International Travel

University personnel often travel abroad as a positive part of their ongoing scholarly efforts. While international travel is free of export concerns under most circumstances, several factors may cause it to be restricted by export controls.

Export control analysis should be performed BEFORE international travel occurs. University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty, staff and students can complete the International Travel Questionnaire before their trip. The Export Control Officer will contact you with the results and any other questions.

In order to protect the University, its research, and its personnel, it is important to consider:

Travel to most countries is not restricted or prohibited. However, the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) broadly regulates and restricts interactions with embargoed countries. These restrictions vary depending on the country and change frequently depending on our economic and political relations. OFAC sanctions of embargoed countries prohibit the transfer of assets (any value) and other transactions.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State to receive alerts on emergencies and disasters for your destination and to provide them with your trip details and contact information. Non-U.S. citizens should register with their country's embassy in the destination country.

Items & Equipment

When taking items abroad (including scientific equipment, computers, cell phones, and GPS units) you need to verify that the items are not export restricted based on your travel destination(s). For most low-tech, commercially-obtained items, an export license will NOT be required unless you are traveling to or through a comprehensively sanctioned country (i.e., Cuba, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea) in which case an export license will almost certainly be required – even for everyday items such as cell phones and laptop computers. Contact the Office of Research Integrity for help in determining your export license requirements. You may also find this memo on international travel and export controls (PDF) helpful.

When taking items or equipment on international travel, you may need to know the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN). The best resource for an accurate ECCN is to contact the manufacturer or sponsor. If additional classification assistance is needed, the ECO can help with a self-classification.

Temporary Export Exception (TMP)

Tangible UAF property becomes subject to export controls when taken outside the United States. The Export Administration Regulations allow an export license exception TMP for temporary export of qualified "tools of trade". This exception is available for authorized UAF business and allows usual and reasonable kinds and quantities of "tools of trade" such as laptop computers, software, global positioning systems, and smartphones to be temporarily exported subject to conditions outlined in this certification. If required, please fill out a Temporary Export Exception Form before travel.

Eligible (All conditions must apply) Not Eligible
Used as a "tool of the trade" Military items
Remains under your "effective control" EAR satellite or space-related items
Returns within 12 months or is destroyed High-level encryption products
Controlled technology is not released or shared overseas When traveling to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, or Syria


Baggage Exception (BAG)

The export of items, technology, commercial software, and encryption code is subject to export control regulations (this includes laptops, tablets, smartphones, PDAs, and digital storage devices). The U.S. Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR) makes an exception to licensing requirements for the temporary export or re-export of certain items, technology, or software for personal use as long as you are able to meet the criteria to which you are certifying below.

The exception does not apply to:

  • EAR satellite or space-related equipment, components, or software
  • Technology associated with high-level encryption products
  • Defense items, technology, data, or software regulated by the U.S. Department of State's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

If required, please fill out a Baggage Exception Form before travel.

Encryption License Exception (ENC)

The ENC exception (15 CFR 740.17) permits the export of non-mass market “weak crypto” software without Commerce Department review (e.g., employing a symmetric algorithm that uses less than a 64-bit key length or 80-bit key length for some countries.) It also permits “strong crypto” products to be sold worldwide. In conjunction with License Exception TMP, ENC allows university employees to temporarily export as “tools of trade” weak non-mass market (non-commercial) or strong commercial crypto products. Similar to the TMP, once fully documented, no filing with the government is necessary.

It is highly recommended that you register any items/equipment that you will be taking with you with U.S. Customs and Protection (CBP). Registration allows you to prove that you had the items before you left the U.S. and all CBP registered items will be allowed to return with you to the U.S. duty-free. For additional information see Fairbanks CBP – Port of Entry and Department of Homeland Security Certificate of Registration – form 4455 or Certificate of Registration For Personal Effects Taken Abroad – form 4457.

For some international destinations you may be able to obtain an ATA Carnet to facilitate the temporary import of items. Currently there are 85 countries participating in the ATA Carnet program. Using an ATA Carnet eliminates having to pay value-added taxes (VAT), duties, and/or the need to post import security bonds. For additional information, see Obtaining A Carnet.

Research Data & Information

When traveling abroad, you are free to take and openly share or discuss any data or information resulting from Fundamental Research or that qualifies under the Educational or Public Information Exclusions. However, you CANNOT take or share data or information that is in any way export-restricted (e.g., related to export controlled technologies, proprietary information, or is information resulting from a project not protected under the Fundamental Research Exclusion). All controlled or restricted data or information should be completely removed from laptops, phones, PDAs, or other portable storage devices (e.g., flash drives) before you leave the U.S. For additional information on traveling with portable devices, please see Foreign Travel with E-Devices.

When presenting data/information in an international setting (including in the U.S. where the audience may include foreign nationals), you need to ensure that you limit your presentation to only information or data that is published, or is publicly available, or that qualifies as Fundamental Research. Be careful not to include or discuss any proprietary, unpublished, or export-restricted data or information as that may constitute an unauthorized export.

Interactions with Foreign Colleagues
As noted above, you are free to openly discuss any published or publicly available information or information generated as the result of Fundamental Research as long as the recipient is not a sanctioned or specially designated entity. It is important to remember that while the results/information resulting from Fundamental Research are not subject to export controls and can be shared without a license, any resulting items, technology, or software generated under that Fundamental Research would be subject to export controls and may require an export license.

Field Work
Any university research activity performed outside the U.S. may not qualify for the Fundamental Research Exclusion and would therefore not be protected from export controls until the work is published or otherwise made publicly available. Before disclosing or sharing information or data resulting from international field work it is important to ensure that the information is not export restricted.

Provision of Financial Assistance
In order to ensure compliance with OFAC regulations prohibiting the university from providing material or financial assistance to any blocked or sanctioned individual or entity, any university activity that involves payment to a non-U.S. person, business, or organization (e.g., international subcontracts, purchase of items from international vendors, or payments to research participants) must be verified against all appropriate sanctioned party and entity lists. Contact the Office of Research Integrity for help in reviewing any international financial transaction(s).