International Travel and Activities
What can I take with me?
Where can I go?
What can I do when I get there?
What can I take with me?
When you leave the country, everything that you take with you is an export, whether it is equipment, data or other information, or software.
- You cannot take abroad ITAR controlled articles or technical data without a State Department license. This includes controlled tangible items that are products of fundamental research.
- Software is considered technical data. When traveling abroad you cannot have ITAR controlled technical data on your laptop, smartphone, or digital storage device, etc…, without a license.
- In most cases, researchers can take EAR-controlled items and software, including laptops, smartphones, or digital storage devices, using EAR license exception TMP (for university owned items) or BAG (for personally owned).
When taking items abroad (including scientific equipment, computers, cell phones, and GPS units) you need to verify that the items are not export controlled, based on both the type of items and your travel destination(s). It is important to remember, for example, that both the laptop and its underlying technology, and data or proprietary information on the device, may be controlled. For many low-tech, commercially-obtained items, an export license will not be required unless you are traveling to a comprehensively sanctioned country (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan or the Crimea region of Ukraine). Travel to a comprehensively sanctioned country will almost certainly require a license for even everyday items such as cell phones and laptop computers (EAR license exceptions TMP and BAG may be unavailable for these countries).
While using the TMP or BAG exception for EAR-controlled items and software is an appropriate avenue when traveling abroad with EAR-controlled items or software, taking “off the shelf” laptops, smartphones, flash drives, etc…, that do not contain any export controlled or restricted hardware, software, data, or information is another, more straightforward alternative. Please contact the Export Compliance Officer if interested in taking controlled university owned equipment abroad.
Additionally, please be aware that accessing export controlled information, in particular by email or on university servers, while abroad, is also an export. Please take care to avoid accessing export controlled information while abroad.
You should not take with you any of the following without first obtaining specific advice:
- University-owned scientific equipment (other than a sanitized laptop computer, PDA or electronic storage device; except when traveling to Cuba or another sanctioned country)
- Devices, equipment, or computer software received with restrictions on export abroad or on access by foreign nationals.
- Devices, systems or software that was specifically designed or modified for military or space applications.
- Classified information
Contact the Export Compliance Officer for assistance in determining any export license needs connected to what you may take with you during international travel.
Where can I go?
Travel to any comprehensively sanctioned country (particularly Cuba, but Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region of Ukraine too) will involve significant restrictions, even if the travel itself is permitted. For instance, provision of consulting or teaching services may require an export license, even if the topic is non-technical. These sanctions are complicated and require careful planning and analysis. Contact the Export Compliance Officer when considering travel to a sanctioned country. Sanctions programs and country information is available on OFAC’s website.
Authorized Activities with Cuba
While significant changes have been made to the sanctions regime since 2015, the vast majority of the Cuban embargo is still in place and tourist travel to Cuba is still prohibited.
Travel is authorized under the following General Licenses:
- Family visits
- Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation or transmission of information or information materials
- Certain authorized export transactions.
Please not that each of these General License categories have specific conditions that must be met for the travel to be authorized.
Cuban travelers “self-certify” that their travel meets the requirements as outlined in the General License. The Export Compliance Officer assists with this self-certification. Travelers to Cuba must keep records of any travel-related transactions for five years. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule related to the authorized travel in Cuba.
Of particular note to the UGA community, is the allowance of close relatives to accompany UGA travelers authorized under one of the 12 General License categories. This means, for example, that a family member sharing a common dwelling with the UGA traveler could join said faculty member in her travel to Cuba, for purposes of a professional conference or professional research, for example.
For more information on travel to Cuba and to find out if your travel would be authorized, please contact the Export Compliance Officer. The Office of Global Education has information about travel to Cuba on their website. Further information about the University’s international travel policies may be found here.
Cuba Import and Export Considerations
Authorized travelers may carry as accompanied baggage upon return to the United States from Cuba, Cuba-origin items for personal use only and goods produced by Cuban entrepreneurs.
