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International Travel

International Travel and Export Controls 

Northwestern students, faculty, and staff traveling internationally on behalf of Northwestern for business, research or other purposes should start by visiting the Office of Global Safety and Security website. Students –graduate and undergraduate– must register all university-affiliated international travel and enroll in GeoBlue for Students, Northwestern’s international medical insurance and assistance program. Some locations considered higher-risk by Northwestern evacuation and assistance provider require additional disclosures. See the “disclosures” section on OGSS’s evacuation page.

What type of equipment, materials, data, or software might you take?

The U.S. government has export restrictions on certain items. Consult with Export Controls to determine if your equipment, materials, data, or software is subject to these restrictions.  The Export Controls team will obtain licenses, exceptions or assist with other requirements to facilitate your travels, if required. Traveling with a “clean” laptop is recommended.

Where are you traveling – is it a sanctioned country?

Depending on your destination(s), authorization from the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) may be required. Travel to an embargoed/sanctioned country (such as Iran and Cuba) may require prior authorization in the form of a license. If you are traveling to an embargoed country is for personal reasons, no University equipment should be taken without prior approval and no University business should be conducted without prior authorization. Most activities involving heavily sanctioned countries (even remotely) will require a license. The most highly sanctioned countries or areas include: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk.

Where are you traveling – is it a military end use country?  

Depending on the country where you are traveling, the Commerce Department requires federal authorization to "export" even basic equipment such as laptops, cell phones, etc. to those designated military-end users in certain countries. The countries countries change over time (currently Belarus, Burma, Cambodia, China, Russia and Venezuela).

With whom will you collaborate, associate, or do business with?

Before travel, foreign parties may be screened using the Restricted Party Screening tool to avoid collaborating with a prohibited party. The Export Controls and International Compliance team can assist with conducting screenings.

How will you safeguard your research? 

The research at Northwestern is innovative and often of high value and needs protecting even if it is not subject to export control restrictions. Take steps to protect your information and access to Northwestern systems, and report any concerns or peculiarities that emerge to your department administration. Some potential security steps include:

  • limit what you take abroad;
  • request Restricted Party Screenings by the Export Controls team to ensure you are not collaborating with a denied entity or denied person;
  • keep information in your possession or locked in a secure location;
  • use a “clean” laptop – with minimal information;
  • review your college and IT resources for guidance;
  • use the Northwestern VPN (where allowed; some countries ban the use of VPN software); and
  • encrypt your device; and
  • request screenings on your collaborating partners and entities.

International travel  exemption forms should be completed prior to your travel.

- TMP Form - "University" equipment*

BAG Form  - "Personal" equipment*

*NOTE:  License exemptions such as the TMP and BAG are not allowable in all circumstances; therefore, coordinate with the Export Controls and International Compliance team who can assist you in navigating the requirements. 

Reach out to Export Controls and International Compliance if you have any questions.