Technology Considerations When Traveling to China

Accessing and using technology when in China can be challenging. Planning ahead can help you be prepared for any issues you may encounter.

Some University of Minnesota students, staff, and faculty have been unable to access their UMN email and even some University websites while in China. Travelers should also consider potential export control and data security issues before leaving for China. 

The following are some resources and advice that the University and GPS Alliance recommends to anyone traveling to China.

1. Set Up Your VPN Before You Leave

Using the University’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) may make it easier for you to access UMN email and websites while in China, although the reliability can vary depending on your local Internet connection. Download and set up the VPN on your computer and any mobile devices you use to access email (including iPads and smart phones) before departing for China, as it may not be possible to download it there. The newest version of the VPN and instructions are available on the IT@UMN website.

2. Set Up an Email Forward Before You Leave

You may wish to set up an automatic forward so all of your UMN emails are sent to a second email address that you can more easily access in China (currently, it appears that most email services except Gmail are accessible, such as Yahoo and Hotmail). Directions for setting up email forwarding are available from IT@UMN*. Make sure to regularly check the spam folder on your second email account as some email providers route forwarded messages there.

*Note: Some UMN accounts (primarily Health Sciences students and employees) may not be allowed to forward their email.

3. Review Advice on Using Duo in China

OIT provides information and advice on using Duo internationally, with specific guidance for China.

4. Check Your Password Reset Settings

If you need assistance while you are in China, the University’s Technology Help provides 24/7 support via chat and email. Note that if you have set up a restriction to only do a password reset in person, Technology Help will not be able to help you reset your password while you are in China. 

Other Technology Considerations

Export Controls

Export controls are federal regulations that govern certain transfers of technology to non-U.S. persons and destinations. All travelers to China should review the Sanctions and Export Controls information and contact the University's Export Controls Officer with any questions or concerns related to export controls.

Encryption of Data

Encrypting laptops and other electronic devices is often a way to protect sensitive data in case a device is lost or stolen; however, many countries, including the U.S., restrict encrypted devices from entering the country. The University strongly advises travelers to China NOT to take any sensitive information and NOT take an encrypted laptop with them overseas under any circumstances. Do NOT use encryption on any of your clean travel devices. For more information, please review the Technology Guidance for International Travel page.