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What Are You Taking With You?

When traveling out of the United States, everything you take with you is considered an “export,” under U.S. export control regulations. Some of these exports will require an export license from the government. However, in many situations, you will not need an export license because either (1) the items or data you are taking are not controlled to your destination or sometimes (2) a license exception is available.

Items That Require Export Control Review Before You Travel 

Do not travel with any of the following items without first obtaining specific advice from the Export Control Program, as these items may require an export license:

  • Devices, systems or software that are not standard, off-the-shelf products generally available to the public

  • Devices, systems, or software that are specifically designed or modified for military or space applications

  • Data or information received under an obligation of confidentiality

  • Data or analyses that result from a project that has restrictions on the dissemination of the research results

  • Classified information

  • Export controlled information

Items That You May Be Able to Take With You

U-M employees and students may be able to use a “Tools of Trade” license exception to travel temporarily out of the U.S. and hand carry certain types of hardware, software and/or data. This license exception may be used by U-M employees and students traveling with personally-owned or U-M-owned hardware, software and data provided that the terms of the license exception are met. This exception does not apply to items, technology, data, or software regulated by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Please contact the Export Control Program if you would like more information on using this exception when traveling internationally.

If your hardware, software or data are not eligible for the “Tools of Trade” license exception, the Export Control Program will discuss other options with you. There are other less frequently used license exceptions that may apply, and if no license exception is available, you may be able to work with the Export Control Program to apply for an export license.  

Items That Need to Be Properly Secured For Travel

Whether you are traveling with a personally owned computer, a U-M owned computer, or any other device, you must make sure that you properly secure your hardware, software and data for international travel. U-M Safe Computing has detailed guidance to help you secure your devices before, during and after travel.

If you are traveling with any export controlled information or other sensitive data on your devices, you must encrypt your devices to protect the data from unauthorized disclosure.  Please remember that before you travel with any data or devices, make sure that these items are able to be exported out of the country and taken with you to your intended destination. Encryption software that is not commercially available on a mass market basis may be regulated or restricted from being brought into some countries. See Export Controls on Encryption Software for more specifics.