Anything that you take with you to Cuba is considered an export, under the regulations. Specific prior permission, in the form of a license from the Department of Commerce, is still required if travelers to Cuba want to take university owned equipment with them, unless the License Exception “Support for the Cuban People” is available. Personal items may be taken to Cuba, pursuant to Commerce Department license exception “BAG.” An additional license exception for Agricultural Commodities may be available. The Export Compliance Officer makes determinations on the applicability of license exceptions and the necessity of any accompanying Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing.
Cuba Financial Transactions and the Restricted List
U.S. financial institutions are permitted to process the payment of credit cards, debit cards, stored value cards, checks, drafts, travelers’ checks, and similar instruments that authorized travelers use in Cuba. Please check with your financial institution to make sure that your payment methods will be accepted in Cuba.
The State Department Administers a List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba. Authorized travelers are prohibited from engaging in direct financial transactions with entities on this list. Cuba travelers will be provided with the most recent list by the Export Compliance Officer.
For more information on authorized travel to Cuba, you may view the Cuba Sanctions Resource Center from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control or contact the Export Compliance Officer.
Authorized Activities with Iran
The Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) broadly regulates and restricts transactions with embargoed countries including certain academic collaborations and exchange of research materials and equipment. The most comprehensive controls apply to: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. The regulations are country specific. This overview of selected prohibited transactions and exemptions focuses on OFAC regulations regarding transactions with Iran, specifically the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (31 CFR Part 560).
Penalties can apply to the individual, the institution or both. Criminal penalties may result in fines of up to $1 million per violation and up to 20 years in jail for natural persons. Civil penalties may also be imposed, in an amount up to $250,000 or an amount equal to twice the amount that is the basis of the violation.
Who this applies to
OFAC regulations apply to U.S. persons. The term United States person means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States. See 31 CFR §560.314.
The regulations apply to United States citizens and permanent residents wherever located, and to foreign nationals located inside the United States (and in some cases, to foreign nationals outside the U.S. See 31 CFR §560.205 and 560.420).
OFAC’s website provides information about the Iran Sanctions program, including sanctions brochures, advisories, and Frequently Asked Questions, which can be found in the Iran Sanctions Resource Center:
PROHIBITED TRANSACTIONS : Overview Imports and exports
|Prohibited importation of goods or services from Iran||Except as otherwise authorized (e.g., pursuant to a license issued by OFAC or following the Nuclear Agreement “Implementation Day”), importation into the United States of any goods or services of Iranian origin or owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, other than information and informational materials is prohibited. An example might be:|
• Accepting samples shipped from Iran for testing or analysis;
|See § 560.201|
|Prohibited exportation, reexportation,|
sale or supply of goods, technology, or services to Iran
|“Services” is broadly construed to mean providing anything of value, even if no money is exchanged. |
Examples might be:
• Providing technical assistance to an Iranian national in Iran or an Iranian institution
• Providing unpublished data or research results to a person or institution in Iran
• Teaching or lecturing as a guest of an institution in Iran
• Conducting surveys and interviews inside Iran
Attending a conference in Iran
|See § 560.204; § 560.410
PROHIBITED TRANSACTIONS: Overview Transactions
|Prohibited transactions involving blocked property or with Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) & other Restricted Parties||OFAC and other government agencies involved in export controls maintain lists of individuals and entities with whom U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting transactions. The restriction on transacting with SDNs and other restricted parties applies broadly – i.e., not only to transactions involving Iran. |
Note the list is updated by the government daily. For the most recent information contact the Export Control Office or refer to the consolidated screening list: https://export.gov/ecr/eg_main_023148.asp
The campus also has access to Visual Compliance software which can be used for screening. It is easy to use and does not cost anything. For access to Visual Compliance contact the Export Compliance Officer.
|OFAC has a searchable SDN site:
UGA has access to Visual Compliance for restricted party screening.
