In general, the majority of exchanges among researchers can go forward without the requirement of an export license, where the sole purpose of the meeting is to present research findings that have been or are intended to be published, provided they do not concern detailed information regarding controlled items or technologies (information and items subject to Export Controls). As you plan your trip, verify with TEES Research Services that your technology or information falls into one or more of the following categories prior to travelling:

  • Research which qualifies for the Fundamental Research Exclusion
  • Published information
  • Publicly available software
  • Educational information
  • Patent applications

In addition, TEES Research Services is available to perform a restricted party screening for entities and individuals with whom you will be doing business.  Contact the Research Compliance Officer, Brian Ridenour, at (979) 458-2586 for additional information.

When planning a trip abroad, travelers should familiarize themselves with export controls and embargoes. You must ensure that any information that you will discuss or any items that you will take with you are either not controlled, or if controlled, proper licenses are in place. Because you, TAMU, and TEES can be held liable for improperly transferring controlled items or technology, it is important that you review the federal requirements.  Most travel for conferences will fall under an exclusion to the export control regulations:  Information that is published and is generally accessible to the interested public through publication in books or periodicals available in a public library or in bookstores, or information that is presented at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show or other open gathering is considered to be in the public domain. An open gathering is one in which members of the general public are eligible to attend and attendees are permitted to take notes.

Sanctioned Countries
The Department of the Treasury, through its Office of Foreign Assets Control, administers economic and trade sanctions that at times can restrict transactions and travel, or require licensing in order to travel to a foreign country, or to conduct business with a foreign entity or individual. Before considering travel to embargoed countries to conduct research or educational activities, check first with TEES Research Services.  A determination will be made by TEES Research Services as to whether a license and/or permission is required. Some countries can require a specific license that may take several weeks to obtain. For the most current list of restricted countries please consult the OFAC's Sanctions Program and Country Summaries website.

Laptop computer, PDA, cell phone, and data storage devices.
When you travel outside of the United States (except Canada), your university provided laptop computer, PDA, cell phone, data storage devices and encrypted software may require an export license or other government approval to be taken to many countries outside of the United States.  The University is required to document the export (even a temporary export) of these items if they are owned by the University. 
The personal computer you take abroad may contain strong encrypted software that requires a government license or other government approval for export to many countries. For example, the new Microsoft Windows VISTA Business suite contains such strong encrypted software and is subject to export restrictions. Windows VISTA can be temporarily taken overseas, but only under an export license exception.

Temporary exports under the "Tools of Trade" license exception apply when the laptop, PDA, cell phone, data storage devices and encrypted software are:

  • Hand carried with you while you travel,
  • Carried in your luggage or baggage that travels with you, or
  • Shipped no more than 30 days prior to your departure, or may be shipped to you at any time while you are outside the country

Generally, so long as you (1) retain your laptop computer, PDA, cell phone, data storage devices and encrypted software under your personal custody and effective control for the duration of your travel; (2) do not intend to keep these items in these countries for longer than 1 year; and (3) you are not traveling to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria, no government export license is required. Note that this license exception is not available for equipment, components, or software designed for use in/by/with most satellites or spacecraft.  "Effective control" means retaining physical possession of an item or maintaining it in a secure environment.

Other University Equipment
Researchers frequently need to take other university equipment temporarily outside of the United States for use in university research. Often, but not always, the tools of trade license exception applies. Some equipment (e.g., global positioning systems [GPS], thermal imaging cameras, inertial measurement units and specialty software), are highly restricted and may require an export license to take with you, even if you hand carry it. If you are taking university equipment other than your laptop computer, PDA, cell phone, data storage devices contact TEES Research Services to determine if an export license or other government approval is required prior to your taking the equipment out of the country.

  Export Controls  

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