Traveling internationally is an exciting way to learn about other cultures, visit historic sites and expand your education. While you’re planning your trip, it’s important to be aware of the specific rules and regulations that your destination countries may have in place. These regulations may affect what you plan to take with you, what activities you may participate in while abroad and with whom you will be visiting/collaborating.

In general, the majority of exchanges between researchers and their international colleagues can go forward without the requirement of an export license. When in doubt, stick to information that:

  • is in the public domain
  • has been published
  • is publicly available without restriction
  • educational information
  • contained in patent applications.

However, depending on the country and the activities that you plan to engage in, an export license may be required by the U.S. Government. You can be held personally liable for violations of these laws – by both the U.S. and the country you are visiting! Prior to traveling, you should check the following lists and if your destination country is on one of these lists, contact the Research Compliance Office at .

U.S. Department of Commerce – Embargoes and Other Special Controls

U.S. Department of State – Prohibited exports, imports, and sales to or from certain countries

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Programs and Country Information


Laptops, cell phones, PDAs, and other digital storage devices are controlled items under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  However, the TMP License Exception provides that when those items (and related technology and software) are being used for professional purposes, returned within 12 months, kept under effective control of the exporter while abroad (i.e., kept in a hotel safe or other secured space or facility), and other security precautions are taken against unauthorized release of technology (i.e., use of secure connections, password systems, and personal firewalls), then the TMP License Exception may apply.  You may wish to complete a TMP License Exception letter and take it with you on your trip.  Click here for a WSU TMP License Exception Letter.

The baggage (BAG) license exception allows U.S. citizens to carry personally owned items, such as laptops and cell phones as personal baggage. The items must be for personal use and must be returned to the U.S. (unless they are consumed or may otherwise be disposed of under the regulations).  You may wish to complete a BAG License Exception letter and take it with you on your trip.  Click here for a WSU BAG License Exception Letter.