See also § 560.211, Prohibited transactions involving blocked property.
|Facilitation of transactions with Iran or attempted evasion of the regulations.||U.S. persons are prohibited from approving, financing, facilitating or guaranteeing transactions by a foreign person that would be prohibited by the regulations if performed by a United States person or from within the United States.|
U.S. persons and persons within the United States are prohibited from transactions that evade or avoid, or have the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempt to violate the regulations.
|See § 560.208;
|Information or informational materials||The prohibitions of Part 560 do not apply to the importation from any country and the exportation to any country of information and informational materials as defined in §560.315, whether commercial or otherwise, regardless of format or medium of transmission.|
Information and informational materials includes: Publications, films, posters, phonograph records, photographs, microfilms, microfiche, tapes, compact disks, CD ROMs, artworks, and news wire feeds.
This exemption does not apply to information and informational materials not fully created and in existence at the date of the transactions, or to the substantive or artistic alteration or enhancement of informational materials or to the provision of marketing and business consulting services.
This exemption also does not apply to transactions incident to export of software subject to the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730 through 774, or to the export of goods for use in transmission of data (but certain such transactions may be authorized pursuant to an OFAC general license).
|See § 560.210 (c) Exempt transactions
See § 560.315
See § 560.540
|Peer review & publishing activities||U.S. persons are authorized (subject to certain restrictions) to engage in transactions “necessary and ordinarily incident to” the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals and newspapers. This includes collaborating on the creation and enhancement of written publications, and substantive editing of written publications. |
This exemption does not apply if one of the parties to the transaction is the Government of Iran (a term that does not for the purpose of this section include academic and research institutions and their personnel).
|See § 560.538
Authorized Transactions Necessary and Ordinarily Incident to Publishing
|Personal communications||Information and informational materials includes: Publications, films, posters, The prohibitions of Part 560 do not apply to any postal, telegraphic, telephonic, or other personal communication, which does not involve the transfer of anything of value.|
There is also a general license that authorizes export of certain services, software and hardware incident to personal communications.
|See § 560.210(a)
See General License D-1
|Transfers of funds involving Iran.||Payments to or from Iran are authorized if the payment arises from and is necessary to give effect to an underlying transaction that is authorized by OFAC and if the payment does not involve debiting or crediting an Iranian account or involve an individual or entity (such as a bank) on a government restricted party list (see Prohibited Transactions).||See § 560.554|
|Travel||The prohibitions contained in Part 560 do not apply to transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Iran, including importation or exportation of accompanied baggage for personal use, maintenance within any country including payment of living expenses and acquisition of goods or services for personal use, and arrangement or facilitation of such travel including nonscheduled air, sea, or land voyages.||See § 560.210(d)
See also § 560.524 Household goods and personal effects.
|Services related to conferences in the U.S. or in third countries||Authorizes import and export of certain services for a person ordinarily resident in Iran where those services are directly related to the person’s participation in a public conference, performance, exhibition or similar event, as well as services directly related to sponsorship by a U.S. person of a public conference or event in a third country that is attended by persons ordinarily resident in Iran, provided that participation in the event is open to the public and not tailored in whole or in part for Iran or persons ordinarily resident in Iran. Exemption does not apply to the Government of Iran, an Iranian financial institution, or any other person whose property and interests are blocked pursuant to §560.211.||See § 560.554|
Exchanges and the Exportation or Importation of certain Educational Services
|Authorizes U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors to enter into academic exchange agreements with Iranian universities;|
Authorizes U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors to export services:
• In connection with the filing and processing applications and acceptance of payments for submitted applications and tuition from or on behalf of for students in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran;
• Related to the recruitment, hiring, or employment of faculty located in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran;
• To individuals in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran to sign up for online undergraduate courses (including MOOCs) in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business, or introductory level science and engineering courses “ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs;”
Authorizes U.S. persons to take undergraduate courses or conduct undergraduate academic research in Iran.
Authorizes U.S. persons to take graduate courses in humanities, social sciences, law, or business or conduct graduate level academic research in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business in Iran;
Authorizes U.S. persons to export services to Iran for activities such as combating illiteracy and increasing access to education; and
Authorizes U.S. persons to administer college entrance exams or professional certificate exams in Iran.
