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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 Control to determine if your equipment, materials, data, or software is subject to these restrictions.  Export Control 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.

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 Control 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;
  • 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.

The Export Control and International Compliance for a consultation prior to your travel.