If you are involved with an export controlled research project, you must not take related materials or information with you outside of the United States, unless you are certain that those materials are allowed within export control regulations.
What Can You Take with You Overseas?
Basic electronic devices, such as laptops and cell phones, are not restricted for travel to most countries. For those where they may be restricted, the TMP Export License Exception may cover their use and transport along with other “tools of the trade”.
Under the TMP Export License Exception you can take usual and reasonable kinds and quantities of tools of trade (commodities and software) for use by you or your employees in a lawful enterprise. The tools of trade must remain under your or your employee's effective control (you or your employee must retain physical possession of the item, lock it in a hotel safe, or have it guarded). Encryption commodities and software may be pre-loaded on a laptop, handheld device or other computer or equipment.
All tools of trade may accompany you departing from the U.S. or may be shipped unaccompanied within one month before your departure from the U.S., or at any time after departure. All commodities and software must, if not consumed or destroyed in the normal course of authorized temporary use abroad, be returned as soon as practicable, but no later than one year after the date of export. No tools of trade may be taken to embargoed countries.
Do not travel to or conduct research or educational activities to embargoed countries without first checking with the Office of Research Integrity to secure a license from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. A request to travel in embargoed countries is sometimes granted for educational purposes.
The current list of embargoed countries includes the following:
- Burma (Myanmar) (travel allowed, import of products from Burma not allowed)
- Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- North Korea
This list is subject to updates. Please reference OFAC’s Sanctions Program and Country Summaries for the most current list.
In addition to Export Control concerns, there are also matters of security and safety when traveling to sensitive countries.
The Department of State Travel Alerts and Warnings page has updated and useful information for extreme risk countries and regions.