Foreign travel raises a number of issues for researchers, as any trip
outside the United States has the potential for the researcher to
export both items and technical information that may be controlled. It
is important to keep in mind a few simple points before traveling
First, the export-control laws do not distinguish between an item
that is shipped and an item that is carried. Thus, if it is unlawful to
ship an item to a certain country without a license, it is also
unlawful to take it with you. Although laptops are ordinarily licensed
by the manufacturers for export to most countries, you may not be
permitted to bring the same equipment to an embargoed country without
first securing a license.
Second, the destination of a researcher determines what export
controls or regulations apply. There are several websites that
researchers should check in advance of their departure.
Third, particularly if you are traveling to an OFAC-sanctioned
country, you may need a license to spend certain funds in that country.
As an example, under the Iranian embargo, you are permitted to spend
money on hotels, food, or transportation without a license, but you may
need a license from the Treasury Department in order to contract with
local individuals and purchase certain supplies for research.
Fourth, travel abroad always involves meeting new people; researchers
are no exception. Export control issues can arise, however, when a
researcher interacts with people during scientific discussions or
conferences in which controlled technical information may be exchanged.
There is no export control issue if the researcher is presenting
research results that have already been published. However, if the data
have not been published, the researcher must ensure that there is no
technical information included that may be controlled. Although you are
eligible for the fundamental research exclusion when you are studying
on campus at an accredited university in the United States, the
fundamental research exclusion does not apply when you are abroad.
Although you are eligible for the fundamental research exclusion when
you are studying on campus at an accredited university in the United
States, the fundamental research exclusion does not apply to new
research conducted abroad even if that new research takes place at an
educational institution (including Harvard facilities) abroad.
Fifth, travel abroad may also involve engaging in transactions with individuals or business entities which may be restricted.