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Foreign Travel

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How are export control concerns addressed with respect to

  • NPS business-related foreign travel?
  • hand-carry of NPS business-related hardware?
  • hand-carry of NPS laptop computers?

Foreign travel must be conducted in a manner consistent with U.S. Navy and NPS national security policies, requirements and objectives including export control laws and regulations.

The sponsoring NPS Program/Center/Institute is required to take into consideration export control concerns as part of their review process for all foreign travel. NPS Security currently reviews, for concurrence, all foreign travel by NPS employees, students, and contractors to sensitive countries or travel that will involve discussions of a DOD sensitive subject with any foreign national. The reviews are for both sensitive subjects and export control. Additional guidance on foreign travel can be found at the NPS Security Manager website.

Additional guidance on the Defense Travel System (DTS) can be found at www.defensetravel.osd.mil

The hand-carry of personal or business-related equipment, parts, samples, and non-commercial software by foreign travelers is generally discouraged because these items could be subject to seizure or duties by customs. Such items should be shipped well ahead of time and only after any required export control review.

At this time, cell phones and laptop computers containing commercially available software (see note below) are generally accepted by customs world-wide as unrestricted personal use items.

Under Department of Commerce (DOC) regulations, as NPS employees, students, and contractors embarking on business-related foreign travel, you are not required to complete a Shipper’s Export Declaration Form for your laptop computer. However, you should be prepared to make an oral declaration to the U.S. Customs inspector, if required. This declaration should convey that the laptop computer and any software contained within is the property of NPS and being used in the performance of your duties. Of course, before leaving NPS, all laptop computers must be reviewed and marked as U.S. Government property per NPS computer security requirements and only contain non-sensitive data and software.

Additional provisions and country restrictions may apply to encrypted software as noted below:

NOTE: As NPS employees, students, and contractors going on foreign travel, you should be cognizant of the strict regulations levied by a number of countries regarding the importation and use of software with advanced encryption capability. Restrictions on encryption software such a ENTRUST, Pretty Good Privacy (PCP), similar commercial software such as NETSCAPE (which allows secure connections to various sites), and software with the capability to encrypt files or documents such as WINDOWS 2000 and beyond have been prohibited from being brought into some countries. Violations could result in foreign authorities confiscating the software and computer it resides on. More severe (and sometimes arbitrary) difficulties could occur, including fines and/or lengthy interrogation by foreign authorities. These restrictions are often applied or removed on short or no notice. If you must carry such items, you are strongly urged to contact your foreign host or the foreign country’s local consulate for current information before your scheduled trip.