Resources for Departments - EC

International Travel with Laptops

Travel outside the United States has always presented challenges. In today's international climate, it is important to be aware of the potential situations that could be encountered, and to prepare properly. Specifically, caution should be taken when traveling with laptops and other electronic data devices.

If you will be traveling outside the United States to a non-controlled country, you may take with you technology, software, and data as follows:

  • Laptops, portable computing devices, and data storage devices that are standard, off-the-shelf products
  • Operating system and encryption software of the kind that are preloaded on computers and do not allow for users to enhance communications security capabilities
  • Commercially available application software that does not perform technical analyses or general purpose scientific or engineering programs that is commercially available
  • Stored research data which is published in journals or on the Internet, or which has been generated for projects intended to be published and are not restricted by contract from general dissemination

Controlled or Sensitive Data

You should not take with you any of the following technology or data without first obtaining specific advice from the Office of Export Controls:

Proprietary data or information received under an obligation of confidentiality
Patentable information or any sensitive/personal
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
Devices, systems or software that was specifically designed or modified for military or space applications
Classified information

University of South Florida Equipment

University owned equipment and any installed low-level 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" (general equipment and devices commonly used in the normal course and scope of a person's profession)
  • 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 U.S. within 12 months
  • May not be taken to embargoed countries (Cuba, Libya, Syria, North Sudan, North Korea and Iran)

Personally Owned Equipment

If you personally own the equipment, it may qualify for License Exception BAG (Baggage). To qualify for this exception, the equipment and low-level 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.

Beyond export laws, you should also be aware that traveling with electronic devices may result in unexpected disclosure of personal information. Certain countries are noted 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.