Traveling With a Laptop or Other Electronics
Researchers commonly carry their laptops with them, both across campus and around the world. They need to be aware, however, that this means they are exporting their laptops. This is true not only when they take the laptop abroad, but also when they allow a person in a foreign country to use the laptop or allow a foreign national access to the laptop in the United States. Researchers should review the software and data they may be carrying on their laptops to ensure that they are not taking out of the country any controlled software or technical information. The same applies to global positioning systems (GPS). Laptops and GPS devices, and their underlying software, are covered by the EAR and, in some cases, the ITAR. Export regulations vary based on the country to which a researcher is traveling and the purpose for which he or she intends to use the laptop or GPS. However, a licensing exception may apply to the export of a laptop or GPS, which potentially would enable a researcher to take the equipment abroad without violating either the EAR or ITAR. Excluding embargoed countries, faculty who wish to take their laptops out of the country to use in a university project that qualifies as fundamental research may be able to do so under the license exception for temporary export (TMP) if the laptop meets the requirement for "tools of trade" and is under the control of the researcher, or the baggage (BAG) license exception covering personal items that are owned by the researcher and intended only for their personal use. You must contact ORPA before using either of these License Exceptions, as they are subject to record-keeping requirements. For more information, also check out the page on Foreign Travel Issues.