Export Controls

Export controls are federal statutes and regulations that govern certain transactions having international components including the transfer of commodities, data, hardware, software, and technology to non-U.S. persons and destinations as well as those involving countries or entities subject to U.S. economic sanctions. U.S. Export control laws apply to academic travelers and failure to comply can have grave consequences including civil and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment. Export controls can arise with travel due to the:

  • Location of the travel,
  • People with whom you interact while traveling,
  • Items you take with you,
  • Items you ship for use while abroad, and
  • Nature of the information you take with you (even if you do not intend to share it).

The University’s Export Controls Officer Pat Briscoe (see contact information on the right) can answer any questions or concerns regarding export controls. More information on export controls can be found here.

General Travel Considerations

The export or import of certain goods, services, information, and materials (including some fairly common items) is restricted by the laws of the U.S. and other countries. Items that may be affected by export and import restrictions include:

  • laptops and other electronic devices,
  • certain kinds of technologies,
  • research or technical data,
  • art,
  • hazardous materials, and
  • animal and plant materials.

The simple release of information or technical data to a foreign entity or foreign national in the U.S. through a visual inspection, verbal exchange, or by email or internet can be a export controls violation. Encrypting laptops and other electronic devices is often a way to protect sensitive data; however, many countries, including the U.S., restrict encrypted devices from entering the country.

For More Information

More information and assistance with export controls can be found on the Sponsored Projects Administration website.


Country-Specific Regulations

U.S. laws and regulations restrict and/or prohibit U.S. persons from traveling to or engaging in transactions with certain countries. The restrictions, in the form of economic embargoes, trade sanctions programs, export controls, and anti-boycotting laws, differ in scope based on the subject country and do change from time to time. Currently, the following countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes, which strictly governs travel to these countries:

All University faculty, staff, or students traveling to these countries must consult with the University’s Export Controls Officer prior to departure to ensure whether travel is permitted for their proposed purpose, any special government licenses are required, and to understand if there are any restrictions on items you may wish to bring along. Licenses can take as long as two to three months to obtain, so travelers are urged to contact the Export Controls Officer as early as possible. More information on embargoed countries can be found here.


University’s International Travel Requirements

University of Minnesota faculty and staff planning to travel abroad for University purposes are required to register their travel through the University’s Travel Registry.

Students, including graduate assistants, residents, and fellows, or faculty traveling with students to countries on the US Department of State Travel Warning list are required to obtain approval from the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC). Currently, embargoed countries listed above, excepted for Cuba, are on the US Department of State Travel Warning list. Special guidance regarding travel to Cuba is found here.

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