None of these authorized services can be provided to blocked persons or SDN’s (see above prohibited transactions). For distance learning, there should be a case-by-case determination about engineering and science courses as to whether they fit the parameters allowed by OFAC (i.e. “ordinarily required” for undergraduate programs).
|See General License G|
|Activities and services related to certain nonimmigrant and immigrant categories||Authorizes persons eligible for certain visa categories (including F and J visas) to carry out in the United States those activities for which such a visa has been granted.|
Authorizes the release of technology or software to students ordinarily resident in Iran who are attending school in the United States as authorized, provided that all of the following requirements are met:
(1) Such release is ordinarily incident and necessary to the educational program in which the student is enrolled;
(2) The technology or software being released is designated as EAR99 under the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730 through 774 (the “EAR”), or constitutes Educational Information not subject to the EAR, as set forth in 15 CFR 734.9;
(3) The release does not otherwise require a license from the Department of Commerce; and
(4) The student to whom the release is made is not enrolled in school or participating in the educational program as an agent, employee, or contractor of the Government of Iran or a business entity or other organization in Iran.
|See § 560.505
- Provide technical assistance or analysis to Iranian nationals that reside in Iran or to Iranian institutions that would constitute a “service” without an OFAC license.
- Travel to Iran and bring anything other than personal belongings (note that if personal belongings include a controlled item, the item would still require a license) or equipment covered by an OFAC license. University owned equipment or material may require a specific export license.
- Import from Iran or export to Iran (apart from personal items you bring for personal use during travel) of anything outside of informational materials or humanitarian donations without an OFAC license See 560.315.
- Transfer funds to Iranian financial institution or to an individual or entity on one of the government restricted party lists.
OFAC publishes country-specific guidance on regulatory interpretation, but such guidance is not comprehensive. The Iranian Sanctions are updated frequently through publications to the Federal Register. If you are contemplating a collaboration with or research in Iran there may be licensing requirements. Licensing approval for Iran will take months to obtain (if at all) and shipments or research timelines may be impacted.
UGA’s Export Control Office will assist with your OFAC questions, license applications, and advisory opinions.
Authorized Activities with North Korea Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine
North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine are subject so similar prohibitions on the export and import of goods, services, and technology. Any travel to or activity with Sudan, Syria, or the Crimea region of Ukraine requires the same level of interaction with the Export Control Office, including the potential for export or sanctions related licensing.
U.S passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless specially validated by the Department of State pursuant to very limited U.S. “national interests.”
What can I do when I get there?
It is important to ensure that you do not accidentally disclose export controlled items or information or provide any type of assistance or benefit to a sanctioned or blocked entity or individual. The following are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your travel activities:
When presenting research data or information in an international setting (including in the U.S. where the audience may include foreign nationals), you need to ensure that you limit your presentation to only information or data that is published, or is publicly available, or that qualifies as Fundamental Research or the Educational or Public Information Exclusions. Please be careful not to include or discuss any proprietary, unpublished, classified, or export controlled data or information as that may constitute an unauthorized export.
Interactions with Foreign Colleagues
As noted above, you are free to openly discuss any published or publicly available information or information generated as the result of Fundamental Research as long as the recipient is not a sanctioned or specially designated entity. It is important to remember that while the results/information resulting from Fundamental Research are not subject to export controls and can be shared without a license, any items, technology, or software generated under that Fundamental Research may be subject to export controls and may require an export license. When interacting with foreign persons, you cannot provide a “defense service” which includes providing technical “know-how” related to the design, development, production, manufacturer, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of a defense article or dual-use technology.
University research activity done outside the U.S. may not qualify for the Fundamental Research Exclusion and therefore may not be protected from export controls until the work is published or otherwise made publicly available. Before disclosing or sharing information or data resulting from international field work it is important to ensure that the information is not export restricted.
Provision of Financial Assistance
In order to ensure compliance with OFAC regulations prohibiting the University from providing material or financial assistance to any blocked or sanctioned individual or entity, any University activity that involves payment to a non-U.S. person, business, or organization (e.g., international subcontracts, purchase of items from international vendors, or payments to research participants) must be verified against all appropriate sanctioned party and entity lists. Contact the Export Compliance Officer for assistance in assuring compliance with OFAC regulations.