export control laws, University policies regarding protection of student, financial, and HIPAA-controlled data recommend that such data not be stored on devices taken outside the US.

If the computer or other equipment is owned by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the equipment as well as any pre-loaded encryption software may be eligible for License Exception TMP (Temporary Exports).  To qualify for this exception, the equipment:

  • Must be a "tool of the trade"
  • Must remain under your "effective control" while overseas. This means that it must remain in your personal possession or in a locked hotel safe (a locked hotel room is not sufficient) at all times.
  • Must be returned to the US (or destroyed) within 12 months.
  • May not be taken to embargoed countries*

If you personally own the equipment, it may qualify for License Exception BAG (Baggage). To qualify for this exception, the equipment and pre-loaded encryption software must be for your personal use in private or professional activities.  "Strong" encryption software may also qualify for this exception, unless the travel (or traveler) involves embargoed countries. 

You should not take with you ANY of the following without first obtaining specific advice:

  • Data or information received under an obligation of confidentiality or is otherwise classified.
  • Data or analyses that result from a project for which there are contractual constraints on the dissemination of the research results.
  • Computer software received with restrictions on export to or on access by foreign nationals.
  • Devices or equipment received with restrictions on export to or on access by foreign nationals.
  • Private information about research subjects
  • Devices, systems or software that was specifically designed or modified for military or space applications.

Beyond export laws, you should also be aware that traveling with electronic devices may result in unexpected disclosure of personal information.  Certain countries are known for accessing files upon entry, so you should be extremely careful about any proprietary, patentable, or sensitive information that may be stored on your device.  (For certain countries, this includes material that might be perceived as pornographic, or culturally inappropriate.) Homeland Security personnel may also decide to inspect your laptop upon return to the US, in which case everything on the device is subject to inspection.

In the United States, the inspectors may take possession of those items for various periods of time, and even permanently depending upon the circumstances.  The inspectors in other countries might do so as well.  You should be wary about including on a laptop that you take overseas any financial or other personal information that you would not want viewed without your permission. If your university-owned device contains controlled software or sensitive data-particularly data that may be controlled under ITAR or EAR regulations-we strongly recommend that you do not travel with it, especially internationally. If a laptop is to be used only for making presentations, consider taking a memory stick or storing the presentation on a cloud-based server instead. If you are using a laptop for other purposes (such as email), can you instead take a "clean" computer that does not include the restricted software, data, or other sensitive information?

Note Regarding E-mail Technical data--including technical discussions about controlled technology projects--should not be transmitted, discussed or attached in email, whether international or domestic. If you have a mission-critical need to share information with your approved project team members, you should consult with the CU Office of Information Security about the possibility of special arrangements.

Note Regarding Encryption Encrypting your files, or the complete hard disk, is generally considered a best practice for data security; however, doing so when travelling internationally can create an additional set of issues. Some countries restrict the import of encrypted devices, and US regulations prohibit the export of an encrypted device to embargoed countries. That is another reason to consider travelling with a "clean" device with only minimal software and no restricted data. 

General Examples:

  • You plan to travel to France to do research on early French literature and would take a laptop computer and flash memory storage device with you. It is very likely that the export regulations would not require that you maintain effective control of the computer and memory, according to the guidance given above. 
  • You plan to travel to Sudan to do research on Sudanese literature and you are planning to take a laptop and a GPS device with you. You will need to contact OSPRI to discuss the need for a license since Sudan is an OFAC-sanctioned country. 
  • You plan to travel to Japan to present a paper on the latest results of your research on a basic issue of physics. You plan to take a laptop computer and copies of some published papers with you. You do not have any information or computer software that was received under an obligation of confidentiality or a need to exclude the use of the software by foreign nationals. It is very likely that the export regulations would not require that you maintain effective control of the computer and memory, according to the guidance given above. 
  • You are planning to travel to Brazil to study some ancient ruins. You would like to take with you a laptop computer, a portable storage device, standard surveying equipment that is easily available throughout the world, and a PDA with GPS capabilities. You might need to maintain effective control over the PDA. If you do not feel you can maintain effective control, you should seek advice as noted above. 
  • You plan to bring a number of smart sensors to Australia for use in a research project to monitor stresses in a structure. Each smart sensor includes an acceleration sensor, a relatively low speed microprocessor and a low speed wireless communications capability. You would also take a laptop computer with communications capabilities to interact with the smart sensors. The export regulations likely would not require that you maintain effective control over them; but you should seek advice as noted in the first paragraph above in case there is an issue. You should not take with you any information or computer software received under an obligation of confidentiality or with restrictions on access by foreign nationals.

Export Control Additional Resources

 
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