International Travel Regulations and Considerations

Restrictions on Physical Items

When leaving the country, everything taken is an export, including devices, software, and data.

It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that their electronic devices and presentations do not contain any export-controlled technical data or technology.

You cannot take ITAR-controlled articles, technical data, or software without a license from the State Department.

Tangible items developed through fundamental research are still subject to the ITAR and EAR.

Export control regulations now require that items listed on the Commerce Control List and carried with you under the TMP or BAG license exceptions, to China, Russia and Venezuela, must be reported to the government. Examples of items that must be reported include cell phones, cameras, laptops, computers and most software programs installed on computers. Note that this requirement applies regardless of the value of the item(s) or the fact that the item(s) will be abroad only temporarily. The required filing is an Electronic Export Information filed in the Automated Export System. Individuals traveling on behalf of Cornell are strongly encouraged to contact the Export Control Officer for assistance in completing this requirement.

Restrictions on Location and Entities

Travel to embargoed and sanctioned countries may be prohibited. Please reference OFAC’s Sanctions Program and Country Information Page for the most current list of countries and restrictions. Please consult with Cornell’s Export Control and Compliance Officer prior to arranging travel to the following countries:

There are various lists which the federal government maintains with the restrictions and restricted entities. OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List and the Commerce Department’s Entity List are the most relevant. 

Please consult with Cornell's Export Control and Compliance Officer to run Restricted Party Screening prior to travel.

Travel Information and Policies

Cornell University utilizes a travel registry for Ithaca-based Cornellians to record travel plans:

Cornell travelers can log complete itineraries online. Travel registration is mandatory for all staff, faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students traveling internationally on behalf of Cornell. In addition to notifying relevant departments about Cornell business related travel, this process allows each registrant to be eligible for emergency evacuation services should they be required in the event of natural disasters, health emergencies or political unrest.

Cornell Travel Policies

Traveling with Encrypted Devices

Cornell owned laptop computers are routinely equipped with encryption software and are subject to export control regulations under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). U.S. regulations may permit the export of such computers under certain export license exceptions, however various countries have implemented prohibitions against importing the same computers and software. Under United States law, no individual is permitted to export the encrypted software to a prohibited country or individual.

As mentioned above, certain countries, such as China, Israel, and Russia have restrictions on the import and use of encryption tools and do not allow cryptography tools to be imported or used within their borders without a license, or in some extreme cases, at all. Under these restrictions, any country can potentially confiscate systems mobile computing devices/ devices entering or leaving their borders. For that reason, Cornell strongly recommends traveling with loaner devices. 

Other Resources

Obtaining a Temporary Use Laptop (Loaner Device)

  • If your department does not have a spare device (loaner) on hand that can be used for travel, please contact your IT Department to see if they have any spare devices for you to use during travel.
  • If travel to one of these countries is a frequent or routine occurrence and/or loaner device isn't a viable option, the IT Security Office offers a service to work with your IT support provider on alternative solutions. For additional information, see:

U.S. Customs Device Inspections

U.S. Customs officials are authorized to search or retain electronic devices to look for violation of export control regulations, as well as other laws and regulations.

Consider taking a minimal device equipped with only ordinary, recognizable software and minimal data so your delay is minimal and the consequence of a loss less disruptive.


TMP Exception (EAR §740.9)

The EAR makes an exception to licensing requirements for the temporary export or re-export of certain items, technology, or software for professional use as long as you meet the following criteria:

  • The item or software remains under the "effective control" of Cornell personnel while the property is abroad. Effective Control means - retaining physical possession of an item or maintaining it in a secure environment such as a hotel safe or locked facility.
  • The item or software to return to the US within 12 months.
  • The item or software to be shipped, retransferred, or hand-carried be used ONLY as a "tool of the trade" to conduct Cornell University business.

The TMP exception does NOT apply to the following:

  •  Any EAR satellite or space-related equipment, components, or software, or to any technology associated with high-level encryption products.
  • Items, technology, data, or software regulated by the Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
  • Items going to Iran, Cuba, Syria, Crimea, or North Korea.

Electronic Devices

Cornell owned electronic devices (the physical device and ordinary software installed on it) are typically subject to the EAR:

  • Laptops, iPhones, Blackberries (hardware/software bundles)
  • Mass market software such as Windows, OS X, Office, Adobe products, Visual Studio
  • Open source software such as Linux, Apache

Complete, print and take with you, a copy of the TMP Exception Letter to self-certify your use of the exception. For U.S. government record keeping requirements, file a copy with the Export Controls Office before you travel (hard copy, a scan of the signed form, or the unsigned .pdf sent from your Cornell email account).

Take the signed copy with you, and give it to the Customs official IF they question or inspect your device.

‘BAG’ Exception

Personal items such as clothes, toiletries, medicine, souvenirs, games, etc. are generally covered by EAR’s personal baggage exception: ‘BAG.’