Office of Research Search


Information in this resource was derived from materials created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

When you leave the United States, you need to know your responsibilities under export control regulations and be aware of applicable U.S. Customs regulations. More information is available in the Travel Information Packet.

Traveling with Electronic Devices

Your electronic devices (laptop, PDA, etc.) are subject to export controls. Most can be taken with you to most countries using the Temporary Personal Exception Certification Form. When traveling, we recommend you take the Temporary Exception Form, a certificate describing the device, and the applicable export control regulations.

You should also know that the data on your device could be subject to export controls. Data related to your UT Dallas campus-based fundamental research is generally excluded. However, research activity that is export controlled in an non-academic environment — but which is covered by the Fundamental Research Exclusion when performed on the UT Dallas campus — becomes subject to export controls if performed outside the campus.

US Customs

US customs officials are authorized to search or retain electronic devices, including digital cameras, cell phones, media players, and disk drives as well as the items listed above, even without probable cause, to look for violation of export control regulations as well as other laws and regulations. US Customs & Border Protection searched about 1,500 electronic devices in the nine months ending June 2009. We suggest you take the following steps to prepare for this possibility:

  • Don't carry data you don't want others to see: medical records, data files from your research, financial information, photos, etc.
  • Don't carry the only copy of data you can't afford to lose.
  • Have a "Plan B" if there is data you will need when you reach your destination.
  • Consider taking a minimal device equipped with only ordinary, recognizable software and minimal data so any search can be fast and the consequence of a loss less disruptive.

Exchanges of Technical Information

You can freely take with you and exchange with anyone the results of fundamental research conducted on the UT Dallas campus or public domain/ publicly available information.

You need to be careful with unpublished technical information related to a defense article. Export control regulations allow unlicensed transfer only of general system description, basic marketing information, and general scientific, mathematic, or engineering principles. Providing more detailed technical information may require a license from the Department of State. Providing assistance related to a defense article to a foreign person or entity is considered a "defense service" which also requires a license, even if the information is in the public domain.

Technical information related to non-defense technology is also controlled. Even EAR99 technical information, the most likely to be found on campus, requires a license for transfer if it will be used for missiles or weapons of mass destruction.