Traveling with Duke items or equipment

Duke-owned equipment or materials (including laptops)

Anytime that you carry Duke-owned items with you during international travel (e.g. laptops, lab equipment, biologicals, etc.) you have just exported them to your destination country.  In certain cases government authorization in the form of an export license will be required.  However, you may take such items out of the U.S. without an export license if:

  • The item(s) are not specially designed or modified for a military/space application
  • The period of the trip is less than 12 months
  • The item(s) will remain in your effective control throughout the trip
  • You will return with the item(s)
  • You are not traveling to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria
  • The item(s) will not be directly or indirectly used for nuclear, chemical/biological, or missile-related activity
  • The items will not be used to support or assist foreign military or space programs

Click here to submit an export classification request before you travel if you do not qualify for the above exemption.

Information or software stored on laptops (including tablets, smartphones and electronic storage devices)

Always be aware of technology/technical data or software that is stored on your Duke-issued laptop when you travel with it.  Whenever possible leave export-controlled data or software behind.  If you must have access to it while overseas contact prior to travel.  The following types of data or software may be considered export controlled:

  • Information related to military or space technology that is not in the public domain
  • Proprietary information
  • Non-mass market encryption software

Simply departing the US with such items on your laptop may require an export license. 

Please note that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the right to examine the electronic files on your computer, including personal contacts and files. Computer inspections may occur at the time of departure from the U.S. or upon arrival into the U.S. If a Customs Officer requests to search the contents of your laptop, it is in your best interest to allow the inspection and provide any requested assistance or passwords. Failure to comply may lead to detainment or seizure of your computer.

Additional Requirement for Travel to China, Russia, or Venezuela

Any Duke faculty, staff, or students who plan to hand-carry Duke-owned items to China, Russia, or Venezuela are to contact at least one full business day prior to departure.  A pre-export declaration (regardless of item value) is required for any export to these countries as of June 29, 2020*.  The Office of Export Controls will file any necessary export declarations (EEI) for Duke travelers.  Review this page for a list of traveler data elements required for filing to be completed.

*Applies only to items listed on the Commerce Control List (which does include laptops).  See this index for further details.