Prepare a laptop for International Travel

Marc Lowe's picture

Because UC is global organization, it is not uncommon or employees to travel domestically and abroad. UCOP has created the UCGO site at to help facilitate this travel and provide health and safety guidance and other critical resources while traveling.

The minimum security standards still apply when traveling overseas to a foreign nation.  All laptops carrying confidential information including personal health information must be encrypted before undertaking any trip whether for business or pleasure.

The core Information Security advice for UCSF personnel traveling is:

1.) Ensure the laptop is encrypted.  Dell Data Protection Encryption (DDPE) is our  standard encryption solution and is free to all UCSF personnel.  See the link to obtain the software at (

2.) Make a backup of your data before you leave the country, and leave that backup in the US. (This is often overlooked but is vital for piece of mind.)

3.) Be aware of the surroundings, and not to leave a laptop unattended. (Travellers are often targeted, and we have had several cases where faculty laptops have been stolen while away on business.)

4.) Review the UCSF Risk Management Travel Safety site, which has good information about traveling abroad and services available.

Academic and scientific staff may take their laptops or other Internet connected electronic devices with them overseas without needing a license as long as all of the following conditions are met:  Link:

• Laptop is used for activities related to your university work of teaching and research

• Laptop must remain in your physical possession and may not be lent to or used by foreign persons

• Encryption commodities and software must be pre-loaded on the laptop (however, not all encryption software may be temporarily exported, so if you have some high-powered or unusual encryption software that you use in your work, contact [email protected] to make sure that such encryption software is eligible for the temporary/tools of trade exception

• The laptop may accompany you or be shipped no more than one month in advance of your departure and must be returned as soon as possible but no later than one year after export

• This exception to a license requirement may not be used for travel to Cuba or Sudan

* This exception can also cover other types of equipment used to support university sponsored research or educational activities conducted abroad and is not limited to laptops. If you are traveling abroad to conduct research and need equipment shipped from the U.S. to the foreign country, consult with your campus office responsible for export compliance because the exception may extend to all the equipment and supplies that will be used in the research.

For general export control questions, contact
[email protected]